Tell us your story about Speaking Up!

admin Speaking Up 8 Comments

Write your comments anonymously if you’d like. Help others by telling your story of speaking up in the workplace. Share what went right, what went wrong, what would you do differently, and what were the benefits of Speaking Up?

Comments 8

  1. Hello everyone, I am very sorry to share a sad story. For many years, I have been trying to solve an issue that’s been haunting me for more than a decade. However, every time I try to get help or defend myself against those awful accusations, things get worse. This week, a couple completely unknown to me approached me in the street and told me if I didn’t kill myself, somebody else would. I haven’t seen those people in my life. With interruptions, things like that have been happening over the past ten years. It wouldn’t be strange if you don’t believe me – at times, I can hardly believe it myself. I am so sick of being called the worst names one could possibly imagine and having stories told about me that are entirely made up. Many times, I’ve tried to get support from friends but they turned their back on me when I needed them most. I cannot stand it any longer and I can’t live with these continuous threats and lies. So sorry for not being able to come up with any positive story right now but I was wondering whether anybody has got any ideas to make it at least more bearable.

  2. “By speaking out and telling your story, you are helping to eliminate the stigma related to mental health. You can show others that they are not alone, help is available, mental health conditions are treatable and recovery is possible.”

  3. “I am extremely excited to see that you founded the “Speak Up Pledge.” I remember one day on my job, the supervisor spoke to me so abusively, I went home in tears! Had I spoken up when this initially started, the situation probably would not have gotten to me leaving. What saved my job was a call to the HR Director who said (after our discussion), “not to worry, things have a way of working out” and they did. Thank you for giving women like myself who have been and are in this situation the courage to “Speak Up.”

  4. I spent 18+ years as an administrative professional and had some incredibly good leaders and some incredibly bad ones.

    One of the best ones allowed me to feel comfortable enough to speak up about my interests, even when they weren’t contained within my job description. For example, when new technology was coming into our company and I was fascinated by it, I simply told him that it fascinated me. A couple of weeks later, he gave me a chance to try it; when we discovered I was really good at analysis and also at using technology, he put me on a corporate-wide project to help determine which software package to select for the company! This exposure led me to higher raises and promotions within the company, then to a new position as a Systems Analyst at a sister company… and then to my being confident enough to open my own company using the knowledge and skills I had gained. The result was that the company benefited from my service to them for over 7 years, and I benefited for the rest of my life from my boldness in speaking up about what interested me and my leader’s openness to helping me learn and grow.

    Contrast that with a different leader who believed that “management by intimidation” was the way to get people to work hard. And his wife was as much a tyrant as he was (but she didn’t even work for the company)! People trembled when she walked the halls. In fact, he had a revolving door of assistants who came and went because no one could tolerate either one of them for long. The culmination of that experience for me was that I felt compelled to quit after just 10 months. The company lost a dedicated employee who always works hard at everything she does, and I lost my income source until I secured something to replace it.

    No one wins when bullies rule. Thankfully, I had had enough experience with good leaders that I had spoken up in previous positions and learned all I could, which expanded my options and helped me take advantage of greater opportunities when they came along!

    The moral of the story is this: Don’t be afraid to speak up, expand your options and position yourself for success!

  5. My story starts in college. College is usually the early beginnings of life and your career goals. I was planning at that time, what I wanted to do with my life. I wanted to become a Psychiatrist. I have always had great instructors, who quenched my thirst for knowledge and quest to be a better person. I remember during my college years, I felt I could have changed the world! I was the first in my family to attend college. I have always been a good student and turned in all my assignments on time, for some reason writing or class work came easy to me. I loved college because it was a goal of mine and I had attained it. I learned neither of my parents had completed high school. So I was proud to have attained my goal and they were also.

    I remember during the beginning of class our instructor would have and open-ended format. He would ask questions about what we had learned the previous week. I really enjoy this because I appreciated the feed-back and wanted to make an “A” in his class. I can still see the instructor pointing towards me and waiting for me to answer. Before long I noticed my classmates were becoming jealous and making comments about me being the teacher’s pet. I wondered why they were becoming so hostile and it shut me down. I stopped answering the questions in class because I was afraid of reprisal. I remember this, even today.

    I believe, it has had a lasting impact on me. So much so, I would not speak out in a crowd anymore. Today I think this is stupid, but I still remember it. I can think of what I should have said- but didn’t. I believe, many people would rather speak up, but are afraid of what their peers would say at work, or afraid of just standing out. I have had a great career, but this came to mind when I read “Speak UP!

    If I had the courage to speak up before, I might have had a entirely different career. I have played it safe, never offending anyone or speaking my opinion sometimes, even when necessary. I do feel something changed in me that day, years ago. Today, after sharing this -I pledge to speak up!

