Monday, April 12, 2010

The Single Story

Sitting in the office at my new job I feel as if I have regressed about 18 years and am 4 again on my first day at school. Everyone around me is filled with purpose and is busily chatting into telephones, clacking away at their email and saving the world in their own little way, one confusing acronym at a time. I on the other hand fidget with the hem of my cardigan, grin madly at anyone kind enough to cast a casual glance in my direction and try to look like a capable grown up.

I don't speak the language, I am yet to comprehend the subtle nuances of this particular mode of smart casual office attire and I can't even get into the building on my own. The blur of new faces, targets, outcomes, branding strategy, corporate values, jargon and all that jazz is a bit overwhelming and after lots of reassurance that 'it takes about 9 months to fully understand everything here' I'm not feeling very reassured. Finally after jetting all round the country (Nottingham) for training it was while sitting in a room full of strangers that this video that really spoke to me through the madness and reminded me why this work is so important to me.

This is a talk given by Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie about the danger of a single story and how our perceptions of people are shaped. She's an inspirational lady and I'm about to order her book 'Half of a Yellow Sun'. I'll let you know how I get on with it.

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