Speaking Truth to Power

speak truth power

I feel inspired to speak my own truth after observing so many come forward in the past few months in the #MeToo movement. Hearing so many women’s stories, I feel fortunate to have only experienced a mild case of sexual harassment in my 62 years on this planet. It was a simple case of attempted date rape at age 27. I told him to disappear and never come back. He listened.

But I still find the way I was treated by Regis University Libraries when my boss fired me back in 2004, to be unfair and unwarranted. Believe me, when one female librarian stands up and protests to an all male administration at a Catholic University, from the head of Reference, to the head of the Library and the head of HR, nobody listens.

“Speaking our truth is the most powerful tool we have.”  – Oprah Winfrey

mean bossI was unfairly charged with being rude to one student at the Reference desk, her word against mine. That’s all it took. I had been in my position for almost 6 years with no training, no evaluations and no previous complaints against me. It looked to me like my new boss didn’t like my uppity attitude. This from a man who had lost previous positions for being a terrible head of reference. And sure enough, he lost his position at Regis too, but in the meantime, he had the power to fire me so he did, quickly hiring a friend of his to replace me.

As it turned out, my life improved dramatically after I lost that job, so on some level I need to say, “Thank you!” I got out of a dead end job with a bunch of dead beats, got out of librarianship entirely, moved on to professional writing, a marvelous new marriage and a comfortable and happy retirement.

Whenever I meet people like that boss, who treat others badly and seem truly miserable inside I think:  Being them is punishment enough!

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12 thoughts on “Speaking Truth to Power

  1. “We have all learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men,(and women) as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion” Authority is something we have to constantly check ourselves on, I am really glad things worked out for you, but sorry you had to experience such an unfair situation.

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  2. I, too, suffered only mild forms of sexual harassment from men. Possibly other dream crushers used such acceptable methods that I didn’t even notice. Interesting to me, that the two bosses I felt the most unfair were women. One told me I needed to be less feminine. The other was an emotional bludgeoner.

    The first woman once asked me to leave work, take a 8 hour road trip, watch a truck get loaded, and return to work to watch it unloaded. I rented a car, created a bed for my younger two children in the back seat, came back from the round-trip, got the kids off to school and showed up for work before the truck arrived. After 20 hours with no sleep. I was expected to work the rest of the day. I came home, fixed dinner, helped with homework, and started over. I did it because I needed the income and because it was what she expected me to do. Besides, I figured that I could make things work.

    Thirty years later, new boss, meetings that lasted hours after everyone should be home, and co-workers called on the carpet for their inability to meet impossible deadlines that she refused to negotiate. I quit after three months. At that time in my life, I knew that she was not going to change. I recognized an impossible situation and knew that nothing I did would change that.

    We all learn as we go through life, don’t we?

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  3. As traumatic as that was, it led you into a new life. But so sad that it had to happen that way, and for all the trauma you went through. In a way, this reminded me of the teacher who spoke up at the school board meeting recently about no raises in years and ended up handcuffed by a security officer on the floor. Sad that it still happens, and happens many times where no cell phones are present.

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  4. I’ve worked for men who think they’re gods (they even state it in “jest”) and I was totally sick of it. I thought I’d finally escaped from all that – but now I have a boss whose wife is a nutcase – that perfect job is still eluding me. So glad yours had a happy ending x

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  5. Yes Leanne. Being a expert in psychological health, I know that those who act like “they are gods” are actually feeling Boundless INSECURITY!! This guy knew I could do his job better than he did. What a DICK!

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  6. What a great attitude to take after such unjust circumstances. Interesting that the library is so much like the playing field when it comes to equal treatment of women. Glad you found a better life.

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  7. Pingback: Can we even talk to each other anymore? | Adventures of the NEW Old Farts

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