If you've been reading my blog over the past year, then I'm sure you know I struggle in the career department. I have a ton of advice to give, and the formal business knowledge of nearly $200k worth of student loans, yet no one will hire me. It's been a couple of years since I've held a job that genuinely reflects my potential. I've earned mediocre salaries and coins for raises. And if you're wondering about my background - I've never been to jail or fired as an adult. I have good credit, excellent performance reviews, and an associate, bachelor, master degree.
Usually, the demise of my employment comes at the hands of a typical middle-aged white woman who somehow loves me enough to do her work but never appreciate me enough to help advance my career. I know it isn't MAWW responsibility to get my career where it needs to be. However, I can't help but wonder why she never wants me to go further.
Where it all started
I remember my first job working at a women's shelter in my hometown. I put in three years of work, but I couldn't advance. A middle-aged white woman was hired over me. I liked her a lot; I thought she was cool, so I was okay with it. One thing that I didn't know back then was her mother had influence and helped her get the job.
Next, I worked at a nonprofit completing outreach to minority minorities teaching about sex, self-esteem, and drugs. I increased the program stats from 68% to 93%. I did my best work and received praise. I put in for a new role, and it was declined because I was pregnant. At the center of this firestorm was a middle-aged white woman who wanted me terminated. I was let go. However, I filed a discrimination suit and settled out of court.
Fast forward, I started working as a volunteer coordinator for another nonprofit. I did great in the position and received an award from headquarters for my ability to do whatever it takes to help the program succeed. I started a program from the ground up and helped the director figure out ways to make it better. I applied for a higher position. Again, I didn't get it because two middle-aged white women said I didn't have a bachelor's degree, even though one of the ladies in the same position didn't have any degrees. So, I went back to school and eventually left due to office politics and the realization that the system there wasn't set up for me to succeed.
Later I moved to Houston to start a pilot project for a nonprofit. As usual I did my best and within 6 months brought in 3 million dollars. The program shut down and the department was at a standstill due to legalities of a non compete clause. I applied for other positions that included the title of a director thinking it was possible because 1) now I have an MBA, 2) I brought in 3 million dollars, and 3) I've put in great work. Everyone in my department received another job and promotion, and I was left jobless. Again, the recurring theme of a middle-aged white woman not wanting me to succeed ran through my mind. After all, I had two middle-aged white women as supervisors, and I was the only POC in my department.
To keep adding to this theme, a couple of months later I was promised a job by a middle-aged white woman who then called to tell me that another candidate was a better fit for the position because of her education and clout in the community. I met the young white lady who was hired at a meeting. She was unaware of the community needs and asked me to help.
Throughout this process, I have been in several interviews and repeatedly told that I am not the right fit for the company. I even ask for feedback, and it all sounds the same, "You interview well, very articulate; however we don't think the pay is enough." Also, "You're very nice, but we don't think you're the right fit."
I guess the lesson to be learned for me out of all of this (as a minority) is don't put too much trust into middle-aged white women. Not all are bad, some are great allies, yet many of them voted for Trump and Roger Moore (I had to say it). I think as a minority woman you probably have a better chance of advancing and making what you deserve by starting your own business. And if you disagree, I strongly encourage you to look at the chart below. Women of color earn significantly less and hold fewer management positions. It is a battlefield out there might as well play by your own rules and be your boss.
It feels good to be back writing. I feel like I've missed out on explaining so much. First of all, (LOL thinking about the new montage for 'first of all' memes) I've been absent due to figuring everything ALL out.
I can't believe I've been blogging for a year! Time has definitely gotten away from me and so has landing the perfect job or trying to cope with being consistent with my entrepreneurial skills. If only I could take a pill and make my mind focus on sticking with whatever I start. I will admit I am sporadic and I can easily get off topic and ramble, like I am doing now. Anyhow...
So last month I decided to stay away from Facebook for 30 days. I did it with amazing victory but in the process I kind of lost contact with my BFF (best friends of Facebook). I also lost my contract job I landed that I previously discussed in this blog. Turned out the guy who hired me pretty much had me wanting to go to Twitter and #metoo but that is another story.
Needless to say, I feel like I am back where I started a year ago however I'm a bit more optimistic and realistic (Hey! That rhymed - see how fast I get off topic). So as for now, I'm helping my mother part time, interviewing full time while in between time trying to complete my doctoral study (my last class is 12/24/17), be a productive mother, a sultry wife, and get a provider service in rotation - whew...just breathe. To be honest, I think I like my life a wee bit hectic, just as long as I'm not running around like a chicken with my head cut off (come to think of it - I am pretty close to looking like a headless chicken).
