#6 AW18 Speaking Up at Work, Authenticity and Finding Your Ikigai

Featuring the Great Western Arcade, Colmore row, on Boxing Day “18. 

I recently started a great job with a good SaaS startup with unique tech, that works in a fun space for me – Martech.

Previously to this, I worked for a leading European blockchain venture capital fund, and then a leading British insurer. I left the former owing to a lack of equal pay and a work environment that swung too much between highs and lows for my liking.

The insurance company moved me into a different role without explaining why – I learned about this role on my first day. Thanks to this being common knowledge, certain employees felt empowered to exhibit behaviour I find wanting; I left this job too. Al

With slightly more financial freedom than when I first finished my post-graduate research degree to make a healthy choice – I spent it all on May Balls & wanted to earn this for myself, rather than from the bank of ma and pa again – I took my time choosing a new job and workplace.

An adventurous moment in my career, therefore, ended with my successfully aligning with my ikigai. Working for a Series A startup is great, to be constantly learning what it takes by doing and working with my colleagues. Although 2018 has been stressful at times, overall, it’s probably been the best year of my life, because I’ve failed or succeeded as a result of my actions, decision I made, moving on my own terms.

I’ve been speaking my mind and only gravitating towards those that listen to and acknowledged what I said, throughout the recruitment process. It’s indicative of respect, which is a bare minimum in any relationship, including those at work.

For example, I told my now manager that I understood the nature of the role precisely and how it appealed to me. He listened and progressed me to the next stage. I told my now colleagues about interests, this blog, my freelance consultancy work whilst job-seeking (@_buildsmart), my favourite drink even. They listened, we had common interests, I joined the team. I respect that consistency and authenticity, these are things which made this startup stand out, why I chose them.

Here are five things I’ve learned since I started speaking my mind in the work arena and joining a healthy workplace:

  1. Your speaking up is often as liberating and refreshing for others as it is for you. Since I started speaking out of turn, people know where I stand better and that I’m comfortable with who I am – take it or leave it.
  2. You’re more likely to find the things and people you want in your life, which links to the next realisation that…
  3. The world doesn’t stop turning, it actually glides along in rotation more smoothly. Your clarity acts as a filter for that which you do not accept.
  4. That as important as expressing yourself is, so is being mindful of how you communicate. I try to be as forthright in apologies and taking accountability as I am otherwise, and to consider how my direct and frank communication might be received. If I’ve nothing nice or constructive to say, I’d rather not say anything at all. If something’s to be constructive, it’s more than likely got to be respectful and thoughtfully expressed.
  5. Finally, you’ll be so happy. Speaking up is a reflection of your defining where and with whom you choose to exert your time and energy. When I met an acquaintance recently, she asked me several times if I had some special news, if I was engaged. Aside from the thought-provoking assumption that this is the happiest news a woman can have, it reflects just how happy being forthright in my relationships – including in the workplace – is making me.

It’s never too late to be who you might have been. 

Here is Leslie Perlow, speaking the same language in her TED talk.

One thought on “#6 AW18 Speaking Up at Work, Authenticity and Finding Your Ikigai

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