Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Ask for a Promotion

As we head toward the end of the year, I know people start thinking about the new year and their future, including making decisions about their careers. For some people, there is a fear of change. Some people dread interviews. Some people feel they are on a dead-end path. Some people don't know what to do to move forward or to change career paths.

Then, there are those who want to stay where they are, but feel that they want upward mobility. They want a promotion!

Promotions are often a difficult subject for many Black workers because we just don't know if we should ask for a promotion, if we have a right to ask, if we will be taken seriously or if doors will be slammed in our faces. Some of us even fear retaliation for having the nerve to suggest that we should move up within the company.

Here's the thing...

There’s nothing wrong with sitting down with a supervisor or manager and telling them that you want to be promoted. You should make your argument for why you have already demonstrated the capability to work at the next level and present that case.

Any good manager should be focused on ensuring that his or her staff are being challenged and are moving in a path that gives them no other choice except to develop new skills, overcome weaknesses, improve on areas of strength, and to advance.

You don't have to wait for your supervisor to tell you that you’ve reached a point where you can take on more work and/or be promoted.

You should perform your job to the best of your ability, try to exceed expectations and requirements, and make your case that you are ready to continue to the next phase of your career path.


If you have not had the opportunity to perform higher levels of work and feel you legitimately need to build up your skills before advancing in the company, tell your supervisor or manager that you’d like to know:

-- What skills are needed to be promoted?

-- Is any training or are any special skills needed in order to be considered for a promotion?

-- How do I currently stack up for a promotion?
-- What are my strengths?
-- What are my weaknesses?
-- How do I improve my weaknesses?

-- Can I get more advanced assignments to show that I can work at a higher level?

-- Can I be placed in charge of small, mid-level or advanced projects (depending on your level)?

-- Can I have or have more client contact?

-- What suggestions do you have for me as I work towards a promotion?

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Search for Seasonal Work

If you're looking for seasonal employment, you've probably already starting searching the Internet for employers who are looking to hire for the upcoming holiday season.

My job is being inundated with potential new hires for the holidays. But, as a result of the recession and layoffs that have happened, my employer has learned that we actually improved productivity with fewer workers. We've been running a skeleton crew for months and profits have gone up because the most efficient workers, in most cases, know what to do and do it without having to be micromanaged. We have been working it out and making lots of money. In fact, my job site had the best period ever (a 4 week period) in the history of our store and we did it with what is technically an insufficient number of staff.

Last year, we hired 125 employees for seasonal work and we kept a good chunk of workers after the new year started. This year...the plan is to bring in 24 people for 8 weeks only. There is no chance to become a permanent employee. Why should my employer retain lots of staff, when we've learned that we can be more productive with the right folks on board?

There's a lot of competition out there for seasonal work. People of all ages are competing for the work that's coming up. People of all experience levels are competing for the same jobs. Here are some tips for seasonal work:

--Spell check your resume and look for typos;

--Always include a cover letter tailored to that job;

--Be outgoing, but not over-the-top, during your interview. This is especially true if you are looking to work in retail. Employers want to know they are hiring someone personable to interact with their guests;

--If you're looking for part-time work, check out sites like Snag-a-Job, which list only part-time jobs;

--Check out retail jobs, there are bound to be opportunities at your local stores and malls;

--Don't forget to look at jobs with mail carriers, such as UPS;

--Ask friends if their jobs are hiring and submit your resume through that individual. It's always better to be referred for a job;

--Work hard, once you are hired seasonally. There may be a possibility for a permanent full-time or part-time opportunity at the end of your job stint;

--Don't blow off work. Arrive on time, take your breaks/lunch properly, and follow the rules. Even if you don't plan on staying at a job, you may want to use that employer as a reference in the future;

--Don't get into fights with the regular staff. Some folks are threatened by seasonal workers because they think they are out to steal their jobs. Don't antagonize the staff. Just do what you have to do and do it right; and

--Even if you aren't given a permanent position at the end of the season, go ahead and submit a thank you note to a key invididual describing a positive experience working at the company and any other sincere thoughts you may have. A simple gesture like that could get you a phone call down the line, when the company is looking to fill positions in the future.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

I'm Telling.......

