Someone once said Hell is other people. This can be very true, especially if you’ve ever had the misfortune of working for a terrible manager or coworker. However for Black professionals, our horror stories, our “Hell,” are compounded by many forms of racism we endure constantly at these many companies.
Erica Stallings, a lawyer, and blogger, recently wrote an article about the mental and emotional fallout Black professionals experience when leaving a toxic work environment, otherwise known as corporate trauma. An article expanding on this topic, as well as a podcast episode with Erica discussing it is coming soon, but in the meantime, this article is going to take a bit of a detour.
What is the detour?
Acknowledging that although many work environments can suck and make us want to run into ongoing traffic, there are still bright spots in corporate America. These bright spots can be seen in leaders who understand the importance of their role, being fair, responsible, and democratic. As such as are employees who feel valued, respected, and engaged, often because of this leadership.
So, if the years of dealing with BS has made you a cynic unable to see any sense of silver lining the good in people, we at Blackness and the Workplace understand. It’s hard but necessary to not let corporate trauma and its baggage hold you back. If you let it, corporate America has too much power over you.
It can be difficult to realize when this trauma is approaching, so, to help here are some clear signs that your job is going well.
Your role expands: Yes, additional work can be a problem or at worst a sign that your department needs more funding and more employees, but it also depends on the types of assignments/work you’re given. Are these new assignments challenging for you? Forcing you beyond your comfort zone? Ask yourself why you’re being given these new responsibilities before you start complaining.
Your manager engages you: Articles upon articles have discussed terrible managers, especially on this blog, and one common quality of a terrible manager is their lack of engagement. That right there is a killer. If your manager is asking you questions, coming to you for help, and wanting your input, that is a good sign.
Your coworkers look to you: Many people prefer to follow than lead. So, when leaders start to emerge among the group, most naturally flock to them. Similar to the above, if your coworkers are asking you questions or looking to you, it’s because they trust you.
Other Are Watching: Word of mouth, positive or negative, spreads quickly around the office. If your manager likes you, they are singing praises about you to others within and outside your department. What this means is that others are paying attention to you, they see your hard work and value, which can greatly benefit you when it comes time for promotions or transfers to other departments you want to work in.
So, might be reading this and saying, what about money? Of course, getting a pay raise is nice but money only tells half the story. Sometimes a job is going well and you don’t see a raise, at least not in the beginning. Yet, if things continue to go well, trust us, the money will come.