How to Find Your Voice at Work as a first-gen Latina
Does being calladita really make you more bonita? A lot of us grew up with our moms or tias telling us that the more silent we were, the less obstructive and difficult we were. I think it’s time we set the record straight. Being calladita does NOT make you more bonita. In reality, speaking up is a sign of confidence; confidence in ourselves and in our work.
Why is it important to have your voice heard at work?
What you bring to the table is of value. Whatever you say, whether it be a question, a comment, a suggestion, or a problem no one thought of, it is of value. Staying silent can actually bring psychological effects, according to Forbes. “Suppressing issues can be painful. People get exhausted. They don’t get to be their authentic selves,” But when you speak out, you could be providing a perspective that could develop a new product, a new strategy, or a new workflow. The impact you could have could be serious.
What are some actionable steps Mujeres can take to overcome the fear of using their voices at work?
“If you are not using your voice, you are probably in your head,” says Cindy Alvarez, Career Confidence Coach. She is a First-Gen professional that helps women find power in their voices. She suggests the first step should be to sort through those thoughts and emotions. “I would recommend a SWOT analysis. A great actionable step is for individuals to do that about themselves,” Cindy says. These types of analyses shed light on our strengths, weaknesses and our areas of opportunity. “In order to overcome the fear of speaking up, it’s important to know where you lie.”
What is the best way to approach a supervisor or colleague who constantly pushes their agenda on you and feels uncomfortable?
Navigating a difficult work environment is scary. At times, it may feel a little unstable. That at some point, becomes overwhelming. It’s okay to feel scared, mad, or frustrated. You need to give space to those feelings and emotions. Find a time to figure out your emotions and your feelings, the problems and also develop some solutions. An article from Ladies Get Paid drops 10 tips to navigating a tough work conversation. Start with seeking some advice from a coach or someone who has been in this same position as you. Lay things into perspective. Use your voice to communicate with that colleague or supervisor. And lastly, be proud of yourself!
As first-gen professionals, we often believe that “calladita te ves más bonita.” In your opinion, how is this belief holding mujeres from using their voice at work?
Cindy said it best. “We are in a day in age where authenticity matters. If you are not fulfilling your purpose, the world is not in a good place.” Whatever you have to say has the potential to help someone. Your words carry weight. But beyond that, your beliefs have to align with your words. Beliefs can either cripple you or elevate you. They can take away opportunities; opportunities at work, in finances, in relationships, etc. If you are shy or scared to speak up at work, try adding statistics to build confidence and credibility in your words. Position what you have to say in a way that is not personal; instead, create a positive and constructive dialogue that will benefit the company or team. Use intention when speaking out to build up those around you.
How can using your voice at work help you achieve success and increase your income? (i.e. salary negotiation, getting a promotion, charging for your worth, etc.)
Using your voice can help you build the confidence you need to ask for a pay raise, better working conditions, better benefits, or even a new role. Using your voice also helps people know you, who you are, and what you stand for. Your voice can be important when it comes to making connections or networking. Be known for that girl that does not stay “calladita”.
In a world where we are constantly underestimated as women of color, it is difficult to find the courage to speak up, especially if we find ourselves in a room where no one else looks like us. But let this serve you as a reminder that speaking up and finding power in your voice is also about honoring our roots and making way for others’ voices to be heard as well. When you use your voice, you advocate for yourself and ask for your worth, which is why is so important for you to understand your monthly expenses and how much money you need to live comfortably and have money to invest.
Need more help organizing your money mindset and finances?
In my financial wellness workbook, I give you a step-by-step process of organizing your finances. What you need to do to make your money work for you, or if you are ready to work with a coach who understands the first-gen experience, I invite you to apply to work with me.