“Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
It’s had tacks in it,
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor—
Corporate America is extremely unforgiving. Many times, the same rope you climb up on, they’ll hang you with. Black men have to walk the tightrope of being good, but not too good. Aggressive, but not too aggressive. Forward thinking, but not so much to where you find solutions before your boss identifies problems.
We’re human and we make mistakes. But unlike others, the mistakes of a black man in corporate America will likely be used to assess our overall worth at the organizations we work for. We can’t dismiss the sly digs in the break room. We have to properly handle the condescending undertones in the emails as soon as we detect them. And because we rely on spirits far beyond our five senses to become successful in corporate america, we can sometimes be left an emotional mess.
I have close friends who literally have a hard time eating because they’re constantly dealing with the pressures of work. I too have had some serious emotional and mentally draining times on the job. Sadly many times, regardless of how well we perform or how skilled we are, we end up with the short end of the stick.
Through it all, we have to keep climbing. It’s OK to pity yourself for a short time, but it’s important not to sulk in your own emotions too long. The resentment you can have after a termination is real and here’s why you can’t let it get the best of you:
- You’ll believe your performance review is your worth – Know thyself. Know what you contribute, and document it. Know your shortcomings and assess them before anyone else does. Accept when you really sucked at a job vs. when your company simply wanted you out for other reasons.
- You’ll be afraid to try again – Just because your previous employer said you were a horrible manager, doesn’t make it true. There could be a laundry list of reasons as to why you weren’t a fit at your previous place of employment. In order to start a healthy job hunt you have to stop negative self-talk, and begin affirming your strengths.
- You won’t give your next opportunity a fair chance – You cannot pour new wine into an old wine skin. If you don’t shake the negative things from your previous employer, you’ll create a miserable atmosphere for yourself at your new employer. Humans don’t come with a “One size fits all label,” so it’s important to assess new opportunities with a fresh outlook (Just keep the wisdom from you past situations tucked away as a helpful guide).
- It’s not healthy – Work can be extremely stressful. A stressed body is a sick body. Learn how to compartmentalize situations, use the wisdom from your experiences, and keep your life moving in a positive direction.
It’s not easy to start over, but the weight of carrying your past is too heavy. You owe it to yourself and your future to let it go.