Shit I Want Employers To Stop Doing In 2020

Literally, 10 minutes ago, I was on LinkedIn after getting an email with jobs I may be interested in. I scrolled and noticed a position for a “Complaint Writer.” I read the job description carefully. Basically, when customers complain, the Complaint Writer is the one who writes the nice professional letter explaining the outcome of the complaint and its accompanying reasons. Sounds easy and frankly, as a writer, when you can find a staff position with benefits, you’ll write about jelly beans all day if you have to. 

Anywho, I get to the requirements and at the very end of the list is the requirement to know how to do v-lookups and pivot tables. Now, most of us hate Excel. I don’t particularly like Excel because I feel like it’s not catching up with the rest of us in terms of usability. At this point, v-lookup and pivot table should be two buttons you can push and not some apocalyptic formula you have to know and input. Further, I’ve had a job where I had to only work in Excel and do that v-lookup shit (which I learned at that job and immediately forgot after that job) and that job was strictly numbers. I don’t understand why I need to know v-lookups and pivot tables to write people letters about the status of their complaints.

This got me thinking: it’s time for employers to stop these nonsense pre-employment behaviors. It seems like after the recession in 2007/2008, every employer decided that they were actually doing nuclear fission and that they needed to construct some high and mighty image when none of the positions they are hiring for actually merit them. 

So, here’s my list of the shit that I want employers to stop doing in 2020.

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So, in general, school counselors must have a master’s degree in counseling plus a teaching certificate with the counseling speciality. $14.50/hr. Yeah, no.

1. Ridiculous requirements: As I mentioned earlier, it’s time for employers to stop requiring skills and background that are not relevant to the position. We’ve seen far too many companies wanting someone with a 4-year degree while only paying $17.00/hr. If the position that you’re hiring for only pays $17/hr., then trust me, a 4-year degree isn’t necessary. I have two master’s degrees. When I see a job listing that requests that level of education, I presume that the knowledge needed to execute the position well is such that one will need higher education and the salary is commensurate with that knowledge. If the job only pays $17/hr., what you’re wanting people to do ain’t that special nor hard, tbqh.

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2. Phone screens: I don’t know when it happened but this need to have applicants talk to three people on three separate occasions before you call them in for a real interview is ridiculous. In my experience, all three people ask the same thing in a different way and being the stable earth sign that I am, my answers don’t change. What I also notice is that there is often a level of disorganization present. It seems that one hand doesn’t know what the other five are doing. It feels like a popularity contest in which, instead of seeing if a candidate is qualified, it’s really more like, “I like him/her. See if you do too; then, see if Chad does too.” What a waste of time!

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3. Working interviews: Here’s the scenario: you’re called in for an interview and the questions are normal at first and get more and more specific until you realize that they are presenting you with actual problems they have and are asking you to solve them…in the interview…for free. I don’t participate in those because I see it as an underhanded way to get free labor from people who likely won’t be hired. Being a Black woman, I have to be especially careful about employers trying to use my intellectual labor without compensation; and that’s after being hired. There’s no way I’m going to let an interviewer turn me into an employment side-chick giving them what they need only for them to not commit.

4. Catchall job listings: People are trying to shape careers. This is why I find it highly irritating when employers post a job title that is very specific and when you start reading the post, you find out that they really just want someone to occupy all the other positions they can’t afford to hire different people for. It started out as a “Junior Communications Representative” and by the time you get to the end of the job description, you find out that you’re really a secretary whom they want to be able to also write flawless press releases, speak to the media on the company’s behalf, answer phones, take messages, travel to job fairs, and be on-call on the weekends. But of course, you’ll be making a secretary’s salary. I won’t start on the abusive “other duties as assigned.”

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5. Offering shitty insurance plans: You can either pay $20/month for your insurance but have a $7,500 deductible when all they are paying you is $40k/yr so that when you fall ill or need a serious surgery, you can’t pay for it anyway OR you can pay $800/month for your insurance when your net pay each month is only $2500 once your insurance is deducted, Uncle Sam gets his, your retirement is accounted for, etc. Insurance rates have risen damn near 70% while wages have risen less than 30%. Let’s not. 

6. Employee “appreciation” that doesn’t involve money: As far as I’m concerned, since the recession, the only way to appreciate an employee is money. Point blank. People wake up before dawn, sit through hellish traffic, put wear and tear on their vehicles and bodies, put up with corporate b & b (bullshit and bureaucracy) for 8-10 hours, get back in hellish traffic, and come home long enough to eat, workout, tend to their family, and go to sleep so they can do it all over the next day. Keep your pizza party. I can go bowling with people I like. There are enough streaming services to not need free movie tickets. You want to let me know you appreciate my hard work? PAY!

