Friday, March 3, 2017

Making Friends At Cocktail Parties - Taking the "Work" out of "Networking"

Networking events are often awful experiences because people are there "working," not having fun and making new friends. You should be at these events to make friends, because in the long run we help out our friends, not strangers with business cards. Here are a few tips to make new friends at events:

Adversity creates the best bonding moments.

Overcoming even the most minor obstacles can create a "bonding moment" between you and a stranger:

1.  Running to catch the elevator
2.  Searching for the coatcheck
3.  Being the first few to arrive or last few to leave
4.  Arriving late and waiting out in the hall for the opportune moment to enter a room
5.  Waiting your turn to speak to a panelist after a discussion

These anxiety producing moments are great moments to make friends. A well placed joke or even a simple introduction and handshake can alleviate anxiety for you and your new friend. Especially when this moment happens early in the evening, you'll have someone in the room you "know" to follow up with later.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Getting "Paid" during an Unpaid Internship

Unpaid internships can be a great way to gain experience in a field that is hard to otherwise break into and to learn valuable skills for full-time, paid employment.  However, just because they don't pay you, doesn't mean they can play you.  There are both federal and, in many cases, local guidelines as to the responsibility of your employer in implementing an unpaid internship program.  In addition to legal requirements, there are some reasonable and practical criteria you should have for your unpaid internship.  You are not simply a source of free labor to be used for undesirable work.

What should you be getting paid:

Training
Unpaid interns are not free replacements for full-time, paid employees.  As an intern, you should be receiving substantive training.  An unpaid internship is really supposed to be an educational experience for the intern.

Supervision
You should be supervised in your work.  There should be someone available for questions and problem solving if any issues should arise.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

When keeping it real goes wrong: Lessons from Insecure's Rasheeda the Intern

Issa Rae and HBO have a new show featuring a set of accomplished Black Corporates.  They could certainly be added to our Watch Me Work post.

Molly Carter (Yvonne Orji) is a 3rd year associate at a corporate law firm and doing well for herself. She is also one of the few Black attorneys we see at her job.


Enter Rasheeda the Intern (Gail Bean), a new Black law intern who comes through the door keeping it a little too real and feeling herself a little too much.  Clearly she did not read our post Soft Skills for Summer Interns.  She's loud, boisterous and goes by "Da-Da".  She also repeatedly refers to Molly as "gurl," despite not knowing her well enough for such a causal manner of address.  When Molly tries to delicately broach the subject of Da-Da switching up a little in the office, Rasheeda gets an attitude and tells Molly that her behavior has gotten her where she is so far, so she doesn't need to change for anyone.  Rasheeda references not having to "switch it up" for her interview or when she became editor of the law review.  

Friday, December 2, 2016

Young, Black and Corporate: The Sell Out Myth

Working in Corporate America does not make you a "Sell Out"....You have to earn that title.

Corporate culture has been shaped and modified over hundreds of years into the form it takes today. Very few people of any race or gender can participate in corporate culture without having to adopt some of the customs, language and dress. The notion of the Black, "sell out" assimilationist makes no sense. Everyone who wants to participate in corporate culture "assimilates" in the true definition of the word (not the loaded, judgmental definition). Trading your jeans and T-shirt for a suit and tie is no different than a doctor wearing a white coat or a firefighter wearing a uniform. It doesn't mean you've sold yourself because you prefer jeans, but that you realize the suit is more appropriate for the work.