When Business Ventures and Values Don't Align
I have just returned from a business trip where I had the pleasure and opportunity to meet some truly amazing humans. I am always grateful to cross paths of people in life who cause me to second guess my perspectives and enrich my life with their presence. As is my tendency I got into a couple deep conversations surrounding topics I'm both curious and passionate about. One of these topics was surrounding performative actions taken by businesses and how they might impact progress.
Part of the reason this topic is so front and center for me at the moment is because a company I have done business with and may continue to work with in the future has dropped the ball in a major way on a issue of intimidation, threatening and in my opinion racism perpetrated by someone in an elevated status. When the situation initially occurred there was lip service and profuse verbal rejection of said actions but nothing was done to rectify it. Everyone knew, proof was in hand and yet no action was taken. I waited a couple weeks waffling on the idea of whether it was my place to speak up and finally I did (pissed at myself that it took me that long). I was told that in order to file an official complaint I would need to go directly through my local office. I challenged that because in my opinion I knew they wouldn't care (remember they had already ignored it); unfortunately, it was made clear that was my only avenue. So I made a call and officially requested to file a complaint. My call was met with a bit of dramatics the top manager said 'oh boy, what happened now?', I told him nothing new had happened just that remaining silent wasn't aligning with my integrity, no further questions were asked aside from that, no details or compassion was shown just an 'ok I'll call and let them know you want to file a complaint, and someone will reach out to you'. No-one ever did, to me this means the complaint wasn't filed because how would it be; I wasn't even asked what my specific complaint was...
Moving forward almost 2 months I've had no interaction with these people until now. The tone was cold and I repeatedly heard commentary from the top manager about how everyone is so sensitive and easily offendable. Now I cannot say for sure that all of that talk was directed towards me I know for certain at least one instance was because I heard it (ps mutherfuckers your whispers aren't as quiet as you think they are). Now, I honestly don't give a shit if these people like me or not. I don't even really care if they agree with me. I do however care that as high level 'managers' of people they are able to get away with blatant bigotry and re-write stories to suit their own personal agenda. I am at a crossroads because while I understand the company at large is a seemingly quality partner that I could work with I also know that geographically I would have to work with and by default I would be making money for people who have not only proven they don't care about the people in their organization they actively work to brush things under the rug.
As I reflect on this situation and the crossroads I'm at I realized how common this must be for people who actually pay attention and give a shit. I was told I should be more 'business minded' when considering this issue. In the context of that conversation, I took it as 'fuck your feelings just make money' and while I can appreciate that to a certain extent because I have a huge monetary opportunity if I just 'go with the flow' it simply isn't in alignment of who I am as a person or the type of business I want to grow. Perhaps this is why change is so slow to happen because it's really inconvenient to stand in your truth when that means a loss of any kind. It is so much easier to sweep things under the rug as opposed to truly facing all the ugliness head on.
The conversation I referenced earlier regarding performative actions taken in businesses has given me even more pause as I consider my own situation. This is because the gentleman I was speaking to had an interesting take on it. He fully acknowledges that many businesses truly are taking actions without really caring; he also said that these tiny actions can start to form cracks in the organization where people who do care can come in and start making meaningful changes. I think he’s right on here, the challenge is finding people willing and able to both hold space while also pushing those cracks further in order to enact true change. I don’t’ know if this is me, I don’t know if I have the capacity to hold space in this way but I do know that those around me, who deserve the same financial opportunity, deserve for someone to try so that perhaps they face a little less resistance and bigotry in the future.
If you're reading this and any part of it resonates with you I would love to hear your story and how you navigated it. Please email email@example.com or reach out through one of our social media platforms. Regardless of if you reach out or not please know that being the squeaky wheel AKA standing in your truth,
does not mean you are 'too sensitive' or 'easily offended' or 'not business minded'. It simply means you understand yourself and your values enough to stand in them, even when it's inconvenient. So while you should always be open minded and consider other perspectives don't let anyone tell you that standing in your truth makes you anything other than a strong, badass, individual, because you are!