You know you love it how we;re smart enough to make these millions, strong enough to bear our children –then get back to business. Beyonce – “Girls”
I’ve been thinking a lot about me lately. A certain Miss Brittany ( you know I love Brittany’s, no matter how you spell it) asked me a while ago to give you advice on how to get a job, I’ve been troubled about it since I read the FB message it came in. All I can think is that there’s a gorgeous girl, with a ready mind, a wide smile, eager eyes and reckless determinations sitting in my inbox and I don’t want to steer her wrong. I don’t want to disappoint her. I wish I had secrets to tell you. I wish it were that easy… but then again, I don’t. You see, the world of employment is a beast. Either you have a job or you don’t. When you don’t, all you can focus on is your need for a job. Any job (if you’re thinking clearly). One place many people make the mistake is in thinking you’re more qualified than you are. There are people who have been doing what you want to do, what makes you so special? That’s what you have to prove to your employers. Chances are though, they might not see it. Especially if the one who happens to apply is Black. I’m just saying. There are jobs, but people have prejudices that are sometimes beyond their own control as they are engrained in the corporate culture. You’re task is to make it passed the bullshit bureaucracy that guards the front line to your future.
I can’t guide you here. I can’t tell you how to find a job except to look for one you want and apply. If you believe in a god, I suggest you pray to him/her/it. If you don’t, cross your fingers, tie your laces. It’s a big world out there. You need to implement some problem solving and creativity. You’ll need to watch more PBS. Curious George was on this morning and realized what I was supposed to (since I’m an adult watching kids shows and all). I saw two short segments in which little George implements these two skills. He’s got to make a pinata for a surprise B-Day party but the paper-mache will take far too long to dry. He ends up taping together two raisins containers to make a pretty bad-ass (and healthy) alternative. In the second part of the show, George and his friends want to take gymnastics class but the class is only once a week. In order to excel and practice, they create their own gym in the yard out of ordinary items and show great improvement when they return to class the next week.
The only advice I can give is… don’t give up. Once you give up, you’re out of the race. The pack has already sped by you. Now I know this may sound like bullshit, but there’s a reason we used to watch cartoons. They tell us what to do. You need to take initiative. If you want o succeed, you need to chart out exactly what it is you aim to accomplish and find the best way to get there. If you want that job, you need to find an open position, find someone who can hire you and find the reasons why you are the best, most qualified candidate. If you haven’t yet figured out what you want to do, try out whatever opportunity presents itself to you. You might like it. You might be able to turn it into something you do like. And in the worst case scenario, you’ll have gained some experience.
For those of us who are already on the job, the questions are a bit different. The questions vary: How long do I do this? What do I want to do? How do I get there? I don’t have an answer for these either. I met a guy in the post office once who used to do my job. “How do I know when to move on?” I asked him (I take part in some very serious conversations with strangers) to which he told me that at the point when I feel like I’ve mastered my position and everything that comes with it, it’s time for a new position. It’s time for a challenge. You don’t want to get stuck somewhere -at least I don’t. And I want to move fast. I’m uncomfortable with comfort. And my ends aren’t satisfying my needs. I need more. More responsibility. More purpose. More importance. More money.
I just ordered business cards but I’ve decided to omit my title. Not because I don’t like my title, or that I won’t like the next one, I just don’t plan on keeping a title for too long. The only “title” that satisfies me is my name. This is something I’m debating bringing to my employer’s attention. I’ve practiced my stance for so long it’s morphed into a soliloquy outlining my dreams and aspirations and I’m not sure anyone wants to hear that… but I’m not sure I give a fuck. I once had a conversation with my boss about how this “new generation” thinks they can take over the world. He insinuated that assert ourselves too much. We think we are owed something. We think that we can come into any and every company and completely take over. The thing is, you can’t let Rome know you’re invading before you begin your march. You’ve got infiltrate and take the muthafucka over. Perhaps that’s what I’ll do. I’ll give them warning. I’ll let them know I’m ready for battle. But one way or another, this shit is mine. It’s a takeover.
The breaks over.
The key to this shit is knowing whom you should know. Speaking to whom you should speak. This is the part of the journey where you stop giving a fuck about everyone else. Where everyone else works. How much everyone else makes. Where your friends live. Where your mom is. What’ comfortable. If you really want to make moves, you’ve got to make them in your own best interest. You’ve got to put you first. You need that job. So you have to put in the effort. Introduce yourself to people. Lose your shame. Let them know you’re on the market, but make them feel like they need you on their team. Exchange cards and emails. Follow up. Send thanks you notes. Kiss ass when it’s worth it. You’ve go to humble yourself.m You’ve got to realize that you need that job, but they don’t need to hire you —unless you can make them feel like they should. Approach every interview with confidence. Assure them that you’d be able to get the job done even if you have no idea what the fuck is going on. Prove yourself worthy. Present yourself as valuable. Luckily, I met the right person and left him with the right impression. I sit here now, writing to you as I fill in for him. It was a stroke of luck. An opportunity had presented itself–I sure as hell wasn’t letting it slip by me. I followed up. I kept in contact. I worked my ass off. And I’m here. Still working my ass off
&, of course, I have to insert a “Dear Black People” segment: Sometimes, you’ve got to let everything go if you want to do the best for you. Which means, you’ll have to do it alone. If you don’t want to, if you feel like you can’t, thats perfectly fine, but you’ll be perfectly mediocre at the end of the day and, I garuntee, not living up to your full potential. Sometimes, you’ve got to leave what you know to find better 00if you knew better, you’d already have everything wouldn’t you? You need to avoid basing your decisions on how much free time you’ll have (or won’t have) or where your friends will be. Because there’s plenty of free time after you retire and your friends should always be there, no matter where they are.
And you don’t always have to take the hood with you. Sometimes, I feel like people are helped back by everything and everyone they have to carry with them. I used to dream about buying a mansion that all my friends and family can live in (rent-free, nonetheless) until I realized that they’re people, too. They can pull their weight, too. There’s no reason why I should carry the burden of supporting my whole family, never mind an entire community. And unless I can, one day, give Oprah a run for her money, I don’t plan on sponsoring an entire race. I have enough time supporting myself. I considered getting a dog and have to double check to see if dog food and a dog-walker could fit my budget. I once dreamed of bringing “my niggas to the building. Give a feeling that I don’t give a fuck. [We’d be] chilling watching chandelier ceilings high as fuck,” and I still do. But I’ve realized that I may have to get a small chandelier before I can hang the big one.
So… good luck. I’m sure there is much ahead. Just remember that every day has 24 hours for you to take advantage of –if you want to. Take advantage of every moment with no regard. If you want to, you can run the world.