If you’re reading this and you’re Black, at some point in your career you’ve had to deal with White coworkers who like to do their version of calling Po-Po on you, by reporting you to your supervisor for the slightest perceived offense.

Depending on what the issue is, reporting a coworker may be fair enough. However, when you’re working under the Black Factor, people can have a field day complaining about you to those in authorities—for all sorts of petty and ridiculous reasons. For instance:

-- A white coworker may have provided you with instructions that you followed. However, this coworker did not like the results of the finished product. Instead of taking onus for the problems, since the work was done to their specifications, they report you to your supervisor and lay the blame on you.

-- You may not speak to a particular White coworker, in passing, because they do not speak to you, do not smile at you or otherwise acknowledge your existence (unless they need something from you) or because they have not responded to you when you’ve said “hello” to them in the past. However, this White coworker may report you to your supervisor as being distant, unapproachable, and claim that you are unfriendly toward them.

-- A White coworker may have sat on a project until the 11th hour before asking for your assistance in getting work done. The deadline is missed because the White coworker kept changing the requirements and/or continually gave you new information to incorporate into your work. Now, the missed deadline gets top billing as your fault. The coworker goes straight to your supervisor to tattle about the problem they actually caused.

One issue with dime droppers in the workplace is that they often leave out of their reporting any complicity they had in problems that have been caused, including but not limited to their mismanagement of a project, tasks or time, poor communication, their blatant incompetence, and their lack of a sense of accountability.

Another major issue is that dime droppers often don’t speak to the person they are complaining about, especially when that person is Black. Some White coworkers will completely bypass a conversation with a Black coworker in favor of calling in White reinforcements. Why? Often because of racist perceptions (e.g., he/she may get “ghetto” on me, Blacks can’t take criticism, etc.) and, even more often, because they don’t think they have to speak to the Black person. Period! Think about it. If you feel superior to someone, do you really have to belittle yourself by engaging in a discussion with that person? No! So, they go to speak to the person who can do something to that Black coworker…the White boss! If the boss is Black, some White coworkers will go over that person’s head until they find someone “suitable” (read: White) to complain to.

But, no matter the cause, there are some things you can do to battle dime droppers on your job.

Tip #1: Don’t give people ammunition. Do your job and do it right—the first time. Don’t chit chat with trouble makers and don’t a$s kiss! Keep your nose clean.

Tip #2: Document all instructions you receive. If people give you verbal instructions, email the person with the instructions in writing. You should clearly state that these instructions are your understanding of what you were asked to do. Ask that the person call you or email you with any clarification/corrections to the instructions. Always include the deadline you were provided to complete the work. And, always ask that any changes/revisions be forwarded to you ASAP.

Tip #3: If you were given instructions in writing, make a copy and file it away. Follow up with an email stating when you anticipate beginning and finishing the work (the deadline) and ask for any changes/revisions to your assignment to be forwarded to you ASAP.

Tip #4: If someone is reporting you to company authorities, without speaking to you about any issues they have, go speak to the person directly. Inform them that you are not accustomed to working that way (without mutual respect) and ask that they speak to you about any issues, should there ever be another incident. Remind the person that you are supposed to work and support each other as a team and that issues should be worked out amongst coworkers before involving any higher ups. Hash out any beefs. Do not let this slide. If you allow people to bypass you to report you to your supervisor, this will become their new favorite habit.

Tip #5: Follow up with your supervisor or whomever you were reported to and address the issue. Provide a copy of any instructions you were given and/or provide your side of the story—supported by facts. Let the person know that you take issue with your coworker reporting you and that protocol/courtesy should have required your coworker to approach you to discuss the subject before speaking to anyone else. Ask that this principle (mutual respect and positive communication) be reinforced to staff.

