Podcast. Take Two.

So……I started another podcast. The last one I started Not Sufficient for Work was very short lived. And when I say short lived, I mean one episode. A week after I started the podcast, I started teaching at a high school and I definitely couldn’t afford for my employer or my students to get a hold of it. 

The current podcast Corporate America: I’ve Had Enough of You is based on my second book of the same title. Just like the last time, I began with very little experience creating a podcast. Lately I’ve been on a podcast binge and kept hearing the same messages about the Anchor app which was user friendly for a person like me to use with little to no equipment. Writing books and blogs was much easier but I saw this as a new opportunity to challenge myself creatively. 

It’s been three years since the book was published. My story resonated with and inspired so many people to prioritize their mental health, which for some, meant quitting their jobs. 

Now here I am three years later with those same “fuck this job” feelings about my current job. It seems to be a recurring theme in my work life which is slowly but surely leading me to believe that the reason I’ll continue to have these issues in the workplace isn’t because people really suck at leadership. It’s not because communication from the top down is ass. It damn sure isn’t because diversity initiatives are including more black faces in their company photos but not actually in leadership roles (because we know that that will never change.)

Deep down I know that I’m supposed to be working for myself. Doing what exactly? I still haven’t narrowed it down. Whatever it is, I’m sure it is a combination of writing, education and mental health. But until then, I’ve been focusing on getting the bills paid the old school way.

I don’t know if it’s because of the pandemic or divine timing but lately I’ve been feeling like my book was ahead of its time and that the time is NOW to revamp my efforts in its promotion. 

For the first time in my life (after recording the first episode) I actually loved my recorded voice. I also couldn’t use my favorite excuse that I wasn’t tech savvy. I recorded the episode from a voice memo in my bathroom. I cut out all the bullshit excuses and did that shit.

The Corporate America: I’ve Had Enough of You podcast is a space for me to share the experiences that shaped my book, my current work life and a safe place for other black women to share their similar experiences.

Check out both episodes here. Review, rate and share. Thanks!

Corporate America: I’ve Had Enough of You Podcast

Subject: Corporate While Black: Things to Keep in Mind

I’ve worked in Corporate America for the past four plus years, and let me tell ya, it ain’t for the faint at heart, for ANYONE. For me as a black woman, I have had my fair share of not so pleasurable experiences in comparison to that of my black male counterparts. How can I be confident in saying this? Because I ask them. If there is a black person in sight from the parking lot to my desk, the minimum is a hell. I’m exceptionally happy to see other black faces joining me in elevators, at work socials and in passing with the signature “another one of us….we made it” head nod.

So what’s the issue?

Staying true to myself while ensuring that I don’t get fired. Following chains of command. Not replying to emails in all caps saying how I really feel. You know. Stuff like that.

And on to

Point Number 1: It’s going to hurt for certain people to talk to you *cough cough (the blatant and closet racists)

Working in an industry dominated by middle and upper aged white men, who the hell do I think I am correcting them? A woman? A black woman at that? I mean it’s still the 1950’s right? Listen, people die. Their ideas don’t. Racism continues to thrive in corporate spaces. It’s passed down and continued through generations of leadership. Don’t believe me? If your company has a website or announcement board highlighting organizational changes, look to see how many people look like you in comparison to those that don’t. See anything strange? Oh yeah, and let’s not forget about the diversity initiatives that have magically started springing up all over the place. Are they truly diverse or does it simply sound appeasing?

Point Number 2: When you’re right, it’s a big deal

All those “I’s” better be dotted along with all of those “t’s” being crossed baby. The “I’ve been with this company for 300 years” retorts are coming fully loaded. Carefully reminding your counterparts of policies and procedures has and always will be a sore spot for them.

Point Number 3: When you’re wrong, it’s a big deal

So you forgot to dot those “I’s” and cross those “t’s” didn’t you?

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Dammit Gina! I told you to make sure that you were one point! I TOLD YOU!!!

Point Number 3: There is plenty of power but apparently not enough to go around

Yep. You heard it right. There is a (not so secret) rival for dominance that “we” aren’t apart of. Once again, it’s the “I’ve been with the company for 300 years” folks versus the “my daddy runs xyz departments.” It’s quite the spectator sport. It can get ugly, so steer clear.

If you get the privilege of (or by accident) getting cc’d on the email exchanges, grab a cup of tea and/or popcorn. Below is a minor breakdown of what a few phrases really mean.

To Whom it May Concern = First of all

Per attached emails/see string of emails below = I got proof

Any additional questions or concerns, feel free to contact me = DON’T. I said what I said and that’s the end of the discussion

Best regards = fuck you very much

These emails are better than paternity episodes on Maury!

Point Number 4: You will intimidate some folks just based on the color of your skin. Everything is magnetized. Abuse of power is likely.

Tone. Somehow, some way your tone can be taken out of context 80% of the time. Apparently black women are naturally angry and aggressive? Whisper. You sound like you have upset. Blink. You have an attitude. Need I say more? Heaven forbid you breathe out loud during a meeting!

The same applies to body language.

And speaking of bodies……….what you wear MATTERS.

