If You Have A 'Work Voice,' Symone D. Sanders Has Some Advice For You

Sydney Scott Dec, 11, 2017

If you haven’t heard of Symone D. Sanders, then get familiar.

The Democratic strategist served as the national press secretary for Bernie Sanders during his run for president and is a political commentator on CNN. She has a massive following online, where she regularly takes to Twitter to dish out gems and provide incisive political commentary. 

Sanders is all kinds of #BlackExcellence and she’s made it where she is today with hard work and by being herself, which is why she’s not so big on code-switching. 

Sanders spoke to ESSENCE, where she revealed that she doesn’t believe in the technique to assimilate around different groups. “I call it having a work voice, and I don’t have a work voice anymore,” Sanders said. “My work voice used to be found on my voicemail, on a conference call in the office, or when I work somewhere new. I don’t even talk like that.”

The political strategist encourages everyone to be themselves and revealed that during a discussion with student leaders at a prominent university, she tackled the issue of code-switching and kept it all the way real. 

“I was talking to some student leaders and one of the questions that they asked was, basically, how can I effectively code switch at my internship?” Sanders told ESSENCE. “And I’m like, ‘You all are sitting at one of the most premier universities in the country, and a Black university at that, and you have the audacity to sit in here and ask me, how can you code switch? I don’t have an answer for you.’ What you’re basically asking me is how can I be more palatable for my coworkers that don’t look like me.”

“What I tell the people is there ain’t nothin’ special about Becky,” she added. “No offense to any Beckys out there, but ain’t nothin’ special about Becky, Tom or Joe. Becky, Tom, and Joe just show up everyday being themselves and so you, Sharita, Kiki, or Symone, should be empowered.”