The Spoken Word
In the movie ‘You’ve got mail’, there is scene when Meg Ryan is put out of business by Tom Hanks and is at home sick with flu. Tom Hanks invites himself to her place to become friends with her. During the conversation, he gives her advise on her mail friend. In turn she is about to say something nasty to him for which Tom Hanks says ‘Do not say something that you are just gonna torture yourself for years to come‘. They have a silent moment staring into each others eyes and then Tom Hanks leaves her place.
So why am I rehashing a movie scene from the 90’s and what has it got to do with this blog. Have you ever spoken a harsh word against someone and knew that the moment you had uttered it you repented saying it. That’s the power of the spoken word gone wrong.
A dear friend of mine called me on phone the other day. He was sounding very desperate. After exchanging pleasantries, the first question he asked me was ‘Are there any openings in your team?’. Although we worked for different organizations, our line of work was similar with same tools of trade being used to get software released to customer on time with high quality and without delays. I was wanting to know why he had this sudden interest in jumping ship. He had a good job and as proximity to his office was very important to him, he had relocated to within 500 meters of his office and had stay put in that company for more than 5 years.
He told me, ‘I was having a annual performance review and they denied me a pay rise’.
I asked him, ‘Is it because of a downturn in the software industry or is it because your company’s financial aren’t that great?’
He responded back ‘Had that been the case, i would have accepted it. But they told me that they had invested in my wheelchair and accessibility and hence can’t afford to give me a hike’
I was dumbfounded.
Have you ever heard of your manager denying you a hike just because he invested in buying Microsoft Office Suite for you so that you could be more productive at work? It’s a basic necessity isn’t it. Similarly is a wheelchair for a person who is quite able as anyone of us but has certain physical limitations. Why is that we sometimes don’t have control on what comes out of our mouth and hurt the other person through the spoken word. In those cases we should restrain and remind ourselves of the quote ‘Don’t speak unless you can improve upon silence’