Tip #6: Document any problems being caused by dime dropping coworkers and report them, if the problem is pervasive and is causing a negative impact on your work environment. Speak to a supervisor and/or Human Resources about any recurrent issues.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Don't Have a "Screw It" Attitude

I know, when you're a target at work, it's tempting to just be like, "SCREW IT!" You feel pissed off, defeated, frustrated, and so many other emotions. And, you start to check out emotionally and detach yourself from what is going on around you. When you get up in the morning, you may feel like you'll get to work whenever you get to work. But, you should still avoid giving an employer, supervisor and/or coworker any ammunition to use against you and make your life miserable--while you are still working for your employer. So, here are some tips:


--Give your employer any ammunition to use against you

--Report to work late or leave early--especially on a regular basis

--Miss deadlines

--Be unprofessional

--Forget to double-check your work, etc.

--Take the bait (e.g., people will try to antagonize you to get an angry response that can be used against you later)

--Forget to document everything

--Keep your evidence at work where it can be found and destroyed

--Believe you can confide in all of your “trusted” coworkers/pals (people have agendas)

Try to be as smart as possible about surviving the workplace and remember that you may want to pursue other options at a later point, including contacting a lawyer or investigator.

Don't help an employer build a case against you!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


If you have found yourself in a situation where you have filed an internal or external grievance against your employer for a racially-based problem at work, here's something to consider...

Are various aspects of your employer's defense reasonable? Are various aspects of your employer's allegations against you plausible? It sounds simplisitic, but this is a big deal.

Really read through complaints made about you by your employer and ask yourself if a third party (read: a lawyer or investigator) will find inherent plausibility in your employer's arguments. Is what your employers are saying about you sound on its face?

Here's what I mean. In an effort to retaliate against me, for an issue I won't go into here, my employer accused me of being disliked by all of my coworkers. Yes, I mean every last one of them! However, just 9 months earlier, my employer gave me a written evaluation that stated I was a joy to work with, was pleasant, was well-liked, etc. So, instead of it being my word against my employer's word, my final year-end review showed there was no inherent plausbility to my employer's argument that every action taken against me had to do with the fact that I was intensely disliked and, therefore, was disruptive on my projects.

You need to read every sentence of important emails and documents and highlight what arguments/defenses are cleary implausible. This will help prove your case, may show that your employer is engaged in a coverup to hide the true motives behind their actions, and can be the key to establishing your credibility with any third party that becomes involved in your case.

Show how your case is plausible and truthful, while showing how your employer's defense and arguments are completely without basis and unreasonable.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Keep a Record of Verbal Threats and Physical Abuse

When a person is targeted at work, it is often a traumatic and stressful situation. The impact of being targeted isn’t simply felt because a person is sensitive or hypersensitive, but because a big part of being a target at work involves being on the receiving end of all manner of threats and abuses.

In the initial phases of being a target, many of us go through denial. We try to talk ourselves out of realizing the severity of our situation by downplaying what is going on. After all, denial is one of the easiest ways to ensure self-preservation. If there’s no problem, there’s no issue, right?

But, there’s usually a point of no return for many targets. This is the point where a target realizes that they may have their career permanently derailed, they may lose their reputation, they may lose their workplace friends and allies, and they might even lose their job. The point of no return signals either the fight or flight response in many people.

Fighting involves speaking up about the mistreatment (to a supervisor, HR, etc.), documenting the issues/incidents of abuse, filing for an internal/external investigation, etc.

Flight involves anything from remaining silent about potentially illegal abuse (that has stopped), continuing to be abused and suffering in silence, denying the reality of abuse by pretending nothing is wrong, allowing yourself to continually be denied a promotion without basis, leaving the job and not pursuing vindication for any abuses, etc.

