In the workplace, there is a standard way to conduct yourself, a culture to adhere, to and expectations to meet, which is all well and dandy. However, even with these things in place, there are certain work standards that I have learned (and am still continuing to learn) to expect and set for myself, unapologetically.
See where I’m coming from below:
1. Requesting the Salary I Deserve
Too often, we accept positions that offer lower salaries, because we are too afraid speak up and request what we feel we’re worth.
Not I, says Safon. Even if I am unable to receive what I request, I will go on record for having asked and attempting to negotiate, so you will know that I am someone who sees high value in the work I produce and what I bring to the table.
2. Remaining True to My Character, Despite the Opinions of Others
One thing’s for sure, you can’t please everybody all of the time—so stop trying.
I’ve learned—the hard way—that intentions don’t necessarily match interpretations. Interpretation is far beyond my control. Now, I will not apologize for your misunderstanding if I am confident, secure, and happy with the character that I exhibit. I may make an attempt to understand and empathize, but I certainly won’t be apologizing.
3. Not Answering Emails After 5:30 p.m.
It’ll just have to wait until tomorrow—life is happening.
4. Claiming What’s Rightfully Mine
If I’ve done work that I’m proud of, I will no longer cower away from letting you know that I’ve done it, I’m proud, and I don’t mind taking credit for it, too.
This has been a tough one for me, as I tend to shy away from compliments. But, I’m learning to embrace that I do sometimes get things right.
5. Taking Vacation Days
I have always felt guilty about taking my vacation days. Taking days would make me feel like “the man” would assume I was lazy, not dedicated, uncommitted, losing interest, or off-task.
I’ve gotten over that (see reason two). These are my days, and I will gladly, unapologetically take them whenever to do whatever.
6. Quality of My Work
If I completed it, and I submitted it—I believe in it.
7. Preserving My Livelihood
I won’t allow a working environment to steal my joy, harden my spirit, or dull my light. I will, instead, very actively, preserve the livelihood I have, even if it means disrupting the culture a bit. Just because there is a cloud in the building, doesn’t mean I have to shy away from my corner of sunshine—in fact, I will always seek to embrace it. You’re welcome to join me, as well.
8. Stating My Expectations
If there is something I need to do more effectively at my job, I need to be forthcoming with that information. There was a point in my career where I would shy away from soliciting help, resources, or more information, as I thought it would translate and read as me being inadequate.
But, not anymore. Now, I state what I want, to get what’s needed to help me deliver the best outcome. That way, we all win.
On the flip-side, if I am overwhelmed, stressed, or overworked, I state that, too. Though I’m magical, I’m not superwoman. I won’t apologize for letting you know that I’m human.
I’ve grown to find great value in my opinion. I’ve also grown to know that opinions, especially conflicting ones, must be supported. If I am confident in my opinion, and I feel that it can add value to the conversation, I state it, even if it’s unpopular. I won’t apologize for you not accepting my point of view. I will, however, wholeheartedly apologize for withholding my point of view. The growth that can come from a healthy disagreement won’t be denied on my watch. Let’s discuss.
What won’t you apologize for? Stand in your conviction and share!
Safon Floyd is the digital editor at Black Enterprise. Follow her @accordingtofon.