Tanisha A. Sykes, Senior Editor of Personal Finance & Careers solves your career dilemmas.
Every Tuesday, ESSENCE magazine’s Senior Editor of Personal Finance & Careers answers burning questions from readers...
Q: "Help! I have a crazy-A$# boss! I want a promotion and I'm thinking about leaving. Should I stay or go?"
A: Always stay ahead of the craziness. Working with a crazy a$# can be a pain and a drain on our talents and gifts. Don't yield to the insanity! Get ahead of it by giving her what she wants: updates, reports, news and information way before she asks for it. And cc: your team members. When you put someone on BLAST via email, it has a way of lessening the retaliation impact.
Do a daily drive-by just to reiterate what you're working on, how projects are going and what you've completed. Bosses, even the crazy ones, appreciate that. And make her feel like it was her idea. Constantly (but genuinely) say, "That was a great idea! I hadn't thought of it" or "You had mentioned that you wanted to see more of x,y,z. Have you ever considered implementing that plan? I could help you with that." Bosses in particular can be extremely PARANOID. Bottom line: They want to know that you've got their back and that you can be trusted. I guarantee you: Between following up CONSTANTLY and CHECKING IN and GETTING ADVICE, the crazy boss (who hopefully is taking a pill or two each morning)will retreat back to her corner office. And by documenting everything, it can help you build a case for that next promotion. Good luck!
Q: "Help! Can I rock my natural hair in a corporate environment?”
A: Girl, you can be natural and get and keep your corporate job. I was and am natural now. Granted, I work in the land of ESSENCE, where everyone thinks My Black Is Beautiful. I'm sure if I were in another land, people would judge and perhaps even comment: "Is your hair real?" "What's wrong with it?" "Can I touch it?" (Aww hell no, you can't touch my hair!)
I'm being a little tongue-in-cheek, but here's the real deal for Brown Girls wanting to wear their naturals at work. You can do it, and here's how: Wear a style or styles that make you feel good about yourself, whether it's a 'fro, double-stranded twists, cornrows or locs. Always keep it neat, clean and stylish, especially in the corporate world. There's nothing worse than making your hair and not your talents the topic of someone else's conversation. As Black women, we have to come to the point where we ACCEPT ALL OF OURSELVES all of the time, because if you can't bring your authentic self — natural coils and all — to work, then you will never bring 100 percent of your efforts into the fold.
Now, this is going make some Black women crazy, because they're going to say, "It's all about the game." I can agree with that, and in some environments kinky/coily/curly/nappy hair won't go over well. But then you have to ask yourself: Is this where I really need to be?
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