I have a lot to discuss that I missed during my hiatus and hopefully I will get to it. My new project with my mother is doing well and I will discuss that more. Who would have thought that we would be working together when she retired. And now it is with great pleasure that I share our project with you - Aline Posh Boutique. We're 48 hours in and already making money! I actually think that this may be the calling I needed. I got to make sure I thank mom and I hope you will go see over very posh and inexpensive items by clicking here.
Over and over again on social media, I see the cries of small business owners about the lack of support from the community. They want everyone to support what they have going on and don't understand why their good friends are not buying their hype.
Black businesses are important to the economy and the culture BUT just because you are black and own ...
Black businesses are important to the economy and the culture BUT just because you are black and own a business doesn't mean that everyone who knows you has to buy from you. That is the problem that many black business owners don't understand, and because of this, they turn salty and bitter. They begin to despise their friends for not spending money or supporting their dream. I can completely understand that feeling.
Too many times we fail to see our customers perspective on their purchasing behavior. Maybe we even forget that our services aren't the greatest, our follow-up is sub par, and our commitment is lacking. I don't want to be completely naive and think business in the black community is expressly about pigmentation. It's more than that - it's about quality products, services, persistence, and commitment. I mean think about, are you buying goods or services from people who business strategies are below your expectations? Most likely not, so focus on making your business the best, and the customers will come.
I will be the first to admit that I have started and stopped many businesses over the years. My usual excuse for shutting doors was due to the lack of support. I whined and moaned about the difficulty in getting people to notice what I was doing. When the truth is, I didn't tough it out enough for people to buy into my temporary dream. I'm sure I am not the only small business owner this has happened too. We play the blame game when things don't go our way. We get to the point where we want things to happen overnight, and when it doesn't, we give up and move to the next thing.
Inconsistency does not build a good following. People are leery and start to view your entrepreneurial spirit as a get rich quick scam or even worse a pyramid scheme. This is why it must stop! Start something and stick with it. Through the good and the bad. You didn't go from being a newborn to an adult in six months so what makes you think you can do the same with a business. In the words of Earl Nightingale, "it takes longer to build a skyscraper than a chicken coop." So ask yourself which one you want to construct. Are you in it for the quick hustle or the legacy? It's up to you.
Today I finally got hired! Yes, I am excited, thrilled, inspired and happy. As you can tell from my enthusiasm, I haven't worked for some time. Well, I have worked for myself, but that's a different story. Today I landed a contract position with an organization that shares a mission that is close to my heart, enhancing the lives of individuals with disabilities.
The struggle to find work has been real since my last contract position. I had to swallow my pride to get this job, and I am thankful to my husband for showing me the way. After getting several calls from potential employers yet failing to advance past the interview, my husband suggested that I contact an interviewer who I thought was friendly and would give me advice on what I was doing wrong. I didn't want to call the interviewer because of pride issues (and the fact that I was disappointed that he didn't hire me) but I went for it.
I made the call and took a deep breath. I played the conversation out in my head trying to figure out what I was going to say with each ring.
Waiting for him to answer the phone seemed like forever.
Please don't pick up, please don't pick up.
Oh, good, he didn't answer!
I left a message on his voicemail speaking through a smile and desperation.
"This is Lisa, I interviewed for a position with your organization a couple of months ago and didn't get the job. I was wondering if you can help me because I am having trouble making it beyond the interview process. My number is....thanks!"
Whew...I did it and I am still alive with my pride partially intact.
Previous career in the nonprofit sector working with individuals with intellectual disabilities.
Two days later he called me back and scheduled a time for us to discuss my resume/hiring situation.
During our meeting, he gave me insight on things that stood out on my resume, areas that need adjusting, and things that I should leave off. He ended the meeting with asking me if I was interested in working a contract position that is 20 hours a week.
My eyes lit up as I said a powerful yes! He smiled and retrieved paperwork for me to sign and told me I should start working by next week.
Who knew that swallowing my pride would allow me to get a part-time job in a field I love?! I can work from home, continue to work on my blog, write, finish my degree and have time with my family. This is the most humbling experience that I have had in a long time, and it showed me that it pays off to ask for help and it's okay to swallow your pride.