Standing up to authority figures in the workplace - with grace and dignity

It is unfortunate, but sometimes it is necessary to stand up to authority figures. If something unethical is happening, the only way to make it stop - is to stand up and demand it stop.

I’ve done it several times and different things have happened.

One time, my position was eliminated. My boss - was a sexist pig. I didn’t mind him rubbing himself in front of me - just thought it was odd and not something he should not do in front of a customer. But when he said something really racist to a customer - I told him, in private, to never say anything like that in front of me again. In 2 weeks - my position was eliminated. I don’t regret a thing. I turned around and got a better job.

Other times I have stood up to someone, I have been rewarded and promoted for standing up for the right thing.

What matters is who you are standing up to, why you are standing up to them and how you do it.

If the boss is THE boss - you probably won’t succeed. They have the ability to fire you. But if they are doing something wrong - and illegal - don’t do it with them.

If they have bosses above them - you can alert those other bosses as to what is going on and have better success.

I have a friend who is in the military - and she stood up to an abusive superior - a general - and he was investigated and dismissed from the army - because of what she did. I thanked her on behalf of the American public.

When you stand up to a person in authority - it is important that you do so for the right reasons and do it professionally and ethically. That way - whatever the outcome is - you can feel good about what you did.

One last story. This one from my father. It’s a handed down story so I don’t know how accurate it is. My great great (13 great grandfather) was a guard for General George Washington’s guard. The story is that he was standing guard at night and General Washington came into camp. And my great (however many great) grandfather - would not let him pass until he showed his papers. General Washington was so pleased with him that he was doing his job so well, he gave my great(13) grandfather a coin.

Standing up is the right thing to do. So do it. Doesn’t matter the rank of the person you are standing up to. If we don’t do this - nothing will change.

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