Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Lunch Your Way to the Top

"I jump at opportunities to be around clients, outsiders, and higher-ups, no matter my level of interest in the proposed subject matter."

From time to time, I attend lunch meetings in the office (often these are mandatory), but sometimes I go voluntarily.

·       Free  Convenient food
·      Face-time with higher-ups
·      Learn about new projects or upcoming events

·      Takes time away from the work I should be doing
·      Can be boring
·      Working through lunch instead of actually taking a break

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

My Hips Won't Hide

Not all Black women are curvy, thick, round (whatever we’re calling it)…but some are. I am somewhere between a pear and an hourglass (see above). At school this was fine: sweat pants, maxi dresses, stretchy jeans and flowy tops… I could wear what I wanted, no matter how ill-fitting or misguided the choice.

Now, I work in Corporate America. My office is business casual, but even that can be complicated.  My big, Black body is just not corporate.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Tips for Applying to Jobs Electronically

Now more than ever, job applications are submitted electronically either via e-mail or directly on the company’s website. While this method may seem easier or less formal, it comes with a new set of considerations. Here are a few tips for applying to jobs electronically.

1.     Follow the instructions. Read all of the requirements and criteria and delivery what the company is asking for.

2.     Label any files you are uploading in a clear and detailed manner.
First Name_Last Name_Type of Document (Year or Date)
Example:  Jane_Doe_Resume (2015)

3.     For e-mail submissions, your e-mail is not a cover letter, but it is a first impression. Write a short statement of (1) your name, (2) the purpose of the email, (3) a list of attachments, and (4) include your contact information beneath the signature. Make sure your subject line is direct and don’t forget the attachments. Note, some companies will tell you what the subject line should say.

4.     Keep your font style, font size, color and s p a c i n g standard for both the e-mail and the documents. Black font in Times New Roman size 12 or 11 is commonly used.

5.     Ask for help. If you run into technical difficulties, it’s alright to call or e-mail and ask for help or an alternative form of submission, but don’t try to turn a tech phone call into an interview. State your purpose and your problem and offer solutions e.g. “Is there an e-mail address I could use instead?” “Could I mail my application? And to whom should I address the attention?”

Photo Credit: Google Images

Sunday, January 11, 2015

The Office Holiday Party: Dancing while Black

This past December, we had our office holiday party. It was great! Seeing people from different backgrounds, departments and pay grades come together to break bread and drink was an experience in itself. I had an assignment to finish, so I showed up late. The festivities were in full swing, and I was completely uptight and uncomfortable. The calculus of workplace social interactions began churning away in my head. Not only was I the newest and youngest associate, I was also one of few Black associates. Yes, my race comes to work with me. 

Like most corporate institutions, the people who look like me dominated the support staff and secretarial roles and the people in leadership roles don’t look like me at all. There I was, in my associateness and my blackness, trying to decide whether I would dance at the holiday party. I love dancing at parties. Normally, this wouldn’t have been an issue, but I faced an internal conflict on how I should comport myself.

It started off as a two-step. Harmless. Unassuming. Nothing to write home about. Then I was singing songs at the top of my lungs and full motions took over my body. It was awkward. My inhibitions were at the bottom of my second tumbler. I was on display. I felt my blackness being judged by my dancing prowess and mastery of 90’s RnB lyrics. Would my Black co-workers think I was “white-washed”? Would my White co-workers think I was “so Black”? Those were the irrational fears that an otherwise fun and festive gathering generated. This is a story about the real-time thoughts and feelings of a young, Black associate at a predominately white firm. 

Photo Credit:  http://www.glassdoor.com/blog/dos-donts-office-holiday-party/