The Universe Works in Mysterious Ways

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Thursday morning, I was on the subway listening to some soca music making my way to work. As I was jamming, a random thought popped into my head – I want to go to Harlem.

I want to go to Harlem.

What a random ass thought. I’ve never been to Harlem before, and I would love to go, but why did that thought pop into my head at that time? So, I tried to analyze my own thought – English in me came out. What I realized is that I didn’t want to go to Harlem Harlem, I wanted the sense of black community and soul. I wanted Luke Cage. I wanted this.

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I wanted to feel connected to something greater to me. A pretty random intention. Old Me, probably would have just ignored it, but New Me felt like this was important. If this is something that I’m craving on a subconscious level, then this is very important.

I put my intention out there in the universe with my Carnelian stone in my hand and meditated on that intention for a while. Yes, I did this on the subway on my way to work. Nonetheless, once I got to work – work happened and this little moment disappeared.

Fast forward to the end of the night, where one of my coworkers tells us about a bar called D.W. Alexander, my team and I were going to grab a drink after going Go Karting and dinner for our Team Event. #insideindeed

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In either case, my co-worker said she thought I might enjoy the atmosphere there because it has a library vibe. Look for yourself…

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From the moment, I stepped into the bar, I could totally picture myself just sitting there with a drink in my head reading a wonderful book. BUT folks it gets better – there was live music at the bar the night we went there. Usually, I hate live music in a bar because it’s always rock, but today it was soul music. Turns out every Third Thursday of the month the bar turns into the SoulFest Lounge. Who the fuck would have thought? The exact type of music I wanted to hear earlier today.

Added Bonus: The performer who was performing was wonderful. I felt chills and goosebumps so many times. D.W. Alexander: The Speakeasy in the Heart of Toronto, and we happened to go on the third Thursday of the month.

The Universe Works in Mysterious Ways.

I’m not a very religious person but ask and you shall receive. It’s never failed me now. I’m not sure if it was the moment in the subway, the crystal in my head, or just luck that my colleague brought us to this awesome place. Whatever force or energy brought us there, I’m grateful. Extremely grateful because I now know where to go when I’m in the need for some soul and good black company.

Pride Parade in Toronto: Walking with Indeed.com

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This past Sunday, I got the chance to walk in the Pride Parade in Toronto. More than that, I was able to do so with my best friend and my company, Indeed.com.

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Although my bestie does not work at Indeed, she was definitely rocking the swag. This experience was honestly the BEST experience of my life. You can laugh or blame the alcohol, but honestly, it was the people I was surrounded around that MADE this experience for me. People who were showing their authentic self, unapologetically. Being themselves without holding back, without hiding, and without fear.

Representation matters! I will continue to shout it from the rooftops, and this year, not only, did I see people expressing who they are, I saw BLACK people expressing who they are. Being apart of a minority who checks a lot of boxes of otherness in my identity, I always love when people, especially, black people being who they are.

I could go on and on, but I want to keep this short and sweet. I never felt so included, so loved, so seen, and so me. The only thing I would change was the weather, like why did it have to rain on my parade. All of those who came out know that the rain DID NOT stop us!

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I absolutely LOVED that the theme or slogan that I saw everywhere was “Celebrate Diversity.” I hope that this notion of celebrating diversity means that we celebrate ALL forms of diversity. I strongly believe that Pride is not just about diversity in sexuality and sex, I believe its about inclusivity for ALL people.

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My Boss WAS a Dick

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Now, I am not saying saying “my boss was a dick” because he is no longer one, I am saying “my boss was a dick” because I am not longer working for him.

When I got my first full-time permanent position I was excited; even though, it wasn’t in my field of study. I was ecstatic because I was 22 going on 23 years old, making 33K a year with relatively no bills. If I added everything up, I probably spent $500 on bills a month, which left plenty of money for me, food and alcohol.

Nonetheless, after my first month on the job, my boss – the woman who hired me – was fired, and less than two days later a new dickish boss started working. I tried, I really did try to make the best of a bad situation. I tried to make him feel at home, to feel welcome. However, two months into the job and I was miserable.

