I Earned My 38%. Where Is My Money?!
Today is Black Women’s Equal Pay Day and I am still fighting for fair compensation for myself and women who look just like me. Black women had to work all of 2017 and up to this day in 2018 to catch up with what white men earned in 2017 alone.
My very first leadership role was definitely one that motivated me to continue to climb the corporate ladder and show other women that look like me that we must continue to push forward.
I was working as a frontline customer service agent for a telecommunication company and new to corporate America. It was my first time in this type of role and I was very excited about the opportunity to actually begin a career by doing something I loved to do – TALK! During my 90 day review my supervisor reviewed my performance and I was excited about amazing results. I was so confident and proud until he asked me a question – “Where do you see yourself in 1 year?” I had not even thought about the next day let alone the future. I was more focused on just getting my next paycheck. I looked around the room and quickly replied, ” I want to be a Supervisor like you.” He stared at me, sat back in his chair and let our a huge laugh that sounded like a villain in a scary movie. To this day I can stay hear his voice. I cringed and felt so belittled and unvalued. I wanted to cry, but I fought back the tears and ended the conversation. In just a few minutes, I went from feeling excited to feeling like a child that was just reprimanded by a parent. I walked away and called my husband and explained what had just occurred. He was very calm and simply replied, ” You know who you are, prove him wrong.” Needless to say, I didn’t quite know who I was but I did know I was more than he suggested.
I took his advice and set out to prove him wrong. I began to focus on exceeding expectations in every area. I set stretch goals. I held myself accountable and I surrounded myself with other women that looked like me that would support, refocus and provide me feedback when needed. This was not an easy task but doing self assessment and understanding what you do well and what you need to change can be difficult. You can only imagine how I felt when I was able to tell this same leader that I in fact had done exactly what he said I could not – I was PROMOTED to Supervisor. My confidence and determination was on fire and this was just the beginning of the many barriers I would overcome. God used this situation to help me identify who I had become – a visionary that inspires and motivates others to be, act, and live differently to achieve your highest potential.
The one barrier that continues to persist is fair compensation but to ensure you truly deserve a seat at the table you must do frequent self assessments and ask yourself some tough questions. Are you qualified? Do you possess the skills needed to be successful? How are you developing yourself? Have you taken additional classes or courses? What does your social media say about you? Just a few questions to start. Feel free to reach out to me and I would love to help you self-discover.
As a leader, I closely review, assess wages for my employees to ensure I am leading by example and promoting fair compensation for everyone including people that look just like me – a beautiful chocolate brown African American women.
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