Under My Own Authority

authMy boss hired a business consultant, mostly to just look at our internal structures and see if there need to be adjustments to our workflow. Aside from being smart as a whip, she was full of encouragement. I felt very uplifted after my first meeting with her. I also found myself coming to a major realization:

I’ve been waiting for someone to come along and tell me I have authority. The authority to say “no”, the authority to speak decisively, the authority to be a little more steadfast.


There is no authority fairy. There will not be a brilliant white light from the heavens that shines down and bestows upon me my Certificate of Authority. Even my boss isn’t going to lay out what I’m allowed to be an authority on.

Importantly, I sometimes face negative consequences for situations wherein I haven’t acted with authority. Because I, for instance, decided to let something slide because it’s not my position to say no, I might have to sit through a lecture about why it was wrong and very bad. I kept thinking ‘yes, but I have zero power to stop it!’ 

This year, I’m turning 30. I’m smart and qualified. I’ve worked at this company for eight years. If I haven’t earned some authority by now, it’s time I left.

I’ve been stuck behind my feelings of inferiority and my desperate need to avoid conflict. What I’ve done is save other people conflict and heap it on myself. And that’s not sustainable. I’m running out of emotional resources to deal with that and honestly? I’m runnin’ out of fucks to give here.

So, step by step, I’m claiming my authority–given to me by me. This includes some basic business self-advocacy that I’ve just let fall by the wayside. Here are some of my goals:

  • Say “no” when my gut tells me it’s time to step in
  • Speak up when I feel like I’m being talked around rather than to
  • Speak up for my peers when I feel like they’re not getting their fair shake
  • Ask “why” when I feel like my word is being rejected
  • Offer two solutions for every problem, whenever possible
  • Learn the words “I don’t know if that’s possible”

3 responses to “Under My Own Authority”

  1. Good for you! I hope you keep blogging on this topic. I’d love to hear how you implement your new-found self-granted authority.

    One thing I’m curious about : why 2 solutions?

    1. An example situation I face a lot is that we’ll get an ad from a client that absolutely does not meet our editorial standard. I will often see it and say “Hey, this needs to be changed. I think we should [x].” The response is often, “No, we’re not going to do [x].” The result is always complete inaction. Because [x] isn’t going to happen, absolutely nothing happens. Then I get a lecture about how the ad doesn’t meet our editorial standard. Haha
      So instead, I’m going to try: “This isn’t going to fly. We can either [x] or [y].” I’m hoping that this sets everything up as a choice between two outcomes and suck it up, we’re doing this thing. Haha

      1. That sounds like a good approach! I like how you’ve positioned it so change is inevitable.

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