Vulnerability in the workplace: Pt 2 – a spoken word piece

In Your Head

I come here almost every day, even on those days when I don’t feel so good

I’m not talking about the flu or a tummy upset

I’m talking about when, you know, you just don’t feel right

I come here when I know that my partner is struggling and all I want to do is to be with her

I come here when my kids need their father right now

I come here when I’m worried about not being able to pay the school fees this week,
to put food on the table, to pay the rent

Some days I come here because I am worried about what might happen if I don’t show up. Will you discover the mistakes that I make and shame hides? Will you replace me?

The goldfish died last week and dammit my kid was heart-broken but I had to be here, not there where it mattered the most

And do you even know my kids name?

Do you care that his goldfish died?

I come here and I have to look good for the customers and I have to sound like everything is ok

That’s not so easy to do sometimes you know, but I do it anyway

It’s my job to make you look good. You, not me, I don’t matter as long as you look good.

And you don’t even care to look me in the eye some days

You scurry past my desk, because you are simply too busy to care, or are you too scared to care?

Are you? Are you scared just like me?

You don’t come and sit next to me and chat a while. There is never time for that. Until I screw up and I have to come and sit across from you and then there is time.

So sometimes I screw up just so that I get to come and spend some time with you. To see if maybe you do understand, that you do care. To find out if you know my partner’s name, if you knew that the goldfish died.


But that just makes me a ‘victim’. A victim that needs to man-up, to grow a pair. You make it sound as though being a victim is a bad thing and that people need to try to stop being one.

You motivate me to do better by shaming me.

Being a victim is something of shame. Stand up for yourself, stop being a victim.

Well guess what, the world is full of victims. It’s a real thing.  You will know the victims, if you care to look, they are the nice people, the quiet ones, the timid ones, the ones that care too much.

No one wants to be a victim and they wouldn’t be but for bullies like you.

Not a deliberate bully. A bully because of who you are and how you don’t seem to care that I feel ill-at-ease around you. My lively-hood, my kids’ happiness is all in your hands and this gives you an advantage over me. Please be aware of this and use it for good.

Sometimes I am a victim but that’s because I’m an introvert. I don’t like to make a fuss. I’m a thinker, an observer.

I struggle with my sense of self-worth and because I want to respect you I just keep it all to myself.

Because I respect you I won’t challenge your decisions. I have to believe that you know what you are doing and that your decisions are the right decisions for everyone. Does this make my opinion any less valuable?

And if you really do value my opinion like you say you do, why do you never come and ask me for it? Remember I am shy and I want to respect you, I need to respect you. I don’t like to challenge you.

I want everyone to succeed because when everyone succeeds, I know that your company will succeed. But you reward those who rule by the failure of others, victims like me.

I come here day-after-day  because sometimes, even in my worst times I need to be among others, I need to feel that I fit in, I need to be kept busy.

I come here because the worst thing I could possibly be is alone. But when I come in I need to feel supported, understood. I need you to understand that sometimes my life gets messy and confused and I can’t leave it all at home.

You tell me that your door is always open. Going through open doors is not always easy for some people and can I remind you that your door swings both ways and that you can step through it too.


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