  6. One of the great regrets I had in my early professional career is NOT speaking up. At the age of 21, I found myself working for the head of production at a television station in Los Angeles (which shall remain anonymous.) After just a few art and photography college classes under my belt, I had managed to land a “dream job” (or so I thought.) Little did I know…

    To make a long story short, I worked for an executive who spent quite a bit of time sexually harassing me and demeaning me. My background left me ill-equipped to deal with this situation–I was always a “good girl”, never complaining, never making an issue over an unfair situation I experienced. Instead of speaking up, I worked hard and secretly applied for every opening for a production assistant on a show at the station, to get me out of the uncomfortable office environment I was in. Nothing ever panned out and I took the abuse for almost 1 1/2 years before I quit in frustration. Was it easy walking away from the company I desperately wanted to work at? No. It killed me. In my exit interview, the head of Personnel asked me the reason for my resignation and not wanting to rock the boat, I bit my tongue and kept mum on the real reason.

    In the next job, I learned my lesson and was more assertive. The next man I worked for was the “dream boss”. He opened the door to many opportunities for me to expand my position and allowed me take on more responsibility. However, what I appreciated most was that he behaved professionally and treated me with respect.

    Since I failed to speak up to my first boss at the television station, he went on to become increasingly obnoxious and for many years, I heard stories of how he treated each assistant after me even more abusively. If I could have one professional “do-over” it would be to have had the courage to speak up honestly to my boss at the television station. Perhaps if I had, it might have spared the assistants that came after me from the same mistreatment that I endured.

  7. After completing my Arts degree I fell into the Administrative Profession and have worked in the various guises of PA, EA and Office Manager over the past 20 years.

    When I first started off I was full of enthusiasm and regularly spoke up. At the end of my 20s I moved to the UK and after an unforeseen redundancy I found that my confidence and self esteem took a dip.

    I eventually landed my current role and have been here for almost 10 years. Initially I was inspired to learn and paid for courses independently and studied in my spare time but like anyone who is in a role for a long time will appreciate I became a bit complacent and I lost my voice and if I’m honest I lost myself for a bit.

    A few pivotal incidents lead to me speaking up and finding my voice again.
    I got divorced, slipped a disc in my back, met the love of my life – got happily remarried, turned the big 40 and lost an amazing friend to suicide (a fellow admin).

    I had a long and hard look at myself and asked what did I want out of life and the answer was to speak up and have a voice – to be heard, feel respected and valued and make a difference. It was empowering but also a bit scary as I’m naturally shy so the idea of speaking up is in my ‘discomfort zone’. Katrina’s sad passing also made me want to actively remove the stigma of mental illness in the workplace.

    I was fed up of people including friends dismissing me as ‘just an admin’ and telling me I could do better. It was insulting and frustrating as I’m happy in my profession and proud of who I am. I put on my thinking cap!

    I consequently decided I would submit a PA network proposal to my Company. I also set up a LinkedIn group for people who are involved or interested in PA networks. An amazing lady inspired me to write a blog and before I knew it I was happily blogging about the wonderful PA profession and gaining in confidence.

    In work I relentlessly asked that my job spec be rewritten based on merit. Let’s face it most of our PA job specs are inherited and generic. I also put forward a business case for business cards and valuable training, conferences, seminars, PA Club memberships and subscriptions to valid industry publications. I could see my fellow male colleagues all had their respective memberships and weekly papers so why shouldn’t I? If I treated myself like a professional it became clear so would others and everything was approved. If you don’t ask, you don’t get!

    I also decided I would be brave and enter the Pitman’s SuperAchiever PA of the Year Award and was honoured and delighted to be shortlisted. It was my first time putting myself out there.

    I would say to everyone if you are feeling the FEAR of speaking up remember you can view it two ways:

    False Evidence Appearing Real
    Feeling Excited And Ready

    We live in an age where even shy introverts can make a difference online.
    Life doesn’t come with a rule book so time to speak up and change the rules!

    I might have fallen into this profession but I’m currently standing tall and proud.
    Happy Administrative Professional’s Day! #adminproud #speakuppledge

  8. In my 35 years in the Professional Administrative Industry, I’ve always had fabulous relationships probably because I nip any possible problems in the bud before it becomes a real problem. The only story I have about speaking up is when I was at Andersen and I asked them to pay for me to attend University for 3 years – 2 nights a week plus residential weekends. They agreed as long as I would use my new skills to benefit the company which of course I agreed to do. After 3 years studying part-time whilst holding down a full time job and looking after my family, I was awarded with a Post Graduate Diploma in Human Resource Management and became a member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Department of which I am now a Fellow. Andersen made me the UK Training Manager over 600 Executive Assistants which has led on to me having my own company for training Assistants. So speaking up for me was about taking an opportunity to progress in my career and for my own self fulfilment.

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