 

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Food Facts To Remember In 2020

We are less than 48 hours from Christmas. Then, there’ll be New Year’s. Basically, the holidays revolve around food. Since we are upon the 2nd and 3rd most important holidays of the year (the first being my birthday on the 27th), I’ve decided to help you stay as healthy as possible by offering a list of food landmines to avoid.

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LIES THEY TELL!

5. Tofu: I’m just going to give you a quote from Everyday Health about what exactly the fuck tofu is:

Tofu is made from soybeans that are ground in water, heated, and coagulated with minerals like calcium or magnesium salt. The curds are then pressed into a block, which is then sold as tofu. ”

That sounds absolutely disgusting. I mean, I don’t eat soybeans either but the notion of taking something nasty, grinding it with water, and coagulating it frankly sounds criminal. Just…stay away.

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4. Nut milks: I’m lactose intolerant…but I don’t give a shit (no pun intended). I’ll flush 15 times like Trump mentioned before I drink nuts mixed blended with water and sugar. I luuuuurve roasted almonds but I’m not finna’ drink them. The internet tries to pretend that after they do all that manufacturing magic, these nut milks are as creamy as cow’s milk. They’re lying. No, I haven’t tasted any of those nut milks. Never will. But, trust me. I’m trustworthy. I do not lie about food.

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3. Dressings, gravies, or sauces of any kind: Listen. I do like (certain brands of) BBQ sauce. I do like the lemon butter sauce with capers that they serve with the sole at Macaroni Grill. But uh-ruh…that’s about it.

I’m from the south. I grew up watching my grandma make brown and giblet gravies and watching the rest of my relatives eat it. I grew up watching people I know and respect pour Italian, French, and DRANCH (dreadful + ranch) dressing on their salads. I’m even friends with people who dip my all-time favorite food that I don’t eat anymore cause of carbs, precious pizza, into all kinds of questionable sauces like that garlic devil sauce from Papa John’s.

Because I try to display empathy, I’ve decided to offer thoughts and prayers to get them through the difficult times they must be experiencing to indulge this eating behavior. But, if I can save one person from walking this path, I will. And that’s why these foods made the list.

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Me, smelling garlic. 

2. Garlic: So, science teaches us that there is a link between our sense of smell and sense of taste. That’s why when you have a bad cold, you can’t taste anything while your nose is stopped up.

I can only hypothesize, then, that those of you who love garlic have a genetic defect in which your brain is sending inaccurate signals to your nose and taste buds. I’ve wondered for the longest how anybody could smell garlic and feel like they MUST eat it. If you sniffed the milk in your fridge and it smelled like Miss Muffet’s curds and whey that had been sitting on a hot Texas sidewalk for 3 days, you probably wouldn’t drink it. Sooooo…..I remain confused about how anybody whose senses of smell and taste are intact could possibly like garlic.

I won’t even start on you mofos who ask for extra garlic. Y’all need to wear special bracelets or something cause…

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1. Mayonnaise: Whipped eggs, vinegar, and oil. I like eggs. I like oil (well, I like cooking with oil). Vinegar…eh…But, I’ll never understand the need to whip eggs, vinegar, and oil together to create a spread and put it on other food items.

What really grinds my gears is how society has acquiesced to you people who like mayo. The fact that I have to reiterate my order at restaurants and double check before I take a bite to make sure I don’t end up with a mouth full of edible puss is annoying. Jack n’ The Box even puts mayo on their breakfast sandwiches (I found this out in high school and have never had another Jack n’ The Box breakfast sandwich again). Who the hell thinks eggs, sausage, cheese and a croissant needs a touch of mayo?

You know how people talk about not making strangers in public deal with your misbehaving kids? I feel like mayo is the food equivalent of those bad ass kids and for whatever reason, the food industry refuses to stop allowing it to come in, be loud, run all over the place, and leave a mess (on our plates).

By now, you’ve realized that this list is NOT food facts, but food opinions. But, if Fox News can do it, so can I.

Happy Holidays!

 

 

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Quick Thoughts On D. Wade, G. Union, and Internet Trolls

This has been going through my mind for a little while and the most recent incident caused me to decide to address it here.

As we know, DeWayne Wade has a son who is a part of the LGBT community. Both Wade and his wife, actress Gabrielle Union, have been vocally supportive of their son on his identity journey.

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I think this is good. I repeat, I think this is good. I felt the need to repeat and embolden that part because what I’m about to talk about may sound like I feel the opposite and I know how some of y’all can be when you don’t read exactly what you wanted to read.

