I cried at work. 

Ugly cry.

It was cringeworthy. Completely uncomfortable, embarrassing and really not one of my finer moments. Shout out to my friends who helped me get through that day. 

What happened? Well, I asked a question about a process and offered a solution that made the process more efficient. In other words, I irritated some “leaders” because they felt I was challenging their authority. That didn’t make me cry – I have no problem being told “no”. 

I cried because I realized I was fighting a losing battle.  

Things like: “that’s the way we’ve always done it”, “just do your job”, and “be seen and not heard” don’t work for me.  

If I see something that can be done easier, better, more efficiently I speak up – especially if the work falls on my plate. I learned a hard lesson that day: when someone at the top tells you to do something you’re supposed to smile, nod and retreat back to your cell — oops, I mean cubicle — and get to work. 

That doesn’t work for me. 

As a result I was labelled “difficult to work with” and told that if I wasn’t going to be a team player there would be consequences. 

That was the day I lost it. Tears welled up in my eyes and it took everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) in me to smile and walk away. 

And then, the floodgates opened and I couldn’t stop crying. Is this what I had to look forward to for the next 40+ years of my career? 

I wasn’t crying because of what was said. I reacted because of what it meant for me and my survival in that workplace. Follow the rules, don’t deviate, shut my mouth and do the job I was hired to do. 

This isn’t a pity post, it’s a wake up call for anyone in the corporate grind who has felt the same way. Stuck, helpless, silenced, and invisible. 

Wondering why you were hired to do the job if your ideas, input and opinions are thrown out like a used tissue. 

Watching as leaders at the top call the shots but have never worked a day in your role or even fully understand what you do. 

Waiting for a seat at the table to offer your perspective on YOUR work but the invitation never comes. 

This is a wake up call. 

Not every organization works like this. Believe me, I have worked in places where critical thinking, asking questions and creativity are celebrated – not disciplined. 

Wake up. 

You deserve better.