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‘Hey, this doesn’t smell right’

Ronan Farrow in the most recent WorkLife podcast episode (discussing the #MeToo movement with Ronan, Ashley Judd and Tarana Burke) from Adam Grant talked about the need to stand up and say something in the face of abuse and transgressions at work.

This part of the podcast stood out to me for the need to be braver and more awkward; to feel comfortable with being the difficult person. I would very much like to see more people becoming difficult.

“I saw first-hand, while reporting this story, the perils of the systems that you all champion failing at a company. The moment you see anyone in your chain of command lying about whether someone has had HR violations or pushing you to not act on something, you all have an opportunity to say ‘hey, this doesn’t smell right’ and stand up and really make yourself heard.

“I understand the reasons why people don’t do that, I know you’ve got families to support and there’s a lot on the line and you can feel very alone in a large system. But these are things that do come to light eventually and the people who stand up are heroes. They’re important.

“I was desperate as someone trying to get the truth out about this for each one of those people who would stand up. More importantly I know that every survivor who put everything on the line to speak was desperate for those people who would stand up.

“I had a conversation with someone who was in a larger corporate system who said to me in the midst of all of that ‘I’m just a cog in the system, I don’t know what I can do’ and I said ‘No, you don’t understand. You are a formal part of the chain of command on this. If you say something it creates an awkward position for the people trying to cover this up that could be everything to me right now.’”