There has been more than one instance where after posting family pictures, adult meanies on social media have made untoward comments about Wade and his son. These comments usually come out of the mouths of homophobic people who feel Wade should bring his son into subjection in terms of his expression of his identity. In other words, they don’t like that his son is allowed to wear fake nails, or crop tops, or whatever else these internet commentators deem feminine wares.

Usually, Wade or Union will “clap back.” They will address the meanies and talk about how they love their child and support him and it’s their business and choice to do so. They get a lot of media attention for being good parents. People pine over the way they support their son.

The question I have is, when is the clapback only adding to the insult or injury of the initial mean comments?

Let me explain. When you “clap back,” you are dignifying the comment that you’re clapping back to. You may not realize it, but when you address anything, positive, negative, or in between, you are acknowledging that even if the comment wasn’t nice or educated, it was a valid expression.

In other words, instead of letting it die at the end of the sentence, you give it a life.

At some point, I wonder if Wade and Union’s clapbacks and the subsequent praise from the media about their clapbacks is merely causing their son to relive the bigoted comments directed towards him.

For example, if I have a child and my child comes home crying and tells me that Johnny called her ugly, and I comfort the child and reaffirm her beauty, that’s good. But, if when my (imaginary) husband comes home, I tell him while we’re all eating dinner, “Johnny called her ugly today,” and then, when her grandma calls later, I get on the phone and say, “A little boy called her ugly today…” while my child is sitting next to me watching television, am I allowing my child the opportunity to sit in and absorb the reaffirmation that I gave her when I keep replaying the insult to everybody who will listen?

Now, pretend I was a celebrity with millions of followers who not only is going to clap back, but have my clapback shared by millions of followers and mass media and even end up doing an interview or two about the situation. Despite the fact that I’ve reaffirmed my child, Johnny and his ugly comment is given a life as it plays non-stop on the social media news cycle and my reaffirmed child has to keep hearing and seeing it until social media gets bored and moves on to the next piece of nonsense.

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This is my peripheral concern with Wade’s son and his parents’ need to address the ugliness that comes out on the internet. Raising children can be tricky because on the one hand, you want to be tender with them as they deserve and give them a worry-free childhood. On the other hand, you have to prepare them. You have to prepare them for the fact that some people won’t like them for no reason at all. You have to prepare them for the fact that some people will think they’re too tall, or too short, or too fat, or too thin, etc. Unfortunately, if you’re a part of a marginalized group, that goes double.

You have to teach them that the people who just want to pull them down are ultimately the people they need to avoid. In the social media era, that also means that those  commenters are the people you don’t need to spend your time clapping back at every time you decide to post a picture and they decide to be hateful.

The truth is, your clapback won’t make them abandon their bigotry, (and sickeningly enough, may gain them more popularity). And it’s likely that some of these people, no matter how much you clap back, will only make sure they show up in the comments of your next picture with similarly foul sentiments.

Am I saying they should stop posting family pictures? Absolutely not. They have the right to celebrate their family like anybody else does. I do think it’s time to stop taking the bait of randos on Instagram and Twitter with enough time on their hands to express their displeasure about a crop top.

Personally, I hope the Thanksgiving picture controversy is the last time Wade or Union feel the need to engage bigoted trolls. I think it will set a good example, not just for their own children but for the rest of us as well.

Protesting Too Much: The GOP and the Impeachement Hearings

So, many of us have been indulging in the national soap opera we call impeachment hearings. A couple of weeks ago, a cast of witnesses were brought in to testify to whether or not Trump demanded a quid pro quo from President Zelensky of Ukraine. You’ll remember that as Ambassaador Yovanovitch testified, Trump took the opportunity to talk shit about her on Twitter.

You’ll also remember Ambassador Sondland sitting with the petty bitch smirk as he rolled Trump under the bus like a bowling ball. One of the best parts was when Lieutenant Colonial Vindman had to get one of the lawmakers together about his title.

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During the impeachment inquiry, we learned that many adults in the United States of America don’t know the meaning of hearsay. We also learned that Trump is more vindictive than the proverbial woman scorned.

Then, this week, we heard from four law scholars on whether or not the framers would have considered Trump to have committed the high crimes and misdemeanors that are required for impeachment. Three said yes. One said no. The one who said he had not was clearly there for the GOP. Unfortunately for them (the GOP), he seemed like he didn’t own a television or smartphone.

What I noticed most in both sets of hearings was how the GOP lawmakers, instead of using their 5 minutes to ask questions (which is the point), decided to do soliloquies and mini-sermons instead for at least half the time.

Listen, we know y’all think this is a sham. We know y’all don’t want him impeached. The purpose of a hearing is to ask questions and get answers from witnesses that will assist you in making a final decision. We don’t need to hear from each of you how you think this is a witch hunt or being done because Schiff and Pelosi don’t like Trump.