He made all these empty promises. He gave out half-ish compliments such as “you actually did your job well.” He made rude and unnecessary questions – “what are you doing? What do I pay you eight hours a day for?” I was the Activities Director. I planned and hosted activities, organized major events and sold trips to the students. After planning a Holiday Party for 200+ students and staff, several staff members and students LOVED the party. Activites. Games. Food. Beverages. It was a lot of work, but it was really well done. Nevertheless, my boss found me and said nothing. Actually, not nothing, he basically said it wasn’t a disaster and would have been better if I had alcohol. Alcohol for a school events with minors. *include face palm here*

Now, don’t get me wrong, I know that I’m young, but I’m not naive. I know part of the gig is working with people you don’t get a long with. I know that there will be personalities clashes, BUT I shouldn’t wake up every morning dreading going into work because of ONE person. I shouldn’t have anxiety attacks when hearing my bosses voice. Nor do I need to be recognized for the work I accomplished, but the very least I should feel appreciated, and I didn’t. Simply put, I wasn’t appreciated because I wasn’t.

As a result, I did what any person in my position would do – I found another job. It took about 4 months, but I am NOW employed with Indeed. I’m very happy and excited to be working with this company. I haven’t even started and I feel more welcomed and at home with Indeed, then I did at my previous job. I’m making more money and I finally have benefits – something my dickish boss has been “working” on for 6 months.

Anyways, I could ramble and give examples as to why he was dick; in addition to why I and other didn’t like him BUT we reached the part of the story where I got my revenge.

Ever since my new boss was hired, he made it very clear that he believed my position in the organization was unnecessary. He made it clear that he thought planning and executing activities for 100+ students was easy. Even when the auditor stated that the students loved “the teachers and the activities” – activities that I planed, he rolled his eyes and walked away. As if it was ungodly for the students to actual appreciate my position.

This, when I received my offer from Indeed, I gave my current employee two weeks notice. However, at the end of week one, I dreaded coming into work. Just knowing I had to see him and deal with him for another week brought me physical dread and anxiety, so I emailed him and told him I wouldn’t be coming into work that week.

Was what I did unprofessional? 100%

Do I care? NOT AT ALL!

When you’re a boss, when you’re in a position of power- your personality and presence makes or breaks a workplace. Your employees don’t owe anything to the organization or the job, but their loyalty to their boss will either make them stay or leave. People will give up promotions or wage increases, if it means working with a good boss. In other words, who you work with is JUST as important if not MORE important than who you work for

All I’ve been thinking this extra week off is – since my position is so unnecessary and easy, good luck hiring and training someone to do “nothing.”

How you treat people matters, and if you treat them like shit – best believe karma will come and kick you in the ass.

Job Searching is a Job in Itself

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Yes, I am currently working. However, I am not where I want to be. As a result, I’ve been job searching. I really want to work in my field, and although I really like working in the Student Services Industry it doesn’t give me much of a chance to utilize my English literacy skills. I recently went on an interview – well, two interviews – for an editing position. I was getting all the right vibes, they liked me and I liked them. One of the employees was actually giving me tips on how I should complete the editing test.

Th first test I did, I got 73% – not very good. But they liked me enough to call me in for a second interview. I re-did the editing test and I got…88% a lot better than the first time. They told me they would let me know by Monday, so I waited. It’s the waiting that’s hard, the not knowing. Eventually, Wednesday rolled around and I got a call.

The owner informed me that I didn’t get it. According to him, an employee, who is currently an Editor wanted the chance to become an Editing Supervisor. They pleaded their case. According to him, it was a tough decision. He could either go with me -who they liked and thought would fit in well – or they could go with someone who was already working with him. He did tell me in my first interview that he’s “loyal to a fault.” He always tries to promote within. So my job, the job that should have been mine disappeared right under my eye. He said the usual lines – “I’ll keep in touch. I’m keeping your file open. I’ll let you know when something is available.”

My mom called “bullshit.” She said if they wanted to hire me they could have. Who knows she could be right. The thing that sucks is that I always get this far. Not to be cocky, but organizations and companies always love me. They love my personality, my education background, and my potential. Then it comes to the part where I have to stick the landing, get the job, and shit like this always happens.

I don’t have too much to complain about, I know I’m lucky. Instead of looking for a job, I’m looking for the right job. I’m lucky that I can still pay my bills. I’m lucky because I have a job. However, my appreciation for what I have does not mean that my feelings aren’t valid. Job searching is hard. They say “job searching is a job in itself.” I just have to have faith, and pray that the right position is coming my way.

When is the “right” time?

