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The transition from student to employee can often be daunting, but this was a journey I could not wait to encounter. I thought I was prepared after graduating with my degree, as studying Business Management gave me insight into most functions within a business. However, once I began to make this transition, my degree was no longer a concern, but rather the lack of diversity in the workplace was.

Being a confident, friendly and also firm young Black woman, I was not someone who would shy away from sharing exactly how I felt. I did not realise that my approach in the workplace was deemed rare until someone privately explained to me how Black women tend to shrink themselves in the workplace due to microaggressions. Not being aware of what this word exactly meant, I spent my entire evening that day researching what this word could possibly mean. I read a few articles and knew exactly what the word meant, but had not realised there was a word for it.

The majority of my life I had become use to people describing me as “feisty,” “bossy” or “intimidating,” to the point where I did not let it impact how I felt about myself. Over time, I have chosen to not find the right balance, but to educate people on topics such as unconscious bias and microaggressions in the workplace. When speaking to other Black women, the conversation would always end on, “I guess we just have to find the right balance.” However, this was not something I was willing to do, as I could not see myself shrinking who I am to make others feel comfortable.

I became attentive to the work firms had previously carried out on diversity and inclusion in the workplace, as I knew there was specific working environments I would not thrive in. However, this did not mean I would not come across someone that could not stand my unapologetic confidence.

To be perfectly honest, I got to a point in my career where I simply did not care, but knew that I had to educate others. I refuse to continuously analyse my behaviour and seek ways in which I could have approached something differently to diffuse a situation over and over again. I'd rather continue to push the accountability on firms to educate their employees.