I remember my first job. I had just moved to this “Big City” called Atlanta to stay again with my college roommates. I was a paralegal that represented a Finance Company in bankruptcy hearings. I was so excited. Still, I was very nervous because I really had no idea of what to expect. Including the attorney, everyone I worked with was awesome. The challenges I faced were from the Bankruptcy Trustees. I had an issue with one female Trustee in particular and naturally, I am not loud in voicing my opinion. Sadly the Trustee had no patience. One day, I was trying to sort through my facts and I began speaking. I was speaking in a low tone and she berated me in front of the entire court room about ‘not being able to hear me.’ And she said it in a very disrespectful way. Everyone heard her. If I did not watch it, she was going to request that I not come back as the paralegal.
Of course I was new and ‘green’ so I was naturally embarrassed and shocked. The next day, the attorney I worked with tried to console me. My co-worker told me of her experiences with this particular Trustee, but as far as I was concerned, I was done. Did I pull myself together? Yes. Did I have to go on and do my job? Yes. Unfortunately, this left a lasting negative impression on me.
When these situations or events happen in our lives, we have to make sure we are cognizant not to let this shape the woman we are and the professional we strive to be. Everyone will experience criticism during their career journey. We as women have to find effective ways to constructively communicate with one another. The Trustee could have easily asked me to wait after the hearing to express her concerns, but she chose the more aggressive route. Bottom line, no one benefited from her actions. The Trustee might have reacted the way that someone trained her or it could have been her personality. And yes, it could have been me if the situation had been vice-versa in my own career and I would have treated her the same way she treated me if I had not had a mentor.
Either way, let’s make it a point to uplift and help women be the best they can be. Before we correct someone, let’s remember the words that come out of our mouths could make or break someone. No woman should want to break another woman’s spirit. Remember use your moxie to lift up and not tear down. If not, you're the only one who'll lose.
Talk Back to Me! What have some of your experiences been? Have you been a mean girl or the victim of one? What did YOU do? Tweet me @CorporateMoxie or Facebook: Corporate Moxie