Young Black Women and the Power Complex

Your alarm clock goes off at 6 am, as you roll over and smash the snooze button. You look at the ceiling as you whisper, “Fuck that job”. You get up anyway and get ready for a good day’s work. When you arrive to work, it’s generally a good morning especially since you’ve had a good cup of brew.

In walks Donna, your supervisor, who happens to be a black woman! NO good morning, no how’s everybody doing, and definitely no noticing that other people exist. That’s when you know what kind of day it’s going to be.

You’re sitting at your desk, doing actual work, and you get called into the supervisor’s office. For what? No clear answer!

Personally, I have noticed a few differences about working with black women who have positions of higher authority in the workplace. Black women ages 25-40 are moving upwards in their companies ranking. The positions of supervisor, director, manager or coordinator are an automatic ego boost and they use these positions to garner control over their employee’s. You can voice a concern but it is overlooked because you are less than 30 and apparently oblivious to all things sensible. If you are very outspoken or personable, then you become a target. You are singled out all the time and micromanagement ensues and literally brings you to your boiling point.

Younger black women seem to think that everything at work is a competition. From the clothes they wear to their hairstyles, it is no longer about work but rather, do I look better than her? If you are secure in yourself and your supervisor is not, it becomes a personal issue. You don’t understand why you are being bullied or harassed by your supervisor but you keep hearing rumors. “Donna is mad that the new girl came in and all the attention is on her now. Donna told Tiffany that the new girl was sleeping with Chris”. You learn that your supervisor has been trying to get with Chris for a year and you come in and grab his attention in 3 months. Apparently, holding conversation with a male co-worker means that you are screwing him. Are you supposed to be less personable to please your supervisor? I THINK NOT!

It is no longer an issue of work but becomes a personal issue. Young black women hate to admit it but they have a jealousy complex with their counterpart. You are automatically profiled and put into a box. It becomes an issue of jealousy from the start. If you have a beaming personality but your manager has self-esteem issues, you will suffer. Seemingly, you can’t be the new girl at work that everyone gets along with. That’s a blow to your manager’s self-esteem and her level of jealousy rises.

Do you know Miss Petty who lives on Shade Lane? Every other Friday, there is a mandatory staff meeting. This meeting addresses rules at work, better managing your workload, and rumors. The supervisor is addressing rumors but never uses a specific name. You feel as if she is talking about you. What happens when the outspoken new girl raises her hand to address the rumor with her supervisor? The meeting is suddenly adjourned and the pettiness begins. You have been subjected to supervisions, written up for being disrespectful and have been issued a new set of work rules, all within a week. Your other co-workers have no clue about supervisions and that’s when you figure out

that it’s just you. You have to check in twice a day, you have been told to move your desk, and you are no longer allowed to converse with male employees. Where in the handbook are these specific rules because I did not see them?

These kinds of issues carry over into your personal life because it lingers throughout your daily thoughts. It becomes a challenge trying to separate work from your personal life. Every day, you find yourself coming home to a nice big glass of wine. You consult with your friends and learn that you are in fact the target.

No person wants to deal with this every work day. It’s stressful, overwhelming and becomes the deciding factor in only wanting to work with a specific race of women. It is not just the one experience but becomes another to add to the list.

This is not to say that all young black women behave this way in the workplace but rather to focus on the issue of those that do. What is the real issue?

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