Part 1: They just don’t realize…

Or at least that’s what I tell myself. Years ago during a 1–1 skip-level with my supervisor’s boss, I was lamenting a team leader who had recently discounted my guidance after learning of my pay grade or rather lack thereof. I had entered that annual skip-level feeling utterly defeated, but that day I was given a piece of advice that altered my outlook and my approach ever since.

Her exact words I don’t recall, but her view summarily convinced me to act the part I strive to be, even if not officially anointed as such yet. That was what helped her become who she was, a powerful voice and respected leader in our IT department. Her narrative, recounting her grind up the corporate ladder, reverberated with me so much. It was exactly what I needed to hear at that moment. Ever since then, for the most part, I haven’t allowed my place on the proverbial totem pole (or anyone’s opinion of it) to throttle my voice and responsibility to make a positive impact. It’s something I have silently taken pride in if I’m honest with myself.

Let me be clear that for as rewarding as following her advice has been it has been equally as challenging. Making a wide-spread impact when you don’t have a seat at the leadership table is hard, though not wholly impossible. I bet some of you will misconstrue what I’m about to say, but it’s difficult to be heard when you don’t have a specific title or position on the org chart that, right or wrong, garners the attention of co-workers. It’s not that I want people to notice me, but instead, notice the content I’m advocating.

Her exact words I don’t recall, but her view summarily convinced me to act the part I strive to be, even if not officially anointed as such yet.

In no way would I ever expect, nor want, anybody to lay down and just accept anything I espouse. To the contrary, I prefer challenging opinions as I unquestionably believe a diverse set of perspectives to be vital for progressive discussions that move us forward.

But the struggle sucks.


To be continued…