What is the bravest thing that I have ever done?
Bravery is a relative term. Acts that came naturally to me, appeared bold to some. I have been labelled a ‘born rebel’, for the simplest act of speaking my mind. Whatever I said could have been against a family elder or boss, but did that really matter? I was just calling a spade a spade. Maybe, I was expected to call it a diamond or a heart, which it was certainly not.
I was bashed for a lack of tact and diplomatic skills, but I have never wanted those skills on my resume. Is it criminal to prefer the truth? If it so difficult, why can ‘courage to speak the truth’ be mentioned as an asset on my profile?
In my HR stint, I came across a very aggressive trade union leader, who was holding a meeting to ransom. His officers’ union was not recognized, for want of a minimum quantum of membership. But his clerical wing was in a majority. I pointed out that this discussion was about the officers, and he did not qualify to participate in the negotiations. It was technically correct. But it was considered to be politically incorrect. (I remember the silent winks on seeing him grounded, but nobody supported my stance openly).
I worked with a boss, who was a womanizer. His personal life was not my problem, but the biased professional decisions did affect the business. Was it a crime to speak up? The man was past retirement age, and was continuing in contractual employment. He was supported by the top management, as a ‘business strategy’, for certain underhand benefits. I only attracted opponents or silent supporters. Nobody spoke openly in my favour. I quit the job, and chose to face the other repercussions. Would you call it an act of bravery or cowardice or stupidity?
Human beings are social animals, and are deemed to need a social structure to survive. Speaking the truth (regardless of consequences), daring to be different and walking alone in life are the highest acts of bravery, for me.
Those will never win a bravery award, or be featured in the media.