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You would think that the GOP would remember the line about protesting too much. By using their 5 minutes to grandstand, yell, shout, and repeat the shit we read from randos on Twitter, all they’re doing is furthering the belief that there’s fuckery to hide. They sound like robots who were all programmed to say varying versions of the same thing.

If you’re really trying to find something concrete to disprove your opponent’s position, actually taking the time to formulate objective inquiry would go a long way. Instead, the GOP is content to put people like Jim Jordan on television to yell at people like a hobo on a street corner drunk off cheap bourbon in a Sears shirt with a comb over.

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But, what almost had me thinking I was about to slap somebody was when Rep. Gaetz shouted down Prof. Karlan as she attempted to answer him. Did you see that?

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When he shouted at Professor Karlan that she doesn’t “GET TO INTERRUPT” him during his time, half of which he spent doing a mini-sermon about how the Democrats are just mad at Trump and after having interrupted Prof. Karlan, I heard the African-American spiritual, “Who The Fuck You Talkin’ To,” play in my head.

I won’t even start on them boo-hooing about the reference to Barron Trump as if they didn’t sit by for 8 years and either engage in or excuse real insults against Sasha and Malia Obama.

Based on these most recent testimonies, Nancy Pelosi asked that articles of impeachment be officially drafted. I can’t wait until the trial. I sincerely hope Trump that testifies and doesn’t fold his arms like a big baby. And I’ll be live tweeting every second, especially if the GOP starts their martyr blues bullshit.

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I’ll say one thing: this shit should cause law school applications to skyrocket. If I could find a financier, I’d certainly enroll.

Any takers?

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Why Do You Care? Isaiah Washington, Yvette Nicole Brown, and Political Twitter Beef

Today, the Jasmine Brand, posted an article detailing an e-argument between Isaiah Washington and Yvette Nicole Brown. This comes on the heels of Isaiah Washington, former Grey’s Anatomy actor, expressing his political beliefs on Twitter. If the term “e-argument” hasn’t helped you figure it out yet, Washington is a Conservative. He’s also Black (for those of you who have been living in an underground tunnel for all of the 2000s.

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Contender #1: The respondent

Anybody who has remotely lived through the woke revolution of the 2010s knows that being a Conservative is bad enough. Being a Black Conservative is akin to being the troll under the bridge in The Three Billy Goats Gruff fairytale (at least in some circles). That’s why it’s no surprise that after it was announced that Washington had procured his own show on Fox Nation, Yvette Nicole Brown piped in to express her opinions on the matter. I attached the link to the Jasmine Brand article and you can go there to see the screenshots of the exchange, but needless to say, they are a gumbo of unsolicited opinions, allegations of name-calling, actual name-calling, pot/kettle analyses (Brown worked for Disney and yes, Disney was a known racist), other intra-race based insults (ie. coon and mammy), and finally, shade thrown in reference to career trajectories.

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Contender #2: The instigator, tbqh

I sat back reading this exchange the way I always read nonsense e-beef; with a hot cup of coffee and listening to Spotify. Being a human being, I’m completely attracted to spectacle. I’m especially fascinated by the rich and famous arguing online because if I had their salary and connections, I’d be doing so much more than wasting time on what someone I didn’t ask says about me. Ironically, earlier this week, I asked my Black FB friends who dislike Black Conservatives why they don’t like Black Conservatives. The answers varied and I plan to do a blog on that topic soon. But, for now, I just wonder…

why do you care?

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I’m not new to this disagreement thing. I’ve been in enough catty FB groups to get the hang of e-beef. And I know with Donald Trump as POTUS, people have stepped it up a notch with the expression of their political stance. I get it. But, it’s always intriguing to me when nonsensical blowups like Washington v. Brown happen because when I first heard about Washington’s deal with Fox Nation several days ago, my reaction was…nothing. In fact, when Washington came out as a Trump supporter and Conservative, I had the same reaction I’d have reading a story about how Cheez-Its are made which is, “oh, okay.”

Am I saying that Yvette Brown was wrong to express her opinion about his signing to Fox Nation? No. People can say what they want. That’s supposed to be one of the great things about this nation. First Amendment and shit. But, as we all agree, that doesn’t make you free from people’s reactions. I don’t see the benefit of an e-fight that ends with me digitally abusing my keyboard by typing my hardest and fastest.

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Yvette admonishes him about selling his soul and that all money ain’t good money (African-American proverb). Short of pimping or selling crack to the parents of orphans, I don’t understand the uproar over what someone (I presume) you’re not even friends with chooses to align themselves politically with. The best part is when Yvette says she’s going to block him riiiiiiiiiiiiight after she says something nice about him. She calls him a good actor and then continues to engage.

