Saturday, April 14, 2012

To say or not to say

We come across so many situations in day to day life, where we give our opinions or think about possible solutions.  They may not necessary be related to problems but a regular opinion. Now having an opinion based on some facts and findings, is always the best method to form one. But what about the situations where, we have to say what we want to say, whether other person likes it or not.

This dilemma is a regular at almost all workplaces. As an individual, we all have different ideologies and opinions. These opinions and ideologies are purely cultivated by one’s own learning's and experiences, background, upbringing. But when we start working, a lot changes. Our deep rooted ideologies seem to lose its sanity in front of the cruelness and wickedness of the workplace. I don’t blame the work for being wicked or cruel, but the person who is handling it, makes it so…

So our dilemma, to say or not to say? Say for a basic example: One of my ex-colleague is a pure vegetarian. She does not eat eggs at all, not even in cakes. Here comes the problem. We had a birthday committee in our company and we would pay some bucks for birthday parties. Now everyone except her was okay with having a normal cake. Her problem was that, she would also make this contribution but would never be able to enjoy the cake. So should she say it or not?

Another example, when another friend of mine was shadowing her colleague, in his absence. She was doing his back up work and there were three different people walking up to her and checking on her, if she completed the backup work. Her problem was that the people who were checking on her were the seniors in the team, but she was also equally experienced and fully aware of her duties as a backup. Her colleague did not report to either of them and the seniors were bossing around to show their supremacy. In order to avoid any conflicts, she kept quite but was in conflict with herself for not speaking out her mind. Her dilemma was to say or not to say about the annoyance she was undergoing?

We all see and hear things and our mind keeps on constantly gathering different ideas and stores it within itself. When a similar situation arises, our brain automatically identifies the issue and attaches the solution to the problem. So this is how we have our opinions for any matters. Now, when we have idea about something, tried and tested, and person in front is doing the opposite of what is supposed to be, what do you do? Do you say it or not?

Example: My acquaintance wanted to go on a trip to Tirupathi, from Bangalore. She asked if traveling to Tirupathi in a hired vehicle from Bangalore is better than bus travel. Is it cheaper? No doubt, hired vehicle thing is comfortable and better option, I advised her (mind you upon her asking) to either go in a package tour or travel in bus and then move around in local cabs once she went there. This would have saved her money and lots of them. This was logical and economical. Instead she felt angry because I discouraged her from comfortable traveling. So in this case, when you were asked to give an advice and it backfires at you, I wondered if I should have said it or not? Should I have guessed that she wanted some encouragement for hired vehicle-comfortable  travel and then nodded in her decision. No wonder that would have made her happy, but what about the internal conflict within yourself? Between what you believed and what you said?


One of my own examples……. I took part in the annual day function, where I was selected in dance performances. Now whoever knows me well, would know that I like to dance and that I am not in great shape to do so. But I enjoy it thoroughly. So we are at the dinner table and this team member, who does not know me well, under the pretext of being straight forward and clown funny, asks me about the preparation for the annual day and its details. He makes a personal comment on me saying “Aren’t you too fat to dance on the stage?”  Did the comment hurt? Definitely Yes. Did I lose control? Hell No…So what did I reply? With a smile as wide as possible, I said “Why don’t you try your luck and get selected for dancing?”  There, he got his answer that dancing is not about size but about talent and also got to understand that personal comments and loose talks with Preeti Chandrashekar Vaidya, a big NO-NO!

With every situation in the above cases, comes a possibility of conflict. Conflicts are often unpleasant and results into bad experiences. But is it always necessary to have a conflict with bad taste? Why is conflict management a big issue? 

The problem with Indian people’s nature is that they get easily offended and do not like to hear a “NO”.  People get touchy and personal when they hear the truth or have a straight forward answer given.  They like to joke at cost of others but not at themselves. This is one of the biggest reasons why honesty is a myth in the workplace culture. People are not honest to their work, their colleagues and most importantly to themselves. Had they been honest to atleast themselves, they would have realized their actual capabilities and perform on it. Instead, people resort to wickedness and cunningness.


In order to reach to the top, people choke their ideologies in first or second year of work. Honest people who are true to work and themselves are most feared and hence, least appreciated. The success at workplace is inversely proportionate to the honesty you have while doing your work.

So, is it wrong to have opinions? Is it wrong to be honest? Is it wrong to say something you believe in? I say No. The words you chose should not be rude. They should neither be too feeble that it does not impact one’s thinking. 

What is your answer? To say or not to say?


  1. Well written. Referring to the workplace scenarios, we all go through such things at some point or the other. The ideals generally tend to get thrown out of the window. I remember a few lines from a celebrated Marathi playwright V.P.Kale, it said "When we are kids our parents teach us what is right and wrong, how to differentiate between it. We are taught to say our prayers every day in the morning and before going to bed. But as we grow older, we start feeling indifferent if not ashamed about doing all of it. Probably, this is what is called as growing up. And then one day we meet a person who still holds on to his childhood values with all his might and we then tend to laugh it off saying he is crazy and will come around soon."
    The point I am trying to make is, how easily we confuse corruption of the mind as growing up .

  2. Work place culture and the questions raised at the end of the blog is real challenge. I too would like to tell U a story as Asu has done: A mighty king called up an astrologer who was known for his accuracy and shrewdness to know about the future of his son. after his own calculations Astrologer announced that his son will have to witness the death of wife , sons and his grand sons. The King got annoyed and punished the Astrologer for his ugly words. After some time same King called a successful Astrologer for consultations. he too did his calculations and announced that his son will live for 100 years and received the bounty of presentations. Both King and the Second Astrologer were satisfied. I hope U have Got an Answer. Keep on writing. May God bless U
    Papa Chandrasekhar


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