I had to raise my voice today. It does not happen very often. But I did. And after the meeting ended I also publicly apologized for raising my voice. Reading this made me realize how we all face the same issues – whether a mid level worker in a tech firm or a world famous tennis champion.
I raised my voice since someone was misrepresenting the facts. It was likely not their intention. They were probably uninformed. But I needed everyone in that room to understand the truth and internalize it so that they never feign ignorance again.
Why I apologized? I don’t know. Because I am a woman. I am not suppose to raise my voice? I’ve never had an issue with raising my voice and expressing my opinion. But reading such articles makes me conscious. Something that I do sub-consciously is probably being judged by people around me and I don’t even know that. I wonder if the peer I was speaking to today felt like the umpire in Serena’s match. I hope not.
In another scenario when I was taking too much time in a meeting and someone tried to rush me, I didn’t give up. I stated my point regardless of the interruption. I just feigned ignorance in that moment and finished my point. I was consciously making sure the point was heard. And although the person interrupting me had good intentions of keeping the meeting on time, I wonder if he judged me for my behavior. I also wonder how another woman, who is not as comfortable being pushy, would have behaved in this scenario.
The more conscious I become about these behaviors it scares me. May be I have some blindspots here. Because I sub-consciously (or may be consciously) filter out all gender bias signals from the room. I don’t think I’d be able to survive in my professional environment if I didn’t do that. I am almost always the only woman in the room.
Anyways, that’s a lot of deep thought. I still don’t know why I apologized. And it is bothering me now. I won’t go see a therapist liken Serena, and I will pick up my laptop and go to work tomorrow. But I share her concern. I share her aspirations and I share her grit to do it right for my daughter. So I won’t apologize the next time raise my voice for the right reason.