Working on my Office of Human Rights complaint against a former employer, so I am posting a reprint from 08/06 today (with a bit added to the end):Whites Often Excel in the Workplace Because They Demand Kudos for Everything They Do!
It can be argued that Whites excel in the workplace, not only because of race-related bias, but because White workers often demand an audience/applause for everything they do in the workplace. It often does not matter whether or not a White person is simply doing a function of their job and has not undertaken any extreme measures to complete an assignment or task. The fact of the matter is that White workers are their own champions. When they do something, they will go tell it from the mountains!
If White workers:
--Stay in the office late to get something done;
--Arrive at work early to get something done;
--Work over the weekend;
--Work at home to get a head start on a project or to get something done;
--Do a little Internet research on a topic;
--Make simple/silly suggestions (such as printing handouts on colored paper);
They will make sure that everyone in their department knows about it. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard White coworkers, at formal or informal meetings, announce that they worked over the weekend (there is a big emphasis on this if the weather was nice), added a news aggregator to their computer desktop to have client-related articles brought to their attention, or subscribed to a particular magazine that relates to a client’s area of specialization.
And, what’s more interesting is that these White workers often receive applause and attention for doing their damn jobs. Maybe I’m just not easily impressed. But, none of the things listed above automatically qualifies someone for an employee of the year nod. Sometimes you have to work late or go to the office early. Doing this a couple of times is often not worth mention. However, an extreme commitment in this area (overtime) would be worth noting. But, there is a caveat...if you are coming in early or working late because you procrastinate/can't manage your time, you shouldn't look for applause. But, I've seen White workers allow assignments to sit on the edge of their desks for weeks, and they still got applause when they worked late to make up for the time they intentionally squandered.
Black workers often listen to White workers bragging about themselves and think,” Big freaking deal!”
And, that’s often the problem with Black workers. We are often not as desperate for attention as we need to be. This is likely because most of us know that no one on the job truly cares what we do. Or, they simply want to marginalize or role and contributions in the workplace.
Many White supervisors/managers, workers, etc. don’t give a damn if they see a Black worker stay late, show up early, exceed the requirements of what was asked, save a baby from a fire, etc. Black workers often are still perceived as just another Negro in the workplace. Otherworldly contributions, by African American employees, are an unspoken bonus for the company that will not be redeemable during performance evaluation time or when salary increases are being discussed.
On the flip side, Whites who demand attention will be rewarded with a department or company-wide email detailing their “heroics,” a bonus, a great job review, and/or a special salary increase.
I remember working at the corporate headquarters of a bank, when there was a terrible blizzard. There wasn't any train service except underground and there was over a foot of snow. The roads weren't even plowed the next day because it was such a nightmare. Well, a White female coworker, who lived near the job, hitchhiked with someone in order to get to work. She was one of 3 employees who was able to make it in that day. I was no where near an underground subway stop and had no way to get out of my neighborhood. I didn't have a car, there was no bus service, etc. I was able to get to work the following day and immediately was criticized for not hitchhiking work like the White woman. The manager also tried to protray many people as having found a way to get to work, which wasn't true.
My response? I came right out and said, "She's just stupid." My manager was shocked. I said, "I value my life too much to get in a stranger's car. This job isn't worth my life. She's an idiot for getting in someone's car. If you're impressed by that, that's you." I also let the manager know that I knew the company was a graveyard the day before. I said that I knew that every office was empty or nearly empty. Business was shut down that day. And, that ended the conversation.
But, the White woman and the White manager talked about her hitchhiking for weeks. Guess what? She got a $5,000 bonus at the end of the year for showing such a great commitment to the job that she was willing to hitchhike. Guess what?
I could have hitched a ride in 10 cars to get to work that day...
and I WOULD NOT HAVE SEEN A DIME!
Regardless, Whites know how to sell themselves and brag about themselves at work in order to get what they want and to get rewarded. When Blacks have gone to great lengths at work and have shown great performance, we need to make sure we express that and get credit for it.
We must document our contributions, such as creating streamlined procedures, winning over a difficult customer/client, etc. We have to be ready for performance evaluations (mid-year and end-year reviews). Regardless of the reward WE may get, we need to make sure we don't help others to shortchange us.
Get your props, people! Toot your own horn!