The Converse of Being Cassandra

Late Wednesday afternoon, I had the follow-up meeting for the Tuesday meeting that prompted my post that day.  I was dreading it, frankly, because it was coming at the end of a day full of meetings that would have the miniature of Munch’s The Scream that resides in my brain, well, screaming all day.

To my relief (and surprise), the meeting went well.  I laid out my case. I advocated. I espoused. I had support from other coworkers. I also may have been a tad too fearless in a few things I said.

But as we left the meeting, it appeared that my point of view had won the day.  I forgot how it feels when you are listened to, when  you win a debate: you feel like a fucking rock star.  I walked out of the building exhilarated, pleased and relieved. I know that winning a debate does not guarantee the changes I want, but it was wonderful to feel like logic and reason had won the day.

The sad part is that within 20 minutes of the end of the meeting, I was worrying that maybe I had been too strong. Maybe I shouldn’t have said one or two things. Sometimes the problem with being a truth teller is that you don’t know when to shut up. A nice girl wouldn’t act that way. A good employee would be more diplomatic.

I also fear that it wasn’t fact and reason but emotion that won the day. Does that matter? A victory is a victory, right? Well, I prefer to have people come around to my way of thinking because it’s the right thing to do, not because they want to appease me. I want my coworkers to understand that I take the stands I do for the good of the organization, not because it’s what KeAnne wants to do.

I received some great advice to my last post. I’m going to try harder to pick my battles. But what do you do when everything is a battle?


  1. I constantly worry that I’ve said too much, and not diplomatically. Ha! Sometimes the truth isn’t diplomatic. 😉

    Picking battles is hard. I got good at it the last 2 years of working, but only because I stopped caring as much about work because of our IF. I know that’s terrible, but it’s true. Nothing puts work into perspective like trying to have a baby and failing at it!

  2. “I prefer to have people come around to my way of thinking because it’s the right thing to do, not because they want to appease me.” THIS. This bothers me so much in my own life, not necessarily at work now, but on my condo board and with my family. It always astonishes me how easily many people will just say, “Fine, we’ll do it your way,” because they’d rather not hash it out. But hashing it out is when real solutions are found. If I’m right, I want to win because I’m right, not because I’m more insistent than others.

    As to what to do about picking battles–maybe it’s less about ignoring some problems and more about finding different approaches to different problems. In my last job, I had a supervisor (not my direct supervisor, but someone I worked with closely who was senior to me), who was very sensitive. He was once terribly offended because I suggested we could be doing something better than we were, and I got passive-aggressive treatment for months. I found that with him, the answer was not so much ignoring problems as bringing them to his attention gently and slowly and making sure that he was part of the process of finding a solution so that he didn’t feel like his toes were being stepped on. I know nothing about your workplace dynamics, but I’m guessing you have a couple of those people there too. Granted, this is annoying, and it doesn’t work with out-and-out morons. I’ll go far to find bosses who can take suggestions and criticism straight-up. If it truly is the case that everything is a battle, maybe it’s time to find a job?

  3. I think we use whatever tools are at our disposal. If they don’t see logic and reason now, they will later. Though I understand the second-guessing. It’s a female problem, I think. Because if we were male and used, for example, domineering and overbearing rhetoric, we’d never worry that we were being too emotional.

    As for you, I’m going to offer the phrase from Sheryl Sandberg’s BlogHer interview (despite the fact that I’m pissed at her for a myriad of reasons): you “aren’t bossy. You have executive leadership skills.”

  4. I think that if everything is a battle, then either it’s a personal attitude that you can change or a workplace environment you can change if you get some other folks on board to do so, or it’s time to find a new job.

    And I find it helpful personally to consider that I can be liked or be competent so I pick competent. Some famous and powerful woman now in her older age said that, and while I may not like it, I have found it to be true. I don’t need to be nice all the time. I just want to be known for doing good work reliably. If that means bossing around fools, then I’ll do it.

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