So I guess I am LOUD!

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.

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9 Responses to So I guess I am LOUD!

  1. Jack says:

    Well, Laura – brace yourself – you have been loud for quite some time, at least since early teens. You may be louder now, ( I know I really noticed it about 2 or 3 weeks ago when you were over at our house) but you have always had a tendency to be very loud. Jill remembers (I don’t) that when we would ask you to turn down the volume, you would get hurt feelings. I do remember asking you to reduce the volume a lot, around the house, but if it hurt your feelings, I didn’t notice or have forgotten that.

    In the post above you seem to equate loudness with assertiveness. DON’T. The most effective assertive people are those who speak quietly with authority. If you are sure of yourself, you don’t need to blast it out. Calm, quiet self assuredness is much more effective than voice volume.

  2. laurafern says:

    Wow, I have no recollection of anybody ever telling me that at any time when I was a child, teenager, etc. I mean, other than maybe friends yelling in the house, but that’s totally different. Interesting…

    I’m not equating loudness with assertiveness, I’m only suggesting that as a restaurant manager you are constantly in very loud situations, and you have to speak loudly to be heard, it’s not applicable in all situations, certainly.

  3. Christina says:

    I remember that conversation with Joe! I was there!! At first, I didn’t agree with Joe when he said you were pretty loud, but we never really talked about things that weren’t related to work. Now, I’d have to agree with him… I mean, it’s not bad at all. This may sound weird, but I like your loudness. It’s not obnoxious and that is a feat – to be able to be heard but in a not-so annoying kind of way. Your laugh, on the other hand… Haha. Don’t be too conscious about that, you have a hearty laugh that’s very contagious. Keep it that way!

  4. Laura says:

    Hmm.. thanks Christina, that makes me feel a little better, although I guess when not in the restaurant, speak quieter or risk the behind-the-scenes consternation of conservative parents! I like my laugh too, I know it’s loud sometimes, but laughing is a wonderful thing, and not being able to laugh out loud is a little sad…

  5. Laura says:

    Okay, I asked my long-time close friend about this in person the other day, she said I am loud when I am excited. She and I, along with old friends Adrianne and Stephanie, were probably some of the cause of loudness in our house during high school. Still, I implored her to be honest and she said that my volume never seemed offensive, intrusive or bothersome. She commented that there is a difference between being an expressive arguer (guilty as charged) and speaking inappropriately about personal matters in public. Some of you are being too quiet out there.. mom, Mary, Adrianne, I know you are reading this.. you have to comment, good or bad or in between. =)

  6. Adrianne says:

    Well, I haven’t spent a lot of time with you in person in the last few years…but I’m not surprised. I don’t look at it as an offensive thing, like not being hired because you might disrupt an office environment, but maybe more as an expression of personality. I don’t know that you really were more quiet and reserved back in the day. Maybe you just equate the way you were living in high school with those qualities. You’ve always been quite opinionated (maybe that has led to the expressive arguing)…but there’s a difference between “volume loud” and “personality loud”. I think you’re personality loud. It’s just part of who you are. You get excited about things and passionate about things. Maybe sometimes you’re just a fun person or need to assert yourself in a leadership role. I think that’s what Joe was getting at and what you interpreted. You’re outgoing. Don’t pay any attention to people who tell you that you’re volume is too high.

    As far as your dad’s house goes…teenage girls are teenage girls. There’s not much you can do except hold on and hope you make it through those years without needing intensive therapy in the future.

  7. laurafern says:

    this is all so enlightening….

  8. mary says:

    sure, i think you’re loud. but i don’t find it offensive. it just seems to be a part of your personality. it’s not like it’s done to dominate the room. i think you just speak loudly when you have something to say. that’s what makes you seem authoritative, i feel. it’s part of your not-beating-around-the-bush persona. i appreciate it.

    i do remember times where you’d get excited in a room and seem oblivious to tuning your voice down if the room happened to tune down too. you get caught up in things. i like that about you. i like your voice. 🙂

  9. […] moreso among my closest friends. Regular readers may also remember that I have been described as loud. I love exchanging opinions, reading the thoughts of others, banter and sparring. And I admit, […]

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