Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Is It Just Business? - Part II

I'm very sick today, so excuse any rambling thoughts...


Based on my recent experience of hearing several Black workers complaining of so-called "favoritism" and a "plantation" environment at work, when I am aware of the reality that they have many shortcomings performing their duties, my last post talked about some criticism being about business and not being racist or part of some sort of personal attack.

I understand that the lines of business vs. personal vs. racist can sometimes be blurred based on the worker and supervisor's relationship, the supervisor's relationship with other staff, and other factors. However, that doesn't mean that it is never necessary that a White manager approach a Black subordinate to discuss performance based issues that really may be legitimate and not part of some diabolical race-based scheme.

I'll repeat this again...

When Black workers cry racism, when there is a legitimate performance problem on their part, it hurts all Black workers. Blacks, in general, are stereotyped as having a so-called victim psychology and as being hypersensitive and crybabies. So, intentionally false claims of racism to divert attention from the fact that a worker isn't performing their duties goes a long way in hurting our overall struggle for equitable treatment. Knowingly false claims feed into the stereotypes that Blacks are unaccountable for our actions and will use excuses to deflect the fact that we can't take criticism of any kind--another stereotype in the workplace.

So, is it business or is it racist?

Each situation is different. But, the fact remains that if:

--you are coming in late on a regular basis;

--are leaving work early on a regular basis;

--are taking long lunch breaks on a regular basis;

--are not turning in your assignments completed;

--are turning in your assignments with numerous errors (typos, grammatical errors, factual errors, statistical errors, etc.) on a regular basis;

--are actually rude and obnoxious to other staff;

--don't want to be given any suggestions because you think you know it all and are offended that someone is trying to help you out--and then you perform the work incorrectly;

--don't keep team members or your supervisor informed of any problems with your assignments or delays in turning in your work;

--cause other people to have to bail you out by correcting your work, completely redoing your assignments, or yanking people from other projects to help you meet deadlines; and/or

--don't perform all of your duties simply because you don't want to, feel they are beneath you or feel that it doesn't impact anything if you do the tasks or not...

there would certainly seem to be legitimate reason for a manager of ANY COLOR to call you out on these behaviors.

By the way, I've taken all those examples from my real life experience with trifling Black coworkers.

Not everything is about race. Some of it is about business. We are all hired to do a job. We all have expectations and goals for our positions. Other staff rely on us to do our part and to do it correctly. Everyone was hired for a reason.

So, none of us can pick and choose what we will and won't do. We have a job and we should do it. If we've accepted the offer letter, we've made a committment. That's just reality.

Now, it doesn't mean that a racist boss won't be happy that you've given them ammunition to use against you. They're going to have a ball going after you!

It just means that if you haven't been performing your duties to a satisfactory standard, then you may very well deserve to have that same manager call you in for a meeting. Racist or not, some issues have to be addressed. And, management would not be crazy for siding with a manager versus an employee who REALLY isn't doing their job up to basic standards!

So, the best way to approach things is to do the best job you can, to review your work before submitting it, to not abuse breaks, lunch, etc. Essentially, not giving anyone ammunition to use against you. In a nutshell, don't set yourself up to be documented and/or reprimanded.

If you do, you only have yourself--and not necessarily racism--to blame!

I've known quite a few Black workers in my time that got what they had coming to them and I even know some that got away with murder, when they weren't doing half of what they were supposed to be doing in the workplace. Neither of those groups of workers would have had any legitimate right to complain of workplace racism. They were simply a bunch of half-a&% workers!

Those are the folks that make it harder for the rest of us, who are doing the right thing!

Just something to think about.


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