Regardless of the response to abuse, one thing is certain. You must document all incidents and threats—from the beginning. You must document everything even if you don’t think you will ever file a complaint. You can’t possibly know what you may or may not do in the future because circumstances could dramatically change your viewpoint. In order to keep all of your options open, you must make sure that you will have everything you would need in the future, should you file an internal or external complaint with HR, EEOC or a lawyer.

It’s important that you document all types of abuse, such as incidents that serve to threaten your job security and to intimidate you, incidents of physical or verbal violence, etc. All of these would fall under the overall heading of harassment, which creates a hostile and offensive work environment. They could also be evidence of retaliation based on the fact that you complained of abuse, if that is the case.

Keep a list of incidences. It could look something like this:

Threats to my Job Security/Intimidation

11) On 2/1/08 at 4:20 pm, the director of HR stopped me in the hallway and said, “You’d better be careful. We are starting to get the feeling that you are playing the race-card because you intend to file a civil suit. We’re not just going to sit around and watch you set us up with your race-baiting. We will not tolerate that!” My coworker, Debbie, was standing nearby and heard what she said.

2) On 2/4/08 at 11:30 am, my supervisor told me, “You’d better watch your back. Some of us don’t think you like having your job. It doesn’t look like you want to work here anymore. We can make that happen.”

3) On 2/10/08 at 3:15 pm, the director of my department told me that the department was restructuring and that all staff would have to keep a log of our work for an entire month in order to justify our positions. But, when I asked around, I found out that no one else in my department or in my group was asked to keep a log. I have been singled out to justify my employment.

Physical and Verbal Abuse

1) On 2/2/08 at 9:41 am, my supervisor called me a “Black b*tch!” because I declined to analyze research data in a manner which violates research protocol and is unethical.

2) On 2/5/08 at 11:00 am, my supervisor bumped into me in the hallway. I didn’t think anything of it, but it has now happened 4 times today. She will go out of her way to bang into me and the contact is becoming harder each time she does it.

You get the picture. It’s critical that you keep a log of everything, no matter how small you think the incident is—at the time. You may need the dates and nature of these incidents at a later time. Don’t play yourself by not having what you need, when you need it.

Document everything. Log incidents by category, if that helps. Keep a list of witnesses. Record the time of the incident, as well.

Monday, September 14, 2009

I Was Sick Last Week...

Sorry for missing a few posts last week. I came down with flu-like symptoms and was out of commission. There's a new post below for you to check out.

You Should Be Constantly Thinking of Ways and Taking Advantage of Opportunities to Prove Your Case!

When you are contemplating filing a race-based complaint, internally or externally, think about how you will overcome the lies that your employer probably has already told about you.

An employer can make up any excuse to justify employment actions against an employee. These excuses don’t have to be proven unless the employee complains about the action. So, the employer can go ahead and accuse you of fabricated performance deficiencies and use those false allegations to deny you a promotion, for example. Unless you say, “I’m being denied advancement for reasons that are without merit…,” no one will ever examine the allegations against you. Why would they?

Unless you work for an extremely small company, HR staff may know your name, they probably remember what department you’re assigned to, they may remember your title, but they don’t know your specific contributions to the company—during any given day, month or year. So, don’t think someone in HR will get suspicious, if you are suddenly accused of very negative behavior at work, which is completely out of character for you.

When I worked in HR, not one HR staff person read the performance evaluations that were filtered through our office for filing. We simply got a copy, ensured that the employee signed that they read and understood the review, ensured that the supervisor signed the review, and placed the review in the employee’s personnel file. That was it! We never read it to see if anything was fishy or inconsistent or contradictory or just plain unacceptable at face value.

So, it’s up to you to challenge false allegations that a coworker or supervisor, etc. is making about you.

If you decide to challenge a false claim, the first thing you need to consider is how you are going to refute supervisor/employer lies. Let’s use the example that you are falsely accused of performance deficiencies. To combat that lie, you could:

--Show copies of previous performance evaluations that contradict what was said;
--Produce copies of emails that contradict new negative allegations against you; and
--Show thank you cards form clients and coworkers; etc.