Some of you may think that I’m taking Isaiah’s side by the tone of this post. Not really. However, it costs nothing to say nothing; and Yvette had to have known that retweeting his apparent good news and adding, “Remember children, all money ain’t good money & not all skin folks are kin folk” wasn’t going to go over well. It should be noted that Isaiah didn’t respond until two days later so one could argue that he could have just let that one go since the 36-hour attention span of this generation had passed.

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I’m sure that a little forethought from either party would have avoided that clusterfuck salad with a side of vinegar dressing. We are responsible for our own political ideologies, beliefs, opinions, and all that other good stuff. I think it’s useless to be worried about what someone we don’t even particularly know thinks or does as long as there is no direct harm (and yeah, I know some of you think being Conservative is inherently harmful to mankind). This need to be caped crusaders or swoop in to comment or school everybody takes away valuable time from what you do support. I don’t know either of these actors but if I asked, I’m sure at least one of them would say that if they could turn back time, that’s not the Twitter “conversation” they’d have given their time to.

 

 

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Stop Whining: The Wayward Daughter’s Thoughts On Spoilers

Power, Grey’s Anatomy, HTGAWM, American Horror Story…

These are a few of the shows I luuuurve. Although I have access to cable, I hate commercials so I end up streaming them the day (or two or three) after they air. I’m good with that.

I’m also good with people sharing their thoughts on the episodes on social media even though I haven’t seen the episode.

Why?

Cause I’m not a big baby.

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Granted, I’m clearly a creative. It’s impossible to spoil a television show for me because I have to experience it myself for it to matter. So, you can tell me the ending of every television show that’s hot right now. I’m still going to watch it because the creative journey is everything for me.

 

But, you crybabies who get on social media and demand that everyone take a vow of television silence until YOU see an episode are annoying. It’s nobody’s fault that you had to work, or cook the Shabbat brisket, or go to choir practice when a lot of people’s favorite shows are broadcast.

“If YoU tAlK aBoUt PoWer, I wIlL bLoCk Yeeeeew.”

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Sitcho’ ass down somewhere! Who are you? Princess of TV? Queen of networks?

I picture your puerile asses standing on your couch with a blanket tied around your shoulders like Superman holding your remote control like a sceptre and crying while you tell everyone else whose credit card information was current on their Hulu account to not talk about an episode that’s two days old or to wait until you decide to watch it.

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You have a choice. You can unplug from social media within the 24-48 hours of the programming so you won’t know anything until you watch. But apparently, that’s too hard for many of you and I don’t understand why.

Either way, stop trying to boss the rest of the people around because you had shit to do the night your show came on and are running behind. You’re the same people who show up late to a dinner party and get mad because everybody else started eating without you.

Seek help!

 

You’re Not Special; Just White

Yesterday on Facebook, I came across an article from The Wall Street Journal (I didn’t add the link cause it’s not free to read the whole article and I know how y’all are) about a woman who sat out of the workforce for two years and came back to end up CEO.

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Apparently, her story is supposed to inspire the rest of us. Similar to Sheryl Sandberg with her book, “Lean In” and all these other people who have pulled off career feats, these people allegedly show us the power of focus, tenacity, and intention.

Unfortunately for The Wall Street Journal, that lady they reported on (Deanna Mulligan off Guardian Life Insurance), Sheryl Sandberg and the rest of them, there is actually no magic here.

They aren’t special. They’re just white.

At one time, I had a friend who is an attorney. I remember her telling our friend group (confidentially, of course), that she was conducting a deposition at a hospital. One of the people she had to depose was the VP of the hospital. They opened with a line of questioning on this VP’s credentials.

Two years of college at a community college, no degree, no work history in the medical field nor hospital administration.

No, she didn’t start as the janitor at the hospital and work her way up. She came in as the VP making more than the fucking president.

She was also a white woman.

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*sits back and folds arms and re-reads that shit and gets mad all over again thinking about the highly qualified Black people that applied and interviewed for that job but they didn’t get it cause….*

Black women are the most educated demographic in the country, yet we can’t seem to pull off these dynamic feats in the workplace where we are allowed to take time off to raise kids, recover from divorce, go through an extended illness, etc. and come back and slide into 6-figure positions as if we never missed a day even though our education and previous experience suggests that we are a fit.

Nobody “takes a chance” on the high-achieving Black woman with potential. Instead, we get bombarded with questions about what we’ve been doing the last two years and statements that express doubt about whether or not we are capable of performing the job tasks adequately. If we’re offered a position, it’s usually some administrative support role with a shitty salary under the supervision of someone who shouldn’t be left alone with a goldfish.