Always has. Always will. Black women come in all beautiful shapes, curves and sizes with all kinds of hips and dips. I’m super mindful about what I wear into the office because of this. I’m teetering on being shaped like Megan Good. Professional body con dresses are always problematic. Along with pencil skirts. High waisted slacks. Burlap sacks. Y’all get my point. Play it safe by being familiar with and always following the employee handbook guidelines as best as possible. That way, when you’re “reprimanded” you can just refer them to Section 10 paragraph 5.

See a real live example of how what we wear matters.

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/nbcblk/african-american-reporter-takes-stand-after-body-shaming-n817621

Crazy right?

Despite the negatives, there are some positives in this conversation.

For starters.

It’s possible to make good connections

I’ve met and had conversations with some pretty dope people from the top down. Despite being a cutthroat environment, there are folks that want you (us millennials) to excel, bring change and challenge the status quo. These folks are on a case by case basis. Nobody’s titles matter in elevators, at coffee pots, in the work gym or cafeteria lines. I’ve been presented a multitude of opportunities just from being myself and having casual conversations. To help you even further weed out the good apples from the bad ones, if you really want to know how people are, have conversations with the receptionists, janitorial staff and IT personnel. They know.

Figure out your “why” and don’t let it die

Unless your goal is to own the company you work for someday, you must keep your “why” in mind. Let’s take mine for example. I work in Corporate America because the things that I want to do with my life requires a salary that (so far) Corporate America can provide. There are huge things that I have in store for Pretty Dope Right and they ain’t cheap!

I grind because I’m the only person fully supporting my platform. My goal is to cut out the middle man whenever possible. I taught myself how to create and maintain this website but moving forward, I’ll be converting it from a blog to a business site. I’ll have startup costs for the business aspect. I can hear the dollar signs in my head. My why is what drives me to get up every day and work 40 hours on someone else’s dream.

I seriously hope you can’t relate.

My Heart Will Go On

Unbeknownst to the masses, I was recently offered a new position with another brand within my company. It would have been exactly four years in my current position in April. Before you ask why I hadn’t left before now, I’ve tried. Not only have I been working to advance, but I successfully completed an MBA as well. Still no offers. That’s just the way the cookie crumbles sometimes. Finishing a graduate program and still receiving rejection letters is frustrating. I thank my friends that listened to me vent and break down. Emotional support goes such a long way especially when you feel like you’re doing everything you’re supposed to do.

So I decided to write a letter to the team.

Dramatic?

Yes.

Necessary?

Wouldn’t be me if I didn’t.

You all have no idea how much our work actually impacts YOUR daily life. Transportation logistics is such a critical industry.

*climbs down off soap box

Here’s the letter

Howdy team,

As all of you know by now, I’ve gotten my walking papers………walking over to the Mack building. I begin my new work as a Regional Pricing Analyst on Monday. This opportunity is bittersweet. These (almost) four years have been nothing short of nurturing (and molding) to my personal development and growth not only as an individual but also as an employee and as a colleague.

Jeff.

Man we are so far removed from the original crew. So far. I remember my early days on the team being clueless as to how to maneuver AS400 and the rest of the systems. You, Kristin and Nicole were super helpful in turning me into a pro. And if ever there was a “pull a part out of your ass” award, you sir, would get it. You always find a way to make parts appear out of nowhere. I hope to be twice as much of a team lead as you are and have been. You give an entire new definition to “going the extra mile.” I’m going to miss cracking jokes everyday and telling everyone that you’re bringing game day dip when you aren’t. We have seen days when the queue was in the sixties and when it was in the six hundreds. Nonetheless, we all did what we had to do to get the numbers down. Even now, I admire how you take dealer complaints with so much ease. Then you somehow manage to keep the rest of us from going from zero to one thousand. I’ll miss you by far thee most.

The rest of the team.

I’ll miss you guys too, just not as much as Jeff. We have had phenomenal days and chaotic ones to match. We continued to cuss and keep pushing. And that’s why the Volvo team was better than Mack…..just kidding. We have all contributed our best in representing both brands. I have high hopes that the teams will become closer and become more efficient but it will require everyone to be just a bit more self-less than what we have been accustomed to. But it’s possible. I believe it can and will happen.

We have shared many memories (and meals from the conference rooms) together and I will forever be grateful. However, it’s time to set sails and move forward in my career development.

Near, far, wherever you are, thank you for being your best YOU in my journey.

-Rocky

Diversity

That one email that burns me to my soul

While we have carefully reviewed your resume, we have decided to pursue other candidates, whose qualifications are more closely aligned with the requirements of the role

But what about me

How can I learn the skills if I’m never given the opportunity

THEY said “go get an advanced degree

So I did yet and still you constantly overlook me

My hair isn’t burned to the roots or blonde and straightened to my shoulders

Perhaps that’s why you don’t consider me over and over

Maybe my skin isn’t light enough

And no matter what car I drive, the degrees I hold, the languages I speak or how proper I talk

I’ll still never be white enough

Does my work ethic upset you

My productivity speaks for itself

Cause I work like I’ve got something to prove

And everything to lose

Is it my fault that my confidence makes my superiors feel inferior

You see

For me

 Since day one

I’ve been taught to work twice as hard, be twice as smart, be twice as good to even try to occupy spaces for people that look like me

 Where there are none

So when you pride yourself on “diversity”

Are you even talking about me?