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  • Writer's picturemaggiehsmith07

Say What You Want to Say

You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.” – Anne Lamott


Tomorrow, I am hopping on a plane headed to Arizona for work. I’ve been to Arizona before, to peer into the Grand Canyon. But that’s almost 4 hours north of Scottsdale, where I will be spending the majority of the week. In an effort to have one non-stop flight, I’m flying out of Raleigh-Durham, NC. Because my flight leaves at 640ish AM, I’m staying at a hotel. I’m here now and have examined the bed for both bed bugs AND fleas. Fleas are a new worry to consider when staying at a hotel, one I hadn’t considered until being chewed alive back in the fall. The memory of it makes me itch.


North Carolina is decidedly more southern than Virginia. Yellow signs with black print that reads, JESUS SAVES, are affixed high atop poles and I can’t help but wonder who put them there and what they were hoping to achieve. It seems a lot of work to place them as high as they are. I picture some folks driving by and muttering a reverent, “Amen.” Whereas I just stare.


I try not to write about work – particularly when I worked in the assisted living industry but now I don’t so I am going to write about it. Mainly to say that I’m glad I’m not there anymore to bear witness to people leaving, to mourn one person at a time over and over and over again. When will it stop? Soon, I won’t know anyone there anymore. Although it shouldn’t, it still surprises me how a business that cares for people can treat the people who work for them. The power of human connection - - it sure is fucking powerful.


I’m fiercely loyal. Probably to a fault. What I’ve come to realize is that I’m loyal to people, not companies. I’ve stayed too long at jobs and worked too hard for companies who have treated people I care about like shit. This is particularly difficult when you work in human resources and try to say, “We should be better than this.” When you realize you’re better than “this”, whatever this looks like, you get the hell out.


I’ve worked in human resources for a long time. It’s interesting to look back and consider how leadership tends to view culture as HR’s responsibility when leadership is standing in the way of enhancing the culture instead of partnering with HR.


All of this is to say I’m looking forward to spending time in Arizona with people I care about, who care about employees and culture.


Innocence, your history of silence Won't do you any good Did you think it would?

Let your words be anything but empty

Why don't you tell them the truth?

Say what you wanna say

And let the words fall out

Honestly I wanna see you be brave

With what you want to say And let the words fall out Honestly I wanna see you be brave

Sara Bareilles


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