Sexism and/or racism have been apart of my story in every single job that I’ve had in some way. From corporations to non-profits, schools to churches, and of course in business. Its not always blatant and I am not always quiet about it but leadership and/or executives would likely excuse the behavior in the name of just doing business, the greater good of the company, or worse, in the name of Jesus (depending on the industry). I haven’t talked about all of this much and I will go into detail at a later time. This is controversial but inequality exists. I experience it and I have a responsibility to use my experiences (both good and bad) to help other women. You don’t have to be the stereotypical version of your characteristics (woman, black, plus size -yep! that too) to be victimized by inequality. You can be strong or submissive, thin or big, have lighter skin or darker skin, degreed or non-degreed, and experience a myriad of issues related to inequality in the workplace and business. I am making a point to talk about this now (A) Because it is wrong & hurts (B) Because I hope to be a light of encouragement and empowerment beyond the cloud of inequality. It is ridiculous and reality that unfortunately is not changing today but I want to offer some ideas that continue to help me along the way. While inequality hurts, self-worth heals.
Women working with inequality in the workplace and/or in business…
-Know your worth
-Demand respect (they don’t have to like you but they do have to respect you)
-Live consistently in your truth (this will come in handy when lies are prevalent)
-Don’t take additional projects just to be impressive or for recognition or “hoping” to get a raise
-Take projects to do your job and to do it well even if you are not recognized (they may never say thank you)
-Only hope to get a raise when documentation is involved
-Do the job you are being paid to do
-Help when you can
-Be clear on the difference between working (paid) and volunteering (unpaid)
-Don’t volunteer more than you work at the expense of your living, finances, family, sanity, or free time
-“I wish I could pay you what you’re worth” is an excuse not to pay you what you’re worth
-Know the expectations
-Leadership or management may never care or congratulate you. Be okay with that.
-List your accomplishments and share with those you love. Those who care.
-Decide on what you will do and what you will not do. Stick to that.
-Don’t let anyone make decisions for you
-Be grateful for the truth of “No”
-You are better than a fallacy of “Yes”
-Don’t take less just because it is being offered
-Don’t expect more just because you need it
-Don’t change to make others comfortable
-Get what you need, until you get what you need
-Do your job until you are ready for the next
-Learn even in unfair environments
-Know when it is time to leave
-You are always your own boss (you make your choices in life)
-Don’t let a title or position define you (this can crush you)
-Be true to who you are before and beyond titles
-All conversations are “on the record”
-Documentation with signatures are final (a conversation does not seal the deal)
-Communicate clearly (in conversation and in writing…email counts)
-Be quiet when necessary
-Create the work environment that you need to be successful
-Control your own joy
-You are enough
I am still learning, still growing, accomplishing, and making mistakes. I have been afforded opportunities to work and grow in various industries. I have been truly blessed and I have gained wisdom. I hope these thoughts help some woman, college student, intern, or even little girl to be aware of inequalities but also to learn how to reach her goals beyond the differences.
Love yourself. Know your worth. You are enough.