You could also check the personnel manual in order to prove that your supervisor, employer, etc. violated the company’s written policies and procedures. Your employer would then be forced to justify why they did not follow the pre-existing guidelines they established. This goes a long way in showing an agenda against an employee and shows clear intent, not an accident, in executing an employment action!!

If you are placed on probation, for example, based on false allegations, go to the personnel manual. What does the manual say about handling management issues? If the manual says that an employee should first be given 1) an oral warning; 2) a written warning; 3) be placed on probation, your employer would have to answer why they jumped to step #3 of their own process. They have to justify why what you did was so egregious they violated their own policy, especially if you don’t have a history of having any performance issues.

Other things you could do include:

--Getting witness corroboration to support your version of events. Ask coworkers to write statements for you or to speak to HR reps on your behalf. Getting support in writing is best!

--Tape recording meetings to get verbal threats, racial epithets, etc. on tape.

--Keeping a log of all race-based incidents, incidents of harassment, etc. with specifics details on who did what and when!

--Requesting an internal investigation to place the burden on the company to stop or reverse the fraudulent employment action. Get the HR department on record, should you need to go to a lawyer or outside investigatory agency!

--Keep a log of all the lies your employer tells and write specific quotes (include the date and time of conversations, etc.). Put yourself in a position to have fantastic recall of who said what and when!

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Suffering in Silence

In the workplace, silence can kill you. Suffering in silence, while someone is bullying you, harassing you, retaliating against you or discriminating against you is a form of active participation in your mistreatment. Silence signals your explicit agreement. By not complaining, you’ve spoken. You’ve said that everything is okay.

Only you can decide if you prefer to remain quiet, rather than speak out against abuse. Just keep in mind that silence won’t change anything. A person, who is capable of violating Federal statutes (read: breaking the laws) prohibiting discrimination, harassment, and retaliation in the workplace, is probably not going to wake up one morning and decide that they’re wrong and should cease this behavior.

In fact, it’s more likely that they will escalate their behavior. If they’ve been getting away with potentially illegal behavior and their target hasn’t spoken out, they will have the impression that they can get away with anything. If this person has authority over you, it’s not that hard to imagine your illegal mistreatment continuing or escalating. So, instead of “just” never putting you up for a promotion, this person may decide to accuse you of fake performance deficiencies, demote you, suspend you, place you on probation, etc.

There is a huge risk in remaining silent!

Part of the issue is that many Blacks are afraid to speak up at work. Part of that is connected to our history in this country. After emancipation, Blacks still had no rights. We could be lynched for being in the wrong area, looking at a White person the wrong way, not stepping aside, when a White person was walking by, etc. We began to train ourselves to be deferential to White people because we could pay with our lives, if we were deemed to have offended a White person (truly or falsely). As a result, there are many Blacks who are still intimidated by Whites and who are afraid to be perceived as being contrary or difficult because they may become a target.

On top of that, Blacks have many stereotypes related to our so-called negative attitude. For instance, we are supposed to be angry, defensive, hostile, rude, unprofessional/ghetto, loud, and to have large chips on our shoulders. We’re never supposed to be able to take constructive criticism because someone with a bad attitude is incapable of having any kind of reasonable discussion.

All of this feeds into a fear of being perceived as talking back to White folks, if the need arises to make a complaint or challenge/confront any issue at work. Many of us feel that if we say anything, we are going to be bombarded with many of the criticisms I just mentioned. If you “talk back,” you will be called defensive and/or hostile. If you “talk back,” you will be called angry and/or rude. If you “talk back,” then you just can’t take constructive criticism.

For many Blacks, it seems easier to remain silent…to just suck things up. But, despite consistent pressure on Blacks to remain silent (even from other Blacks who consider speaking out against abuse to be tantamount to “troublemaking”), we have a right to be heard!

