Let’s face it ladies, entrepreneurship is not for everyone. While it’s admirable to own your own business and be the boss calling the shots, there’s also something equally magical about climbing the corporate ladder and reaching your milestones gracefully. While recent statistics show that black women are the “leading group of individuals starting businesses since 1997” it is the tools they’ve learned in the Corporate America field, that have guided their success. Corporate America has always had a negative connotation; “working for the man” or the infamous “glass ceiling” reference. It can be rather difficult to navigate and prosper, but with the tools below, you’ll be leaving #blackgirlmagic dust in your footsteps and your integrity in tact.
Don’t take their lack of belief in your skills personal.
My first job as a college graduate, was an auditor for one of the top department stores in south region of the US. I was solely responsible for auditing all of their financial records, from the CEOs business expenses down to the cashier’s ticket reprints. In a matter of 3 months, I was able to pinpoint exactly where the loss of revenue generated from and provided simple but complex solutions to get the company out of losing money; and start earning. I was met with so much disdain and had my work quadruple checked by it seemed almost everyone in the executive office. One of the leaders even insinuated I “fabricated” the numbers. It was as if it hurt them for this young black girl to not only be right but that they hadn’t figured this out prior to me. I was hurt! I was educated specifically in accounting and I prided myself on my knowledge and love for numbers. I had to learn early on in my career, that the melanin in my skin would forever make my white counterparts uncomfortable but not to take it personal . I saw so much of my experience in the latest movie “Hidden Figures” character played by Taraji P Henson.
Be Confident in your Talent & Abilities
It is very normal to have bouts of self-doubt when it comes to your contributions to your company. Even though I knew what I had found to be correct, I still doubted my tenure as an early employee versus those who had been there longer than I had been alive. It is important to remain positive and confident even if in your mind you’re freaking out. Though we’ve been conditioned that we have to be twice as good to get even half of what they have, getting it (whatever your it is) is not impossible. Owning your talent and displaying your confidence to your colleagues not only shows that you know what you’re doing, but that you believe in what you’re doing. You got this!
Be open to ALL ethnicities in work relationships.
It’s natural for us black women and/or men to spot the next black person at the company social or picnic and feel immediately at ease and gravitate towards them. However, working in Corporate America will expose you to so many different people of different ethnicities, it’s always great to have positive interactions with everyone if you can help it. In my personal opinion, avoid controversial topics at work as it can cause deliberate and unnecessary division. Politics and religion are sore spots for everyone so its best if those are left out of the office break room. Some of my best working relationships which have followed me to other companies, were with people of a different race than I was. We often had the same interests and a lot in common as it was proven with our abilities to grow the companies we were in and expand our knowledge and future positions.
In the spirit of Women’s Month, I believe black women can do and be anything we set our minds to. Whether it’s the boss of your own company or a corporate guru with a knack for success to expand your portfolio. Whichever is your style, keep in mind the above-mentioned gems as your #keys!