I read an article this week in the Evening standard about the pop star and actress Paloma Faith. In the article she spoke about how people make a judgement about her intellect, by the way she speaks.
It really struck a cord with me. I am from Kent and have a bit of a South London twang. I went to a grammar school and got good grades at both GCSE and A level. I left college after A levels and went work for a stock brokers in the City of London. The aim was to work for a year and take up a place at Nottingham Trent university to study Economics and European studies. In the end, I chose working over further studying. Eventually, I would like to go back to studying and get my degree.
I have worked hard to get where I am and have often seen myself working with others, who have degrees, masters and even a Phd. I don’t see myself as being less intelligent than these people. I just took a different path.
For my job, I have more experience in my 13 years in the City than most and I am proud of my knowledge and my achievements.
However, I know the way I speak has hindered me. I have seen colleagues who speak well, who were privately educated and had good degrees been considered for opportunities where I have been overlooked. I have tried to put on a ‘posh’ voice and when friends have called me they don’t believe it is me!
The larger organisations that I have worked have been the worse. The ones who have the biggest diversity policies!
I now work in a place which is my glass slipper, and I hear many an accent. I know that the way I speak will not hinder my progress, career wise and I feel more comfortable in my own skin than I have for a long time. Paloma have faith (excuse the pun) and embrace your accent and to hell with those who are judgemental! I have and in the words of my dad “You are what you are, and you can’t polish a turd”!
Bouche x x x