In life, whether I’m at work or not, I try to maintain a calm demeanour. It takes a lot to rile me, to get me to react. Most of the time, I shrug things off because it’s either out of my control or it simply doesn’t warrant a response. But there are other times when you must stand up for yourself, when you must be the voice that breaks the conforming silence.
How Things Have Changed
In 2010, I left Ottawa for Quebec, leaving behind the traditional office work environment. When I started my current job in August 2023, there was a ‘new’ reality that I had to deal with: Slack and Teams.
When I am trying to focus, I find the notifications to be a distraction. I’ve muted them and turned off the sound. I’ve also done the same with e-mail, which is less important in terms of my role. I get that they are communication tools to assist in our workflow, but there needs to be best practices for workplace chat apps—and consequences when they’re not adhered to.
Stand Up for Yourself
Just over a week ago, one of my coworkers posted a GIF in our work chat that, as a Black man, I found offensive because it propagated a stereotype. And in the chat—in a very diverse workforce—there was nothing but silence. So, I decided to stand up for myself and others and called it out. Because, as Maya Angelou advised, you must “Develop enough courage so that you can stand up for yourself and then stand up for somebody else.”
Don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself. Don’t be afraid to stand alone.