Instead of thinking of speaking up as “talking back,” start thinking about it as protecting your interests. For instance:

--Not allowing someone to falsely accuse you of missing deadlines or making costly errors on an assignments protects your interests because it makes it hard or impossible for false claims to appear in your performance evaluation, can prevent you from being written up or placed on probation, can prevent your termination, etc.

--Documenting and reporting harassment, including a hostile work environment, can protect your interests by providing the evidence you may later need to prove that you have been subjected to potentially illegal mistreatment at work;

--Documenting your verbal and written communications about being passed over for a promotion, while less qualified staff were promoted protects your interests because the documentation shows that there is a potential issue with equitable evaluation of skills, education, and tenure and that you voiced your concerns to management; and

--Documenting solutions you’ve offered to stop abuse and/or to rectify harm caused by abuse protects your interests because it shows that you aren’t simply a “whiner” or “cry baby” and that you offered a way to resolve problems in-house.

Remember, you are your first line of defense. Don’t be afraid to voice your concerns about issues. You have a right to protect your interests. As long as you are expressing concerns in a professional manner and you are making complaints in good faith, there shouldn’t be an issue.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Avoid Trying to Score Points By Trashing Your Black Coworkers!

For those who are guilty of this workplace crime, please stop criticizing your Black workers simply as a way to score points with the Whites you work with!

Don’t act like you haven’t done it. Those who have, you know who you are. Perhaps you always like to criticize other African Americans on your job as being “too ghetto,” so that your White coworkers and managers will know that you are a “professional” and the other Blacks are not!

This catty behavior is simply uncalled for and harkens back to the Willie Lynch slave mentality that was ingrained in Blacks on the plantations. Why must we needlessly fight and bicker amongst ourselves, while others around us thrive?

Don’t get me wrong. It’s one thing to air real concerns or beef—about staff of any color—regarding poor work or inappropriate, unprofessional or odd behavior. But, it’s another thing to just look for crap to criticize other Blacks for as a means to show Whites that you don’t automatically align yourself with “your people” and that you are on their [the company’s/White people’s] side!

I know Blacks have been seasoned to assimilate as much as possible, but seeking to legitimize yourself at the expense of others is dead wrong! And, it doesn’t get you the respect of the White people you are so eager to dime your brothers and sisters out to. So, don’t be a…

Yeah, the word I’m looking for is “coon!” Don’t be a coon!! Stop running behind your Massa, while you try to put other Blacks up on the whipping block. Get some pride and do some darn work.

Try worrying about yourself. Only openly criticize other staff as necessary.

Besides, the same people you criticize your Blacks coworkers to are the same people who may talk about you the same way—behind your back. They probably think you are just as “ghetto” as those you point out. If not, they may have some other negative perception of you to chit chat about.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Your Supervisor Should Take Notes On Your Work Throughout the Review Period

At most companies, employees sit down with their supervisor/manager and they discuss that employee’s goals and objectives for a specific performance period. This is done so that employees know the company’s expectations for them and so that the employee can be proactive in working towards the agreed upon goals and objectives. Everyone understands that it would be unfair to have someone working blind. In other words, it would be the fault of supervisors or company management, if employees do not understand what the exact expectations are for their performance and behavior or if they don’t understand the criteria that will be used to evaluate their performance during the employee review period.

If you have a supervisor or manager that hasn’t explained the goals and objectives that you will be and are being judged against, you should initiate a meeting to discuss performance expectations and how you are meeting those standards. The last thing you should want is to walk into a performance evaluation and be blind-sided by surprise commentary regarding performance-related issues that you did not know existed or to be surprised by criteria/standards that you did not know would be applied to you in your capacity on the job.

While part of the onus for knowing standards and expectations resides with each employee, clearly the bulk of the responsibility is with supervisors/managers. These are the individuals that are monitoring and guiding many of the day-to-day activities of workers. And, these are often the members of management that will conduct or oversee the performance evaluations for their department, unit, etc.

