So I really need to know if people who have known me for more than two or three years think I am loud. It all started a few months again when I was working at Qdoba and my friend Joe was my assistant manager. We were talking about personalities and I said something about how I used to be a much more quiet, reserved person but leadership roles at jobs as well as traveling, having awesome friends and growing up a bit has made me a lot more confident in who I am and consequently, a much more outgoing person. Joe seemed a little surprised to hear that I had once been “quiet” and said something like, “wow, I think of you being one of the loudest people I know.” I was definitely taken aback by this and he said, “I mean that in a really good way,” but it still seemed a little strange.
My theory is that I became loud working in restaurants. When I started at Chin’s I was often in the middle of a busy kitchen and had to communicate, sometimes in really poor Spanish, to people working in a long, narrow area. Then after a promotion I was in front most of the time, but I still had to command the shift from the front expo line, which often involved a lot of loud but calm directives to the people in the back and the front. I don’t think anyone is accusing me of rude loudness, but I never really realized I had become loud. At Qdoba, managers are strongly encouraged to be loud. It’s considered appropriate for the manager to be both seen and heard, greeting customers, making jokes, and generally creating a fun, upbeat atmosphere.
When I started interviewing for customer service jobs, I had a couple of interviews with a company that sells boat parts, and I was very interested in the job because it involved international customers. On day I met the customer service staff and later got some constructive feedback that I had a loud voice and the other women were slightly concerned that it might be distracting in the very small, very open area they all had their phones and computers in. I was surprised by this but explained that I had been encouraged to be loud in the restaurants and could definitely adjust. Who knows if that is why I was not offered that job, but it all turned out much for the better when I ended up at my current job.
Since the incident at the other interview, I have been conscious at times about speaking more quietly and portraying myself as less assertive and dominant (poor qualities in women I suppose). I don’t think my current boss cares whether I am assertive, but I certainly don’t want to disrupt the other girls on the phone. Today we were talking about voices and I mentioned that someone had told me on the phone that I sounded like a New Yorker. I LOVED that, although I certainly don’t have the accent, but then I said to my colleagues, I guess it’s because I am loud. The other girls agreed, “yeah, you are loud.” They didn’t say it in a mean way, but I then questioned if I was louder than the fourth girl, who was not part of the conversation at that point, who also has a very clear, louder phone voice, and they said I sometimes was. Wow, this is all so shocking. Maybe I have a hearing problem. Or, I just need to be a little more conscious of my volume.
So what I really want to know is, do my friends and family think of me as loud? Or is this something that has developed since my “career” life began? Please, don’t feel bad about telling the truth. I’m very curious.