Almost a year ago, I sat being interviewed by two non-Black women. In that interview, the following statements were made:

“You’re really confident.”

“I believe you could do well at this job.”

“That was a great idea!” (followed by her writing down my idea that I’m sure she used}

“You seem really competent.”

After an hour of that, one of the same interviewers said, “I’m sure you can do the job well, but I don’t know…”

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Mmmkay.

About four months later, I saw that the job was back up on the company’s website so apparently, the less qualified candidate they hired (I already know) didn’t meet their expectations.

For all the kvetching that white women do about how unfairly they are treated in the workplace, they still do better than non-white women and even when they “make it,” forget that 1) white privilege was likely a huge part of their rise and 2) there are women of color who should be where they are but aren’t and never will be because white men have convinced themselves that hiring a white woman in upper management is what Affirmative Action is all about.

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This is from an article the NY Times wrote about the fact that this partner class was so…white.

Deanna Mulligan noted that her time off taught her focus and made her realize that life is not a straight line. No shit, Sherlock! Black people could have told you that because no matter how hard we work, no matter how educated we are, we are faced with the prospect that people like yourself can and will shoot past us simply because of systemic racism.

Let me back up one minute. Click here and scroll down to where it says “Leadership” and see all the white faces that run the show over there.

Am I saying she’s not qualified for her position? Not necessarily. But what I know is that a Black person can’t be out of a job for 6 months without interviewers behaving as if all the knowledge they previously acquired has leaked from their ear and evaporated, thus disqualifying them from the position. What I know is that for all the articles I’ve seen on LinkedIn about not staying in a position for too long because you risk becoming stale and unattractive to future employers, every Black person I know who has tried this is believed to be a “job-hopper” by white interviewers and passed over.

So I guess these employment hacks, like “leaning in” and bouncing every 10 months only work for white people; the men first, and then the women.

I watched this video where Deanna Mulligan talks about her “unorthodox” rise. It’s only two minutes but you’ll hear the delusion I’m mentioning in this blog post. “Find your passion,” “be yourself” (since when has being yourself EVER worked for Black women outside of rap?), “hard work” (Black women are and have always been the hardest working people on the planet – we have no choice).

In that video, the claim is made that she mentors women. I wonder how many of her mentees are Black.

To the people who’ll say she probably had good connections, I’ll offer this: because Black people are often boxed out of the positions that qualify someone to be a “good connection,” we’re back at square one. The fact is that white people are in a position to close ranks at whim and if they want to hire the mediocre son of a golfing buddy over the brilliant Black MBA, that’s what they do (which is why I don’t listen to white people who claim Black people want a handout when they are the original makers and takers of handouts).

By the way, by the time I post this, I would have written an e-mail to corporate headquarters asking why every single person listed under the “Leadership” heading on Guardian Life Insurance’s website is white. Deanna Mulligan is the CEO and the other woman is head of Human Resources and well, we all know about white women being in charge of Human Resources.

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The Wayward Daughter On Religion- Pt. 2: Meeting The Aunt We Never Knew

To my Aunt Jacqueline: thank you and may we redeem the time.

Earlier this week on Facebook, I shared a status of a mother delivering stillborn twins. Based on the caption, I got the impression that the parents knew their children would be stillborn but still wanted to have birthing photographs done because, in their words, “stillbirth is still birth.” When I shared it, I accompanied it with the customary trigger warnings and a brief family history. My mother is the only living girl of my grandmother’s 8 pregnancies. The reason for that is because my grandmother was carrying another girl that died in utero. My grandparents knew that she would be born deceased. My grandmother, due to convention at the time, carried her until her body naturally went into the labor process.

I shared the status and moved on with my day. If you read my original blog on religion, you’ll recall that part of my journey has been acknowledging and honoring my ancestors. It is an African tradition and if you think about it, it makes natural sense to stay connected to the people who are responsible for where you are today; though they no longer inhabit a fleshly vessel.

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As I was going through my normal practice of communing with them, I started to think back on the post I shared earlier that morning. Never having heard a more obvious voice, “She is an ancestor, too” boomed. The “she” is the stillborn baby girl that my grandmother carried. All at once, I started bawling. You see, I’m the only girl grandchild of 6 grandchildren. I always wanted a sister; an older one. I don’t have one. I always wanted a blood aunt. I don’t have one…or I should say that I lived my life without one. I immediately texted the woman who is like my sister, NegraWithTumbao, with my “revelation.”

We talked about it and she gave me the idea to give my aunt a name. And after that, my spiritual imagination awakened. I feel I know how she would have looked, which foods she would have liked, how she would have lived. I imagine that she would have had the gift of sight and that’s what would have bonded us. I know she would have loved me and I know I would have been able to tell her anything in the strictest of confidence and she’d always honor that.

