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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Use Your Voice

I didn’t really mean to do it but it seems I am writing quite a lot about finding your voice. I thought at first that I was writing about finding my voice but I’ve used mine quite a bit through the years. With age it has gotten stronger, more confident and loud.

I didn’t use it much when I was little. Neither of my parents allowed me (or my brothers) to use it much and I’m ashamed to say I was scared of them and the consequences of using my voice to tell them I was unhappy with the life we were living, or I was unhappy with school, the lack of instruction in art and music. Starting something verbally meant a slap or a spanking, and it was considered just that: Starting something.

How often did you hear the words don’t start with me or don’t start with your brother (or sister)? Don’t start something - those words lived with me for quite a while. But I’m me, I’m older and if I see something I don’t like - particularly an injustice - I’ll start something.

I started something when I found female editors at a publishing company I worked at were being paid less than their male counter-parts. Via internal email, I contacted the president and carbon copied the COO. I merely asked why the difference in pay? In about two month’s time, all the females within the company were given raises to match the pay of their male counter-parts.

Using your voice must be done with some discretion, however. Why ruin a perfectly good working or not relationship over the last bit of coffee being taken and a fresh pot not being made? Things, events, instances that mean little in the long run are not worth mentioning. But contacting your senator about what is being done with our tax dollars is most certainly an instant when your voice should be used. Finding illegal immigrants working at your company should be loudly voiced as should unequal pay.

Of course, those are my opinions so whatever you do, find your own voice and ways to use it. Don’t let anyone bully you or scare you into thinking you have no right but at the same time, make sure you do have the right. As a former boss once told me, don’t take any sh** from anyone.

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