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  • Transcriber: TED Translators Admin Reviewer: Rhonda Jacobs

  • Let me tell you a story, where you'll meet the characters

  • who I'll call Bilal and Brenda.

  • I was working in a most remarkable part of the world.

  • And one unremarkable morning,

  • a colleague came to see me.

  • She told me that Bilal, one of our senior executives,

  • had been telling everyone I was being removed

  • because I'd been messing with the wrong people.

  • And now, I was going to face the consequences.

  • I wasn't alarmed,

  • because I knew I had done what I'd been hired to do:

  • my job,

  • dealing with thorny issues head on

  • and leaving no stone unturned.

  • In fact, in the months prior to this,

  • we'd overturned more than just a few stones.

  • Those details are for another time.

  • I called my husband, James,

  • to tell him about this bizarre conversation,

  • and with what proved to be great foresight,

  • he said, "Angélique, pack your things and call Brenda, in that order."

  • I called Brenda.

  • I'd worked with her for a number of years,

  • and I trusted her.

  • She was the person who'd recommended me for that job.

  • I cut to the chase,

  • because my husband's reaction made me realize

  • this was more than just the usual stuff I'd encountered before.

  • And I say usual, but in that moment of clarity,

  • it dawned on me what James had already recognized:

  • none of this was usual.

  • These irregularities, part of a pattern I'd failed to notice,

  • were what I now know as open secrets

  • living beneath those proverbial stones I'd had the audacity to overturn.

  • To my shock, I learned that this was happening

  • because I hadn't tried hard enough to operate in the "gray space."

  • I didn't seem to know when to kick things into the long grass.

  • And I didn't understand that this was how the system worked.

  • The message, the implied threat,

  • was clear.

  • Over the next few weeks,

  • I was replaced by a convenient yes-man while I was still there.

  • I suffered from terrible gastritis,

  • and I pretended to our two young daughters

  • that I still had that job.

  • Leaving home every morning, dressed up as if for work,

  • to drop them to school, for six months.

  • I did not submit,

  • but I won't pretend that it was easy to speak up

  • or beneficial in any way to me, to my family or to my career.

  • When we speak up in the workplace despite policies to the contrary,

  • whilst we may not lose our jobs,

  • we are likely to lose the camaraderie of our coworkers.

  • Disbelieved, ostracized,

  • faced with under-the-radar bullying.

  • You know the kind when you walk into a room and everyone stops talking?

  • We think: It's not my responsibility to say anything.

  • So why did I choose to act despite the risks to my family and to me?

  • The sin of omission is a failure to do what you know is right.

  • When you stay quiet,

  • even though you're not guilty of wrongdoing yourself,

  • what will you have to live with if you don't take action?

  • So who are you in this lineup of actors?

  • The bad actor, the wrongdoer?

  • The bad stander who benefits directly or indirectly

  • and acts as a puppet for the bad actor?

  • The bystander, aware of the open secrets

  • but not actually doing anything wrong or the upstander?

  • This is the person we want to see when we look in the mirror.

  • I've learned three things:

  • One, don't second guess yourself.

  • When you see something amiss, ask questions,

  • because it is okay to challenge those in authority.

  • Two, don't be complicit.

  • You always have the power to say no in the face of wrongdoing.

  • And three, be an upstander.

  • Speaking up is not about being brave.

  • It's not about not feeling scared.

  • But when you do what you know is right, you can be at peace with yourself.

  • Yes, it is hard to say what you feel in the moment.

  • Do it anyway. Be fearless.

  • Martin Luther King said,

  • "In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies,

  • but the silence of our friends."

  • So when you look in the mirror,

  • who will you see?

  • A bystander, keeper of open secrets?

  • Or will the person looking back at you be an upstander?

  • I know who I see.

  • I know who my daughters see.

  • The choice is yours.

Transcriber: TED Translators Admin Reviewer: Rhonda Jacobs

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How to be an upstander instead of a bystander | Angélique Parisot-Potter

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    林宜悉 posted on 2021/01/06
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