True Life: Navigating the professional space, while being BLACK in America.
Updated: Feb 18, 2021
Typically, when publishing a blog`I have had the time to mature my perspective.
Like most of you all, I am at a space where my mental capacity has exceeded its limits throughout these past few months. Specifically -- due to a pandemic, racial & political injustices and my personal "checklist"...life has been a rollercoaster. Rollercoaster (n) - a thing that contains or goes through wild and unpredictable changes.
We are dealing with all of these issues simultaneously...in REAL TIME. My apologies in advance, if you were looking for the answers. I definitely don't have them. Thanks to a great friend of mine, I've learned over the years to become solution-oriented. These underlying circumstances are bigger than my post will ever reach. I am here to offer suggestions and transparency on how I cope with the realities of navigating in a professional realm as a black woman in corporate America....
To set the stage -- my professional space is male dominated, white male dominated. Going into work (or logging in online for those that are fortunate) and having to literally shutdown the realities of the world to produce for an employer that just doesn't get it. I am expected to show up and deliver 100% for my employer, when I may not have 70% for myself. That's life...right? Shutting down parts of MYSELF. Work isn't a healthy distraction, it is an avoidance of what is really going. *cues Marvin Gaye*.
I despise the feeling of shutting down parts of myself, just to the get through meetings, hallways conversations, and/or pointless emails.
Questions that I needed to re-evaluate
What is my stance on today's climate?
Does my work environment offer a safe space for my feelings?
Has my employer voiced their stance on today's reality of continuous social injustice?
Do I have a co-worker, manager, or mentor that I am comfortable speaking with?
Is my viewpoint heard?
Are there any affinity groups within my workplace that I can join?
If not, WHY?
I can't answer these questions for you. However, I know where I clearly stand. I experienced the ball being dropped in my version of corporate America. #Period. I decided to use my performance evaluation meeting to bluntly discuss my feelings of the lackluster efforts of change displayed by those in charge. In order to shift the discussion, so it wouldn't completely fall on deaf ears, I offered solutions to counter my complaints, or facts depending on the reader. Simply put -- I signed up to be a bigger agent of CHANGE.
"Silence is only a choice for those that do not want to partake in truthful, yet hard conversations. There is a gap in diversity, I experience it daily. There is a gap in pay. There is a gap in opportunities. For once, I want it to be acknowledged in a honest matter."
Let's be honest, it didn't take a social uprising for anyone to believe that unjust and unfair treatment just started for black people in corporate America. These issues were here before I entered this space and will be here after I depart. However, I'm not a "glass is half empty" thinker. As small as "my part" maybe, I have to hold myself accountable, in addition to the powers that be that I deliver my talents and skills to on a daily basis. In my opinion, this is a call to do more. To push as many black STEM students' resumes into hiring managers' hands as I can. To increase my mentee load. To coordinate with HR to promote diversity programs, that foster real results. Not a campaign ad.
As I stated earlier, these are my thoughts in real time and my solutions as an agent of change. We all are players in this game called LIFE..no solution is too big nor too small.
What does life at work look like for you right now?
What is your call to action?
I would love to chat about it, drop it in the comments below!
If you made it this far...thank you for reading.