Being who you are
Being Who you are
“Who are you ?” is an oft asked question. Sometimes, the inquiry originates from another person, maybe an employer or boss of some sort, asking somewhat plaintively “who are you and why are you being so insolent?” Few people talk truth to power, as the saying goes. And while that may sound noble enough, when you hear a newscaster speak reverently of those who do indeed speak up. In practice, those who do so are usually marked for early termination or a difficult transfer , by those who can’t quite figure out why someone was rash enough to question their authority on a given subject. Usually the threat of being transferred to a workforce Siberia, or an outright firing is enough to keep the peasants in line.
Every once in a while, like Runnymede in 1215, the American colonies in the 1770’s, Paris in the 1790’s, St. Petersburg after WW I, those mischievous peasants just refuse to be silenced and a revolution of sorts is launched. Of course, numerous other times, in too many geographic venues to count, the peasants are routed and the leaders hung or imprisoned. In days of yore, insubordination wasn’t tolerated. Repercussions were swift and harsh, lest other peasants be encouraged to join in the rebellion.
In modern times, it still takes some serious spine to tell those in power that they are wrong, especially if they are decidedly in error on any policy or program. Then, the big boys, knowing full well that they screwed the pooch on a matter, link together and step on the insubordinate rascals as fast as they are able. A good defense is usually a vigorous offense.
So, the comments that this young lad made, were appreciated by me for the strength of character that they evidenced. You might not be hung for speaking up today, but losing a job and an income are pretty severe penalties for a person with a mortgage and children to raise and educate. Primarily for these reasons you don’t often see people openly “disagreeing with the boss.” Most of the docile or perhaps smarter colleagues, just suck it up and say “Uh, huh.”
Still for those individuals who find they can’t do that, you need to give them a grudging respect. They have to indeed be “who they are.” And in doing so, they call things like they seem them, however perilous the possible outcome. Having been fired a few times myself, from rather responsible jobs, I more than appreciate the rebellious spirit in others. Sometimes, you just have to call them as you see them and let the chips fall where they may.
And maybe you will get fired or shipped to Siberia. You just suck it up and make the best of it, until the sanctimonious trip and fall on their own swords, as they often do. And in the interim, you will sleep sounder and in the morning face someone in the mirror who is honest of mien and strong in character. And if that be the epitaph on your tombstone, you will have lived a life that mattered.
Joseph Xavier Martin