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When is the right time to take a leap of faith? When is the right time to make a change? When is the right time to jump into the abyss? The answer is never. There will NEVER be a right time to jump out of your comfort zone, but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t…

For the longest time, or as long as I can remember I wanted to be a teacher. So straight of high school, I applied to a joint Bachelors Degree and Education Program, 6 years then 2 degrees: BA in English and French and BEd. However, in my last year of university, I decided on a whim to apply to Master’s program. By the grace of God, I actually got into a program very last minute with funding. I abandoned my dreams of teaching in a high school and pursued my new dream of teaching in a college.

The big difference between the two (high school and college) was the amount of freedom I received as a teacher. Becoming a TA and teaching first-year students English Literature was my dream come true. More than that, I was good at it and I loved it. Choosing the material. Making lesson plans. Teaching. Answering Questions. Marking essays and exams. Man, I could mark forever.

The issue is that once my courses finished, my thesis deadline kept getting pushed back. A one year program turned into a year and semester. I am currently still working on it, seems like it’s going to be two years. The further the deadline, the further my motivation went. I felt like I was chasing a pointless dream. I felt like I was chasing the dragon, chasing that first high that would never happen.

Thing is, even if my masters was done to teach at the college level you need minimum three years of experience. How do you get teaching experience if people won’t hire you? Oh, it’s a very simple answer, you don’t. Catch 22, you need experience, they won’t hire you, so you never get the experience. Thus, instead of working in the area that I love, I’m working somewhere that I don’t mind. It’s good enough money, and it’s simple enough, but it’s not what I want to do. I settled. Well, I can’t even say settled, I grew up. Similar to everyone else in this capitalist world, I have bills to pay and I need a job to pay those bills. But I think I’m ready to stop settling, to work in an area that I actually love. Not something I could be good at, or something that I could see myself doing, but something I want to do.

This is me making that change, and stepping out of my confront zone. Choosing to be inspired. Choosing to be excited and energized. I will finish my thesis. I will get my TESOL certificate. I will get teaching experience. I will teach in a college. My goals and dreams will come true, I just have to be patient and diligent.

Black Hair in the Workforce

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Since I’ve started working at my current job, I’ve been wearing wigs. Honestly, it was easier to wear wigs in the beginning because I was still getting accustomed to the 9-5 adult lifestyle. After I was adjusted it just seemed easier to wear a wig instead of doing my natural hair.

If we haven’t guessed, I am a black female. I have 4C hair, which essentially means I have tightly coiled hair. It’s very hard to see my curl pattern unless I define it in some way, ie. twist, braids, etc. The other thing about my hair is that I shaved it. Well, not ALL of it, but most of it. I shaved off the sides and the back of my hair. However, in May I decided I was going to grow it back. Point is, right now, my hair isn’t that long. Probably 3 or 4 inches around the sides and back. But it is long enough to catch, and do styles.

So recently, I decided to take the plunge and do my natural hair. My coworkers have been asking to see my natural hair for a while, but I wasn’t sure what I would do with it. Last weekend, I was supposed to go out with my partner (they canceled), and I wanted to do something different, a twist out, which means twist my hair in two strand twist, undo the twist and leave it out – kinda like a curly afro. However, because I was no longer going out and I didn’t want all my time and effort to go to waste. I wore the twist out to work.

I must say, I was extremely nervous. There is such a misconception in the workforce that black natural hair is unkempt or unprofessional. In reality, it takes black females a lot of time to do our hair. Personally, it took about two hours to wash, condition, twist, and un-twist my hair. Even with all that time and effort, and the added bonus that I was looking mighty fine, I was still worried that my boss or coworkers would think that I looked unprofessional. How fucked up is that? Even in 2018, I worry about if wearing my natural hair would affect the way that others see me. Lucky for me, I was welcomed with compliments and commendations. I felt accepted, which means my natural hair will be making more appearances at work.

The reality for a lot of black females is –  natural hair can be a liability to one’s job. Wearing black natural hair in the workforce can be seen as an act of defiance against the white-collar work industry. The hair that literally grows out of my hair is an act of resistance and boldness. In spite of that, this is not why I decided to wear my natural hair. I wore it because I wanted to get over my fear. I wanted to get over the unspoken rule “wigs, weaves and straight hair for the interview, and natural hair once you’re in the door.” I shouldn’t feel obligated to change my hairstyle for the fear that my qualifications will be overlooked by my afro. I am remorseful and ashamed to know that I have done it in the past. Changed the way I looked – not for fun or because I can – but because I really wanted a job.

As the years go by, says the twenty-three-year-old, I want to present my truth. I want to be the truest form of myself. It seems as if accepting my natural hair in all of its glory is the first step of many steps.