and I wish someone would have told me!
This thing called “life” is rough, y’all. I knew maturing and growing up was going to be challenging but there are 4 things I had to figure out on my own and wish someone would have prepped me for them. These things are not related in any way but are things I’m working through, currently.
Negotiating Salary: Every time I get ready to accept a job offer, I never challenge the person on the phone on the salary. I know my skills, I know I am confident in my abilities to do the job but I am afraid to negotiate salary. In graduate school and even in my professional journey, no one taught me how to go in and ask for more money. I have a fear of doing this, anyway. It seems taboo that if a Black woman is to ask for more money, she is seen as already being aggressive but some men never think about that. Men are more comfortable asking for more and it seems to come natural to them. Even with my current position, I tried to negotiate my salary and the first answer I received was “no” because people in similar positions than me already received a raise. I accepted it and moved on. I don’t live in regret but that is something I wish I would have pressed more. Now, I’m working a part-time job on top of my full-time. (I like, though).
Plan for the Future: When I decide to job search again, I plan on negotiating and finding a happy medium with the employer. I now have about three Black women mentors who have been in my field for decades and will reach out to them for advice on how to negotiate my salary.
Seeing a Counselor Doesn’t Mean You’re Weak: Let’s be honest here. Most Black people were raised in Christian households that believed praying about your mental health was always going to fix everything. Now, don’t get me wrong, I firmly believe in the power of prayer and God’s ability to change situations. I am a walking testimony of His grace. However, growing up with this mentality, I was always was scared of seeing a psychologist. I struggle with depression and self-esteem issues and tried to pray away my pain. I found myself drowning in hurt and anger and things were not getting easier. I never lost my faith in God in the process but I knew I needed something else. I went to a counselor for the first time in the middle of 2017 at the university I worked for. In your benefits package, employee assistance programs are offered for free if you desire to speak to a licensed psychologist. Once you run out of your free sessions, they will refer you to someone in the community that your health insurance will cover (a portion).
Anyway, I went to a free session but before I went I requested a Black counselor. Being that I worked at a predominantly white university, of course, there was only one Black counselor for professional staff at the university. I went to my first appointment and he told me I had mild depression (which I already knew), my self-esteem was low (duh!), and that I’m angry (thanks for repeating back to what I already told you sir). Needless to say, that was my first and last session with him.
Plan for the future: This is a plan for the future but it is also something that I learned from it. I plan to research my next counselor to see what they specialize in and if that would be beneficial for the relief I seek. From that experience, I learned that my counselor does not always need to look like me. I thought finding another Black person would help ease me into the counseling “thing”. This could be the case down the line but I am okay with knowing that someone who doesn’t look like me could be the right fit for me.
Being Faithful and a Great Woman Won’t Make Him Stay, Sis: What do you mean, “being faithful and a great woman won’t make him stay” captain obvious? I lived in my own world growing up. I believe(d) in love…maybe a little too much. But I do/did. I believe love is pure and that if you had pure love for a man, he was going to have the same pure love for you. To me, that meant that all I needed to do for my man is build myself up and continue to be the bomb/thriving Black woman that I am (insert weave flip here), be there for him, support his dreams and goals, learn to cook, love him, be his best friend, listen, etc. I mean, the list goes on forever, especially after you figure out him as a person. Doing all of this while keeping my own crown in tact. If a man wants to be with you, he’s going to put in the work and effort to be with you. It’s not your job to try to make him stay. You already put in the work in your part of the relationship. You can’t expect to do his work for him. I used to blame myself when my exes would cheat on me. Questioning myself and doubting myself as a partner. I realized it was their choice to step out of the relationship and I didn’t have anything to do with it.
Plan for the future: Wait on the Lord. ❤
You can still be a professional and enjoy trap music/hip hop/rap: Give me ALL the Migos, 21 Savage, Cardi B, Lil Wayne music you can find, please! There are a number of other artist who I enjoy listening to in this genre as well. Throw all of them in a big playlist for me and watch me turn up. I have to go to work everyday and remain professional and cognizant of my surroundings and it can be exhausting. I listen to my favorite artist while I’m working on projects in my office and it helps keep me balanced. People are sometimes surprised that I listen to that kind of music because I’m very focused when it comes to the work that I do and my education and they don’t picture me as “the type of person” who would listen to the music genre. But my question back to them would be, “What TYPE of person listens to hip hop, then?” It’s not fair for you to put me in a box.
Plan for the future: Continue to make bomb workout playlists and keep your Pandora station on Migos radio while at work. 🙂
❤ Queen T