Three Ways to Navigate Your Workplace During Racially Charged Times
Tips To Survive The Corporate World
We barely crept past month two of the nightmare Trump presidency. From day one, this administration has shown us that they do not believe black lives or immigrant lives or Muslim lives or LGBT lives matter. They are trying to undo any progress made during President Barack Obama’s terms. So basically, if you’re not a conservative wealthy white man, you should be worried. Yes, even the 53% of white women who voted for Trump should be worried. This is a time where we have to decide how involved we want to be in the fight for equality for all. No matter what we do there is no escaping the news. More than ever we have found that our political and personal lives are spilling into our work lives. For a lot of us, it may be new territory to go into our workplace and be involved in conversations about politics or at least overhearing them. When you identify in some of the groups mentioned above, it is likely that you have decreased comfort as you enter your office. Here are three ways to navigate your workplace during racially charged times.
Look for how your leadership responds
Organizations like Nike, Google, and Facebook have all made efforts to showcase to their employees AND the world that they stand with their people. For example, Nike Equality — a video where they state “ Equality should have no boundaries. The bond between players should exist between people. Opportunity should be indiscriminate. Worth should outshine color. The ball should bounce the same for everyone. If we can be equals here, we can be equals everywhere.” Alphabet (Google), Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, Uber, and Stripe co-authored a letter formally opposing Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration. Pay attention to how your organization responds to Trump’s executive orders. This is a clue as to where they politically stand. If you’re in a pro-Trump environment you may want to consider taking step two to ease your discomfort or finding a new place of employment. Organizations should try to ensure that all their employees feel supported and safe. Profits should never come before human rights.
Find your squad
Squad goals are not just for Instagram or travel pictures. Now more than ever it is important to find your squad at work. Your squad may consist of one person but nonetheless, it is important to have. A squad at work provides a safe space for you to express how you’re truly feeling. Use your squad to vent to about the political climate or even to discuss how your employer is reacting or not reacting to the administration's policies. Make sure you leave your office before discussing your true thoughts to avoid any potential backlash.
“In America, I was free only in battle, never free to rest, and he who finds no way to rest cannot long survive the battle.”- James Baldwin. Now more than ever it is important to know how to take care of yourself. Even if you work for an organization that is “woke“, you will still need to protect your #BlackJoy. When you’re waking up to police brutality videos, discriminatory executive orders, racist Gofundme pages, Jeff Sessions being confirmed, and the Grammys and Oscars not giving our black artists their things, sometimes you may need to call in black. We owe it to ourselves to take care of ourselves. Try creating a routine on Sundays that involves activities that calm your mind, body, and spirit.
These next four years will not be easy but neither was the past 100 years. One thing I know for sure is that we are resilient people. We continue to rise, succeed, and dominate no matter how many systems are set-up for us to fail. Your workplace should be a safe space for you, however, we must acknowledge not all workplaces are created equal. With that knowledge look alive, find your squad, and honor self-care.