The most perfect part of this is that she used a FB post that highlighted her own experience to remind me that she’s here. If I know nothing else, it’s that when your eggun or the universe or the deity you serve wants to get a message to you, anything is up for use.

Spiritual awakenings are interesting in that they usually come after great loss. Mine did. But, the magnificence of loss is that when you pay attention, you realize that everything you lost is being replaced with something greater right before your eyes. Most times, we’re too consumed with worry to notice it right away but in the stillness, even if it’s a baby who leaves before they come, your eyes are opened and you become cognizant that you’ve gained so much more than you lost. I lost a husband and in return, I gained a sister. I lost a job and in return, I gained the opportunity to make money using my gift and doing what I love to do. I also gained the aunt that I always lamented not having.

It doesn’t matter if your eggun lived 80 minutes or 80 years, they each have something to offer you, and their love, the thing that never dies, will still do its perfect work.

 

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Advocacy: One of the Many Things That’s Nobody Else’s Business

We’ve probably all seen it. A post or meme telling us that we’re not really pro-(fill in the blank) if we don’t advocate for any number of groups that we likely aren’t a part of. The authors of these posts and memes wag their fingers at us and tell us, “If you only support _________, but don’t support _____, _____, _____, ____, ______, and _____, then you’re not really supportive at all!!!”

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Well, I call bullshit.

Who a person decides to lend their support or advocacy to is their business. Further, it doesn’t take away from their character or level of compassion or charity.

As a Black woman, I do enough emotional labor. I won’t be guilted, shamed, or forced to add every groups’ problems to my plate.

Black people are good about (rightfully) being upset when other minority groups expect us to do labor on their behalf in the fight for justice. We think about how we fought before, during and after the Civil Rights era while other groups reaped the real benefits of our hard work (hello, white women), and we are dismayed that anyone would dare part their lips (or open their laptop) to demand we do even more.

Well, that’s how I feel about being a Black woman and Black womanhood. For centuries we have stood alone delivering everyone else out of their muck and mire. We have written, orated, fought, protested, and everything else for everybody else; no matter how dreadfully they may have treated us (hello…well, everybody).

We advocate, argue with, blizzock friends over them not supporting other oppressed groups that never sever ties with their friends who don’t support us. We put ourselves in harm’s way to champion people who do not reciprocate on the same level (hello, black men). We even rationalize the bad behavior of other groups just to justify continuing to advocate for them.

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To this day, nobody can explain how a movement largely predicated on men being violent (in bathrooms, no less) has anything to do with women’s failure. Are we supposed to be bodyguards and jump in front of flying fists meant for someone else? If men are causing your problem, deal with THEM. Meanwhile, people with dicks have ALWAYS been a problem for women.

Then, we get the blame when those groups don’t quite advance like they think they should have (though they manage to get more consideration that we do); even when it actually has nothing to do with us.

So when someone dares to declare that I have to throw myself into the embers again for every whimsical cause or neglected demographic that pops up or I’m not “real” or “pro-Black” or “pro” anything else, my first inclination is to tell them to shut the fuck up.

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I mean…G-d is a Black woman so I don’t feel a need to stand in Her way by marching and arguing with people online in the name of “social justice” over someone who expressed views like this about Her image.

This is normally the place where I’d go into all of these stats and post hyperlinks to report upon report proving the trials that Black women and girls face. But, I’m not going to do that. I’ve done it in other posts and frankly, my desire to justify my perspective on this particular matter is spectacularly low. Needless to say, the information is out there for anybody who cares to look for it.

These people already know that though. They already know that nobody advocates against Black women’s own interest more than Black women. But, guilting Black women into doing more labor than their fair share is and has always been the “in thing” to do.

The funny part (cause there’s ALWAYS a funny part) is that these same people will boldly tell you that it’s not your business what they spend their money on when they post their multiple GFM links on your timeline. They’ll tell you who they choose to sleep with is their business while simultaneously telling you that if you are just as choosy about who you date/sleep with, you’re -phobic or -ist.

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The upshot is this: I wish people no harm regardless of their stripe. I hope people find their way. I hope people find the support, love, and total health that they need. I’m just not going to be the one helping aaaaallllll those people do it. I advocate for Black women and girls; straight or lesbian. Dassit!

Not only is that my right, it’s my business.

 

 

Have Mercy: The Wayward Daughter On Religion

The last almost two years have involved monumental change for me. What I thought would kill me, made me stronger. I got the opportunity to practice self-care by walking away from things and people that were no longer good for me. A door opened to allow me the chance to get paid doing what I love. I gained the older sister I always wanted but never had. Best of all, I experienced a spiritual awakening that I needed but never knew I did.

