November 15, 2010
I don’t watch much TV these days, but for some reason, I switched on the TV last night… and caught part of Singapore Talking. First time I ever watched that show. The topic was why teenagers don’t speak up.
What caught my attention though was the response to an opinion by a member of the audience that it’s difficult to voice opinions once you enter the workforce because you will be worried about how you will be perceived by your colleagues and your employer. One of the panel members, this bloke from Heartware, said something to the effect that if what you’re saying is “real” (a word he uses a lot – I believe that that’s his way of describing opinions founded on fact), then you have to go ahead and take the risk and just voice your opinion — if you lose your job, so be it, you can find another job.
Now, to be fair, I think his main point is that if you believe in what you say, stand up and be counted. Don’t be risk-averse. And I do believe that people should be held accountable for their words.
But, why should you have to pay a price for voicing your opinion? An employer should not be allowed to dismiss an employee simply for voicing divergent opinions, if such opinions are rational and well thought out. It shouldn’t be risky for people to voice reasoned opinions. And employers who fire, blackball or discriminate against their people for that reason should be called to account.