Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Keeping It Real!

I was speaking to a young, Black male worker the other day. He said something interesting about feeling pressure from other young Black workers to not "sell out" to management and to not be an a%&-kisser! He was essentially told that he had to "keep it real" by not doing what he was told, when he was told to do it and he said that he was told not to be "too helpful" to customers and other coworkers.

I wanted to write a brief post about this because the advice he was given was...


Here are my favorite cliches and thoughts on Black workers who give advice like this...and I've met my share:

1) As my friend's dad said, DIRTY WATER SEEKS ITS OWN LEVEL!" If people are chronically in trouble because of their poor performance, they want other people to behave in the same fashion to create a new normal and to justify their own behavior;

2) MISERY LOVES COMPANY! If people are being written up by management and are being threatened with employment actions (suspension, termination, etc.), then they sometimes want company. They may want other people to be unhappy at work and they don't want to be the only one being cast out. For as much as they may talk about not caring enough about the job to be concerned about being fired, most of these people are lying! They are unhappy and under pressure and they may want others to feel the same;

3) Some people have a negative attitude about life, work, etc. Don't take on other people's "isms." You are your own person. You'll have your own experiences. If you're enjoying a job, don't let someone else convince you that you are working in a negative environment; and

4) Some Black folks are crabs in a barrel. They don't want to see someone else get ahead, especially someone they perceive as a peer. So, they want to drag that person down by tearing apart their positive attitude, destroying their work ethic and professionalism, etc. They will speak badly about a Black person that likes to work hard and is proud of the job they are doing by equating that person with a brown-nose, sell-out, butt-kisser, etc.

Don't allow someone or a group of someones to keep you in low-level and low-paying jobs. If you have ambition or if you're just someone with a naturally strong work ethic, maintain that focus. Be strong enough to not care what other folks are saying about you--WHEN IT COMES TO POSITIVE ACTIVITIES AT WORK.

Some people are natural born dream killers. Don't let them kill your dreams and ambitions. If you hope to advance, you must keep up a positive work ethic and strong job performance.

Let the haters hate on you. Who knows? You might be their manager one day!


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