One thing I struggle with as a young professional is what to do with my hair. Usually I end up putting it into some sort of roll tuck and pin scenario if i’m going to be on set with the client or go to a meeting — but today I decided I didn’t want to pin it up because the shoot was so early in the morning and I was running late.
So I just wore my hair in a bantu knot out. (which looked super fly btw)
Keep in mind, no matter what I wear to work if the client has only talked to me on the phone/emailed with me there’s usually the handshake accompanied with a "wtf I had no idea you were going to be black, and my mind is blown because you speak-ah the english so good" face. Even when its a company that’s pretty racially diverse, not going to name anybody (see my work blog).
I guess because of my last name on emails everyone is assuming i’m latino/chicano/hispanic/mexican/spanish and mentally prepare themselves for that ahead of time? This still happened when my last name was Clemons though, either way they see me and their face reads:
"…you’re about 30 shades darker than I expected"
You get used to it. You shouldn’t — because its insulting, but you do.
Usually by the end of the shoot, when they realize that:
1. I know what the hell i’m doing (shots/angles/presentation).
2. I know how to conduct an interview (all the shooters, that are older and white usually are looking at me for the final say)
3. I can discuss at length whatever enterprise technology you’re making this video for because I did my homework, and I know how to get you to say it in a way that consumers will (a) understand and (b) want to buy.
They change their attitude.
It’s this weird trade off though, of sacrificing a bit of who you are for social convention and also realizing the importance of a first impression.
Even now, as I’ve embraced my hair— my “blackness” and feel the urge to express said blackness in my appearance, I still have my parents voices in my head:
You have to dress better
You have to speak better
You have to look better
…and somehow (even though you never will) blend in…
Because no matter how educated you are, the wealth of knowledge you have, your outward appearance of sophistication, some people will still look at you and just see a negro.
So, I return to my question. Was the fro a bad idea?
If you’re familiar with online marketing, you’re probably aware of the power and potential of a personal brand. Here are techniques that can help you gain that extra edge in boosting your personal brand:
1) Create a personal brand logo.
2) Develop a personal brand tagline.
3) Get professional portraits taken.
4) Get a notification whenever your name appears online.
I do not know this person. LinkedIn is officially not safe.
Perhaps at some point I accepted an invitation to connect with this man because we are relatively in the same industry, but I do not personally know this person. We have never met.
I don’t know about all you other professional adult people but, I’m on LinkedIn to engage in business. I’m there to make new connections, explore new opportunities, and gauge movement my industry.
I’m not there to flirt. (Even if I am the biggest one I know, I understand boundaries.)
My profile very thoroughly provides a snapshot of my almost decade of experience, honed skill set, and unique approach to content, social media, and digital writing.
Yes, my profile also has a photo of myself, which is standard and required for anyone participating on the site. It is the same profile picture I use across all social media profiles. Nothing special. Nothing provocative. Just me in a white button up shirt.
And yet, that’s what someone has chosen to take their time to message me about: how I look.
Not my experience. Not my skills. Not my industry philosophy.
Just…that I look good.
It’s flattering, of course. I won’t pretend like it’s not nice to receive compliments about my appearance — and I do appreciate it — but it’s a little disheartening that it had to happen on LinkedIn. Such an inappropriate use of the platform.
My entire, impressive resume takes up 95% more of my profile than my photo. And even if this man acknowledged my intellectual qualities and achievements, it’s telling that he instead chose to remark on how I look.
It’s a reminder that women are not equal in the workplace. We are not equal in mens’ eyes. Our talents take a backseat to a pretty face.
This is not true everywhere. I am fortunate enough to work for a company that has never once made me feel this way, which has perhaps blinded me to many realities. But this message. This stupid, benign LinkedIn message made me stop and reconsider.
Oh yeah, things really aren’t great in most of the professional world. There’s still a lot of work to be done.
Maybe I’m reading into this message. I hope that I am. But, unfortunately, I don’t think so.
So professional men, keep the nice compliments coming. Just keep them off LinkedIn.
Try sending a nice note about our professional skills, portfolio, or achievements next time. Be part of a better working world so we can better work together.
make your way through my tears & i’ll relax (there’s a wave of grace)
[young professionals au PART 1: clarke is a fourth year resident in cardiothoracic surgery on her rotation in the ER when lexa, a young foreign diplomat, breaks her arm and needs a cast.or: they’ve both been through wars, and sometimes second love has really great timing. // for siimulacra bc i rly like her & she liked this au //a03]
make your way through my tears & i’ll relax (there’s a wave of grace) . there’s a light in my skin that’s ben dimmed / imma dig you up & give you what i took / pull you up & tuck you in & make you look / imma smooth your shoulders down & calm what’s shook / it was all forlorn if only for a season —purity ring, ‘repetition’
Your interns are frequently quite incompetent, so you’re not actually surprised when you get a page just before you’re about to take a nap to come to the ER and consult on a fractured wrist. And you love your job—you really do; you love using your hands and your brain and your care to help people get better—but sometimes you really, really hate your job.