No Apologies

There’s a time and place for apologies.This is not one of them.

When I sat down to send my first draft off to the Women Of HR tonight, ADD set in. Yes, it happens. This time I found myself re-reading a few e-mails from earlier in the day and one struck a buried nerve. It was a forwarded message that I should have been able to read, laugh at, shrug off, and actually be proud of due to the little hidden gem in it that whispered, “You did it kiddo.”

Obviously that didn’t happen. So in the spirit of sharing and discussing issues that have impacted our careers, I decided to put the other post aside, speak from the here and now, and draft this one instead.

First off, I am a firm believer in apologies and, equally, forgiveness – especially when timely and genuine. As individuals we learn from our mistakes. Fortunately, more often than not, regrets are forgivable. They may never be forgotten but most issues can be resolved when we work together to make things right again. If there’s no hope in working together, then it’s up to us as individuals to decide when and how we’ll let things go.

Understanding and practicing the art of conflict resolution allows us to move on psychologically.  It’s essential to our emotional well-being and something that affects us long-term if not consistently practiced. Without upkeep on our emotional intelligence, we become prone to internalizing issues and allowing their rotted remains to be buried in the psyche only to be triggered and resurface one day. Today was that day for me. After focusing so much of my time and energy paving a whole new path in my life one e-mail, one insignificant e-mail, brought back a slew of unresolved conflict.

You see I’m the type of person that will shoulder the acknowledgement, regret, and responsibility for the errors of those who fail to claim them – all in the name of conflict resolution. Being a peacekeeper is simply part of who I am. Some might label that as being a people pleaser. Either way, in past leadership positions, there were certainly times when I felt that this came with the territory, was my responsibility, and was 100% justifiable. There were also times (here’s the nerve) when I felt forced against my values and down right craven when I knew better.

For all those times, as strange as this is for me, this is the place that I finally speak my peace, forgive, forget, and move on.  And there are some things I will never apologize for again.

I Will Never Apologize. . .

For working hard to become a successful businesswoman.
For finding my voice again and using it.
For betting it all on the Pass Line.
I will not apologize for having passion for what I do.
For actually liking what I do.
Or for choosing to do it my way.
I will not apologize for believing I make a difference.
For putting people and family before profits.
For defending my values, sense of self, and self worth.
I will not apologize for learning the hard way.
For trusting people until they give me a reason not to.
Or for choosing to give people a second chance.
I will not apologize for doing what I feel is right.
For showing confidence on days I really have it.
Or to the paranoid who think I’m a threat.
I will not apologize for being anti-social when I’m with my family.
For being social when the time is mine to choose how it’s spent.
Or for taking time to make time.
Finally, I will not apologize for making this first post about me.
Because I know it speaks on behalf of many of you too.

Photo credit

About the Author

Charee Klimek

Charee Klimek is a passionate consultant and founder of Vocii. Her mission is to help companies’ brand from the inside out by focusing on culture, employee experience and behaviors. An ambitious change agent, she’s partnered with HR leaders at Fortune 500’s for 17 years impacting all facets of the employer brand & employee life cycle. She blogs at Vocii and TalentCulture, and tweets regularly as @chareeklimek.


Mike Grindell

Charee – have not met you – have talked to you and shared info with you – yet see you as a kindred spirit – your passion, truth, soul serves you well – your “realness” makes you what you are – keep at it, life is a life long learning journey, and love your post and your journey
rock on

Jacky Moore

Hi Charee,

I love your poem , I will never apologize. My husband was in the ARMY for 21 years , earlier in our marriage went he was back home ; I did told my friends no phone call or visit because my time was entirely for our daughter and him. Family always come first, excellent advised. I posted your poem in my facebook, photos.

God bless you, and your family. thank you.

Jacqueline Moore 🙂

Charee Klimek

Excellent one to add Lois! Thanks very much for appreciating the value that we all have and should be taking pride in. I’ve learned a great deal from you recently and very much look forward to continuing to get to know you better!

Lois Melbourne

This is great Charee! I need to add one for myself and possibly others. I will not apologize for needing a prop when an insecurity sets upon me.

I hope many people learn valuable life lessons by taking pause and looking at these traits and taking pride when they see them in themselves.


Charee Klimek

Thanks so much Trish you are such an inspiration and role model to me so to hear this from you is quite the compliment.

