A piece of advice I wish I learned sooner

Mika Brzezinski on MSNBC’s Morning Joe said the other day: “Women in the workplace need to stop saying they are ‘sorry’!”

As soon as those words left her lips, my mind flooded back to all my jobs and internships post-college. I recalled e-mails and conversations so rapidly you’d think I was dying and my life had flashed before my eyes.

“Oh, I’m so sorry to inconvenience you, but can you look at this?”

“Sorry it took so long! I’m just so swamped.”

Or how about: “Sorry if I edited more than you were hoping. It’s all just suggestions!”

Mika’s right. When do you ever hear men talk to each other like this? Or men talk to a women like this where they overly use the word “sorry” or express some sort of concern for inconvenience?

Mika was discussing her new book Knowing Your Value: Women, Money and Getting What You’re Worth. Minus interns, I’ve really only worked with men, which has had me convinced we are still living in a man’s world. (That’s until my husband went to work for a prominent non-profit where he was only one of three men in the office!) I’ve taken Mika’s suggestion to heart and stopped acting like my work and requests are an inconvenience. Removing the word ‘sorry’ has not only boosted my confidence in my contributions to the team, but I’ve also notice a new level of respect in return.

I think the Proverbs 31 woman speaks towards this value: “She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future. When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness.”

She was a working woman! Based on these two verses, she did not approach her work with timidity, insecurity, concern for inconvenience, or fear of perception. She was strong, confident, wise, and prudent with her words. So ladies, let’s save “sorry” for when our actions have negatively affected our or others work, not as a scapegoat of insecurity.

So cheers for reading my Writing Prompt #2: “something you now know that you wish you knew earlier in life.” I wish I had known this four years ago as I believe it would have benefited or improved interaction with previous coworkers. Now I pass this kernel on to you, ladies!

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