During the course of a performance review period, supervisors/managers should:

-- Keep employees on track with goals and objectives that have been predefined, discussed, and agreed upon by each employee—based on their individual job;

--Provide employees with assignments that help them work towards the defined goals and objectives;

--Provide employees with opportunities to learn new skills and increase their knowledge in their job/field;

--Keep thorough notes on the performance of each person they supervisor or manage;

--Solicit feedback (positive and negative) from those who work closely with each employee and maintain notes on those comments. Supervisors and managers need to ensure they are KNOWLEDGEABLE INFORMANTS about their subordinates. They should not make assumptions or listen to hearsay. It is their job to have an accurate idea of how each employee is performing their duties;

--Discuss performance goals, objectives, and coworker feedback—formally or informally—several times per year with each subordinate;

--Provide negative feedback to employees with enough time for the employee to show improvement during the performance period. If the negative feedback happens near the end of the performance period, it may be too late for the employee to make adjustments. However, if the behavior is atypical, the supervisor or manager should not write about any negative behaviors or incidents as though they were the standard way the employee performed or behaved during the review period;

--Avoid surprising subordinates with negative comments and accusations that were NEVER made during the review period. Something that was an issue during the first 3 months of the review period, but was never raised as an issue, should not be thrown out during a performance review because the employee was not allowed an opportunity to refute any allegations or to know there was some performance or behavioral deficiency that required adjustments in behavior; and

--Avoid making performance judgments based on the employee’s personality, race, education level, etc.

Many supervisors and managers, even those that give employee goals and objectives, do not keep thorough notes on employee performance throughout the year. Instead, they wait until they must draft/write performance evaluations before they get into deep Q&A sessions with those who have managed or worked alongside their subordinates.

Therefore, it’s important to:

--Maintain your own record of your accomplishments and achievements;

--Keep all congratulatory emails and cards from internal and external clients;

--Outline how you have met each goal and objective agreed upon with your supervisor/manager;

--Keep a log of any publications, awards, presentations, etc. that occurred during the performance period;

--Maintain a list of new skills you’ve added to your repertoire at work; and

--Keep a list showing the impact of your contributions at work (e.g., you brought in new clients, saved money by streamlining procedures, etc.)

You can do a lot to make your performance evaluation truly reflect your contributions to the company. Make your supervisor and manager have huge hurdles to jump, should they decide to give into the temptation of discriminating against you by intentionally marginalizing your contributions to the work force or by making false claims about your performance in order to deliberately stifle your career.

Show that you have been keeping track of your performance and can PROVE you have a strong work ethic, produce high quality work, are professional, and that you are and should be valued as an employee.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Don't Make Race-Related Excuses That You Know Are Lies!

I've always tried to stress how important it is that people not make claims of race-related biases at work that they know do not exist. I was reminded of how important this is when a coworker recently complained about someone targeting her because she is Black. But, there are problems with this:

1) She's always coming in late and disrupting morning meetings;

2) She's loud and rude to coworkers and customers;

3) She's always wandering off (read: not working);

4) She frequently calls out on days she knows we are going to be busy; and

5) She's already been documented for LEGITIMATE performance issues, so she's well aware that she should be focusing more on puctuality and attendance and on improving her work performance.

It isn't cool for her to run around screaming from the rooftops that she's the victim of racism. This person is a victim of her own poor behavior and a lack of effort. She needs to take responsibility for the corner she's painted herself into and the fact that she is a hair away from being terminated.

We each must be accountable for our actions. When it is not warranted, we have to be sure not to make race an issue because it only serves to do extreme harm to those who are truly being subjected to discrimination, harassment, and retaliation.

We must also focus on not giving people ammunition to target us for any reason. Just go to work and do your job. After that, just hope that you have a positive environment and that you are surrounded by adults, who will abide by the laws prohibiting racially-biased behavior and abuses in the workplace.

Let's try not to make our work lives harder than they must be!
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