I received an interesting telephone call from my university alumni organization. Interesting because it was a ‘phone call they didn’t want to make. The reason was they had received feedback from some members that I was too vocal at the workshop courses and they couldn’t get a word in edge ways.
Now excuse me here but I seemed to recall putting my hand up before posing a question or scenario to the guest speaker. At no time did I see a sea of hands up in contention. I thanked the Organizer for her feedback which is always useful (she had ask me to tone things down,) but I am not into shrinking to make people feel more secure in their insecurity. The problem lies with the people who are making the complaints and not with me.
As I explained to her I have travelled a long road to be where I am now. As someone who has travelled a similar road she agreed but had to act on the feedback she had received. It would seem that some of the people making the complaints (she didn’t say who,) are people who never actually spoke to me because those fellow alumni members I spoke to were quite interested in what I had to say. I could be wrong here also but the feedback indicated it was younger members who had very little life experiences who complained. This maybe true, it maybe not be. I could care less. Anyone who has a problem with me without even knowing me beyond my first name has some real life issues they need to address.
I was watching Donald Trump’s version of ‘The Apprentice’ last night and actors aside, I have never seen a more fiercer, more competitive and combative group of candidates. The women’s group more so. Especially in ‘The Boardroom’ where one of them would be ‘Fired’.
The reason I mention ‘The Apprentice’ is that I am very vocal and competitive soul. I have to be. Combative when I need to be. Every job I go for as an Actor or Agency Freelancer, is subject to audition/job interview. I am eternally in competition for every job I go up for, unlike those insecure fools who are making complaints about me, who, I wager have never had to deal with uncertainty on a daily basis for any length of time.
Unlike them, I was at those workshop events to learn something and get the most out of it all. That is where my focus was. Nowhere else!
If after three years of full-time university study, people aren’t able to open their mouths and make themselves heard, that is on them, not on me and most certainly their problem of insecurity lies not at my door but their own.
I have far more pressing concerns to deal with. And unlike those people, anyone who knows me (beyond my first name on a sticky label stuck to my chest in a classroom setting,) will know this. To those who don’t and couldn’t be bothered to, ‘Ignorance is bliss’ as they say.
You work your side of the street and I will work mine.
On reflection of the above, I decided to write an email to the lady who called me and put my case because I seriously didn’t agree with her calling me. In fact, she should have thought long and hard beforre even calling me. Feedback is important but as I wasn’t facilitating anything, I wondered why I was gettng this feedback. My response:-
Thank you for your telephone conversation and for bringing the situation we discussed. However, I have been thinking about our conversation and feel I need to discuss this further.
For one, I am somewhat puzzled and annoyed by the fact the feedback you have been receiving concerns me. I would have thought any feedback would have pertained to the actual workshop(s) concerned and who was facilitating it. I wasn’t facilitating anything. I was at those workshop/events because I was eligible to be. The situation I now find myself in is one of being similar to that of a student who has a complaint made against him by other students simply because that student attends a lecture with the express intention of getting as much as he can from the lecture, while the other students can’t be bothered to open their mouths and actually make the same kind of effort but then have the damn cheek and audacity to make a complaint against the student who is actually making the effort because he came in with the intention of getting as much as they can out of the lecture, even if it meant asking questions even at times that can be a little challenging.
When I raised a point, I remember raising my hand before I spoke. I didn’t note a sea of hands raised in contention or competition.
There have been two events I have not attended. The last one I attended was back in January and I think this must be where the problem lies – I don’t know. I know I was a bit challenging with the guest lecturer but I fundamentally disagreed with some of the points she made and I think quite rightly so because while she was trying to get us to think of the box, she was very academic in her outlook which did not necessarily reflect the reality many people faced. I wasn’t the only person who felt this way but I don’t recall anyone presenting an alternative view from the Alumni in attendance.
If anyone has a problem with me, then it for them to raise the point with me face to face and if they can’t do that or are not prepared to do that then quite simply don’t say anything at all. As I have said above any feedback should pertain to the workshop/events themselves and not me or anyone else attending.
I am not prepared to compromise myself or my view on certain things because people have a problem with me being forthright. That is their problem not mine. And to be honest with you Kay, you really should have told them that you are interested in feedback about the workshops, not any particular person who attends.
That is my view. I have far more pressing issues to deal with rather than person or persons who have a problem with me. That is their problem, not mine. Or yours and the Alumni for that matter. They don’t know me, I don’t know my life. If they had to walk a mile or less in my shoes, believe me they wouldn’t be so petty and small-minded. They would be too busy. I attend the workshops/events because as a member of the Alumni I am entitled to like any other member. I go there because I actually want to learn learn something. I wasn’t aware of anything being too low level or anything else. I came with an open mind and always do.
The above is my position. Again thinking about it, I am surprised to have gotten a ‘phone about this for the reasons I have given. It does suggest an extreme arrogance and ignorance of whoever made this kind of complaint because clearly their focus was not on the subject matter at hand. And I do feel that your pandering to this kind of complaint, emboldens them to think they can make similar complaints about other members they may not like because of their gender, ethnicity or anything else. Thin edge of the wedge comes to mind. I would certainly like to know who made these complaints so I can take further action if necessary.