Shut Up. Now Talk.

I was raised to be an opinionated, outspoken woman. My Mom quit her nursing job to take care of me and my two sisters but regardless of how much money she brought in, she was an equal, if not more dominant presence in our household. She determined our religion. She organized family events. She took primary responsibility for growing and molding us because she was simply around more and that was her job. She was the Nudell Lee CEO.

I continued my managerial character development in 6th grade with my 6th grade teacher, Chris Jaglo. She's my favorite teacher of all time. Daily, she'd tell us girls that we're "bold, strong women." She'd make us say it to ourselves too. It sounds silly but it had a huge impact on me.

Now I find myself in the Bay Area with a full time job in tech. I expect to be heard and respected all the time but I'm discovering that that's not how it works. Not everyone wants to hear my opinion. They may not respect me either. It isn't like my family or my 6th grade class because work is not democratic. Every organization is a unique combination of personalities and egos that must be handled in a specific, careful, way. There are ways to succeed but you may have to compromise your voice and elements of your personality. 

If you don't have the executive authority to speak your mind, your next best bet is to ally with as many people as possible. Help as many people as you can and follow through in a thoughtful, organized way. You may never call the shots but people will take you with them if they have the opportunity to pave the way.