I’m like many people. I grew up being taken to worship services every week. I went through the rituals and practices by rote. I didn’t choose it. It was chosen for me from the cradle. Many of the other people knew me before I knew myself. They also knew my parents before my parents knew that I was on the way. It was tradition. It was formulaic. It was choreographed almost perfectly. I knew exactly when to stand, sit, and bow my head. I knew what to do if I messed up. Even the prayers, what was supposed to be intimate communication with the Creator of the universe, were mechanical.

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But, this new season required a new perspective on how I tended to my spirit. I told you that my previous spiritual practice was like many people. Now, I’m going to do what many of that many do not do – tell the truth. After decades, I found that I really got nothing out of it. There were lots of platitudes and control by fear. But there was never the connection that I needed. On top of that, as someone with anxiety, telling me that “God” could say “yes, no, or wait” was never a sufficient explanation for unanswered prayer.

I was blessed, however, in that my soul sister really did open me up to that which has fed my soul. She is a santera in the Lukumi tradition. It is the practice of honoring and communing with one’s ancestors as well as reverencing the Orishas, African deities. It’s been less than 6 months but in those 6 months, I’ve learned a lot. Even more important, I’ve encountered what I was told I was supposed to experience for decades in the belief system I was “born into.” Here are the first five experiences so far in my journey.

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1. New found confidence. One of the hallmarks of my day is communing with my ancestors; called eggun. These aren’t just the ancestors that I know, but those going all the way back to the beginning of the bloodline from which I came. I’ve experienced a different level of confidence knowing that even though they no longer live in this realm, they yet live and are acting as guides and protectors. They have my back, which is something you can hardly get from the people you see every day. Further, having recently lost very close relatives (2015 and 2017, respectively), knowing that the love they had for me did not die with their physical bodies but is still being showered upon me every day is a comfort like none other.

2. Freedom from guilt. Instead of what many call “being convicted,” I receive guidance. I no longer walk around thinking about if what I did or said was wrong. I don’t have to wonder if something happened as divine retribution for something I did, said, or thought three days, months, or years prior. I don’t feel guilty when I experience real and valid feelings about people or situations. There is no scolding; just redirection.

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3. Validation of my intuition. To piggyback off of #2, I’ve received much validation of my gift of intuition. My intuition took a beating during my rough patches. I stopped being able to trust the dreams and intuition that I had been experiencing since I was a young child. As it has recovered, one of the things that is happening in the natural world is that I’m constantly receiving signs that I was not crazy. I was not wrong. Those people that I haven’t particularly liked and people said it was wrong to feel that way? I’ve received proof that I was right to distance myself from those persons. Those opportunities that I turned down or walked away from that people said I shouldn’t have? My eggun is allowing me to see where I was indeed right to leave. Those people who were malicious, or who I suspected were jealous, or envious or had some other bad intention for me? Their ability to hide is now impossible. The best part of this is that there is no finger wagging about how I’m supposed to love everybody because God does. There is no inner pressure to forgive those who are not worthy of it lest God not forgive me. There is no admonition to put on a phony smile. There is complete validation of who I am and who and what is best for me and my spirit.

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4. Answers. I don’t just mean answered prayer. I mean real-time answers to real questions. I’m no longer sitting around wondering if what’s in my head is the real answer or if, in fact, I’m going to play the “Yes, No, Wait” game again. This has saved me literally hours of futile searching, kvetching, and worrying in reference to the most pressings things in my life. My eggun haven’t been wrong yet and something tells me they never will be. There has not yet been a need for me to convince myself that my confusion or curiosity is a part of the “mysterious ways” of the Creator.

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5. Kinship. This is arguably the most important part. Anyone who has studied the Bible will know the anecdote of when a pregnant Mary met up with the pregnant Elisheba (Elizabeth), mother of John The Baptist; the man who would grow to baptize Jesus. In this story, when the two pregnant women met up, Elisheba’s womb leapt. The meaning of the anecdote, or so it has been taught, is to note that even before birth, Jesus and John The Baptist knew that they would have a special relationship. I can relate. When I am communing with my eggun, my spirit bears witness. When I am petitioning Oshun, I feel it. The other night when it stormed and I was awakened and immediately began to petition Oya, I knew it wasn’t in vain. I said to my sister today that I feel that your spiritual beliefs should be as habituated to your spirit as your ear is to your mother’s voice. You don’t have to see your mother to know it’s her speaking. You know your mother.

AsheI’m not preaching and I don’t need anybody to preach to me. I can only relay what I’ve experienced and I can say that I feel freer now than I ever have before.

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