As you can tell from the other comments, it was tough to write & send. Today, knowing how much it really does/did speak on behalf of many others, I’m so glad I hit send. We need to stand tall, be strong (and true) and definitely stop apologizing for things we’ve earned the right to be proud of. Especially when it comes to following our hearts, doing what’s right and not allowing anyone to take this from us.

All my best sister,

Trisha McFarlane

My friend, you and I are spiritual sisters. You so eloquently capture some of the things I think and that I am tired of apologizing for. I will carry this with me and share it with other women as a way to remind me, and them, that we are human. We deserve to follow OUR hearts and if other people don’t agree, that’s ok. Be true!

Charee Klimek

Debbie, I’m so happy that this post inspired you! Glad you enjoyed reading it. It’s been a learning experience for sure.

Andrea, thanks for pulling out the trust factor. Some have told me that I shouldn’t be so trusting of others so quickly and my philosophy has always been to always, no matter what, give people the benefit of doubt and simply tread carefully. If it’s a mistake, I learned the hard way. It comes down to judging a book by its cover and first impressions are critical but we’re human! We are not always going to be in tip top shape for every first encounter. Giving people a second chance has fostered more relationships personally and professionally than not. So there you have it – no apologies on that one 🙂

Ann, I really appreciate the kind words and acknowledgement of the fact that so many of us feel this way. Please know you’ve given me more inspiration by voicing your comment.



Andrea Ballard

I love this!
“For trusting people until they give me a reason not to. Or for choosing to give people a second chance”
Definitely not what we are normally advised to do but it resonates with me deeply. Thank you!

Ann Farrell


Thank you so much for giving beautiful voice to what so many of us feel!


Charee Klimek

I am so thankful for all of your comments and being an inspiration to me with your support. It wasn’t easy bearing my soul and you’re helping me see it’s okay. Honestly wishing we I could hug you all right now!

Kimberly, it’s so great to have gotten to know you and I still think of the first time we spoke. It was as if we’d known each other for years. I really appreciate you and am so glad you enjoyed this. 🙂

Tammy, as tweeted, told you it would be a whopper! And you are so right, its our responsibility to defend the principles we hold dear – not allowing anyone or anything to take them from us. Thanks so much for adding value to this and sharing in the defense. So looking forward to our next chat! 🙂

Margo, I’m so happy to know this inspired you on a spiritual level. You’re a wonderful person and do so much for so many. You should be proud of what you’ve accomplished. Thank you for the kind words! 🙂

Shennee, it was great meeting you too! This definitely taught me a real-life lesson on being human and authentic too. Thanks for your inspiration as well! 🙂

Michael, I meant it when I said it, your tweet and this comment really made my day. It’s been a long and sometimes very bumpy road. It’s a wonderful feeling to be myself again 🙂 I heart you!

Oh Robin, thank you! I hope you understand how very much I appreciate those words. I guess you could say it was kind of like I was #LOST for a little while only this story doesn’t end in a church. No way, no how. 😉

Love you all.

Michael Krupa

Wow. What a great post. I echo the words from all the other comments: remarkable, inspire, wonderful, beautiful, poem, authentic and original. You are an incredible role model.


BRAVO Charee-
It was such a timely post. We must be authentic and original.
You have inspired me! It was great meeting you in Chicago!

Margo Rose

I love this post so much, I’m printing it out and taping that poem to the side of my desk top computer, so that I can look at it when I need a spiritual uplift. Charee, you are a class act.

Tammy Colson

Beautiful post, my friend.
We have to stand up for ourselves and what we believe is right.
Because no one else can defend our principles. Nor should they.
As they are our responsibility.
No apologies needed for that.

Kimberly Roden

Wonderful post Charee! I really enjoyed reading this and agree with you on so many of your points. We should say these words to ourselves more often!

Charee Klimek

Thanks for the kind words and support Jennifer.

I had a difficult time deciding whether to hit submit and needed to recognize that it was part of the process. Feels a little like being naked on a stage right now but I’m actually very proud of myself for finally getting it off my chest and out of my head. One of the reasons I love what is happening with Women Of HR so much.

You are an inspiration to me too and an incredible friend. I am so grateful and lucky to have you in my life!


Jennifer Payne

Thanks for sharing Charee! You are a remarkable woman and continue to inspire me 🙂


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