#blackpeople n corporate america notice the white women & asians working late n2 the night, u go home at 5:30PM then complain about a raise
#blackpeople corporate america will never tell us this but they think we r lazy, inarticulate & ineffective which is sometimes true.
This tweet explanation came to mind thinking about my last 5 year stint working a job in which I was motivated to stay and work late, take on more responsibility at the job in an effort to get promoted. When my girlfriend would call me at 7 PM and I told her I was still at work, she’d quickly rebuff, “why are you still at work?” And when I’d have conversations with the few Black American people on the job about how late I stayed a particular night or was going to stay, as we chatted while I was going to get something to eat as they were on their way home at 5:00PM/5:30PM, they’d all spit out a well-known dictum within the Black American community, “they ain’t workin’ me like a slave.”
I began to think of my CFO and how he’d be on the job 9PM/10PM at night walking around jovially speaking with his executive peers, also working late. I thought of the articles I’d read where Congressman were called to meetings 11:30PM – 3AM in the morning to get some bill pushed through to the Senate. I thought of stories I read about CEOs working 16 hour days 80 to 100 hours a week or CPAs working for the Big 4 accounting firms who reported working the same amount of hours during busy tax and quarterly income statement preparation and audit season for clients. I thought of the question, “how is it possible to work that many hours in a 5 day week? I summed it up that they work on weekends and/or from home to come up with these ridiculous hour counts. I thought of how much these individuals got paid; some $1Mill a year, other $250K-$500K a year. CPAs often work 2 to 4 years at a CPA firm making $40K – $65K, then go to a corporate company as a senior accountant or accounting manager and are put on a track to make $90K – $150K; $40K to $150 respectively in 5 to 6 years.
When I walked around the office during my latest time of working at 9PM, I’d rarely see any Black Americans working at that hour. But I would see many of the Black Americans gathered at the elevator between 5;00PM/5:30PM. I spoke with one young woman and asked does she ever work late. She quickly replied no and that, “it’s not about working longer or harder but about working smarter.” I asked her where she wanted to be in 5 years, she said to have her MBA and be within a management position in her current field. I then asked her, “don’t you think that is going to require you to work longer hours?” She said, “yes, I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.” I also asked, “do you hope to get a nice raise at the end of this year of working for our current company?” She quickly blurted out an emphatic yes. While some of the younger Caucasian individuals went home at the sound of the clock striking 5PM as well, there were also quite a few who were around at 7PM – 9PM.
Apres 2007/2008 when thinking about hard work, I often think of Barack Obama and that he, a Black American man (though he’s half White American) was not supposed to win the Democratic Presidential nomination in 2008, especially over a White American woman candidate, Hillary Clinton whose husband Bill Clinton was already a proven great Democratic American President. But yet, not only did Obama win the nomination, he won the presidency by a landslide over John McCain in November 2008. I think it took tremendous emotional fortitude to stay the course and move forward to become The United States of America’s first, so-called, Black American president; he is, after all, half White American.
Once I saw this feat being accomplished by Barack Obama of being the democratic representative to run for office, is when I decided to study to take my CPA Exam, an exam which only 40% of candidates who sign up to take it, pass; the numbers are even more abysmal among the Black American candidates who sign up and take the exam. Every road block I came to in studying for the CPA Exam I thought of Barack Obama and the adversity he overcame to become the presidential nominee and eventually president; he and Michael Phelps. The tireless work ethic it took to accomplish what those two individuals accomplished that year of 2008 was a mammoth and colossal aberration from the status quo. Passing the CPA Exam was the hardest I’d ever worked in my entire life.
As I studied, passing and failing parts of the CPA Exam, and reflected upon my life and future career which I saw as being on its death bed if I didn’t pass the exam, I took a look back at my career and the careers of many White American or other Americans in Corporate America. The arduous preparation for that exam made me realize that either Black Americas are less intelligent and/or put in less work ethic than other ethnicities; a primary reason for the low passing rates among us, of not just the CPA Exam, but and seemingly (as reported in the media) any entrance type/prerequisite exam. Most CEOs of companies and those in management positions in Corporate America have their Masters In Business Administration, CPA, JD etc; Some do not have this educational training, but many do. Many Black Americans have not put in the hours of hard studying and work ethic to obtain the educational and on the job training, i.e. Malcolm Gladwell’s “Outliers” 10,000 hours, but complain about non-promotions and advancement.
I started to delve into the aspects of my career. The most of a raise I’d ever received on my professional jobs was 3%. I began to ponder why that was. I knew exactly why. It was because at the onset of my first job out of college, I wanted to be a Hip Hop producer of musical songs to rap lyrics. I left my jobs everyday a 5PM, rarely staying past 6:30PM to complete or get extra work done or asking for more responsibility on the jobs and was often times goofing off e-mailing my cousin or girlfriend all day or writing journals in Microsoft Word on my work computer. Add to that the fact I am a Black American male and there you get the lowest raise a job would offer an individual as a simple cost of living inflation raise. On my first job, I was angry about it and quickly made steps to leave. My second job, my manager gave me warning that he knew I was jerking off and that I was not carrying as much work as the rest of the team and that I should step it up and contribute more. But I really didn’t care, I was living in New York, closer to my dream of becoming a Hip Hop producer than one could get. I was leaving the job every night by 5:30PM going to my apartment to produce a beat on my ASR10 Keyboard beat machine sequencer.
I got fired from my first job in New York due to my lack of enthusiasm. I found another job 6 months later, which after my first 6 months there, I was working under a new Accounting Manager who quickly noticed my weaknesses in lacking attention to detail and was on me like white on rice. She reprimanded me for minor mistakes and tardiness. I’d get to work at 9:20AM – 9:30AM every morning as opposed to 9AM because no one ever said anything. When she did say something, from that point on I was there every morning at 8:30AM – 8:45AM and making sure during the day I covered every inch of detail of my work to doting my “I”s and crossing my “T”s. But she eventually ended up firing me anyway, on a day no less, when she checked my work, there were no mistakes and I turned it in two days early and asked her for more work to do or if she needed help on any special assignments.
After that termination, I could not find another solid job for 3 years, literally 2003 – 2006 I was unemployed. Employers would not touch me. One thing I noticed is that I was not articulating my experience well to seem very knowledgeable about accounting. I also noticed that I had a lazy drawl to my speech pattern and delivery which my current live-in girlfriend would point out to me as well. At age –, I immediately began to work on my accounting, speech and vocabulary skills; finally 3 years later I guess I perfected it and someone agreed to hire me.
To address another matter regarding why Black Americans leave at 5:30PM; after a 3 year break from work, on this new job which I was glad to receive; ready and willing to work prodigious overtime hours, I noticed that I quickly learned my job to every last detail by the first year. My supervisor did not offer me any raise, which I didn’t want or feel I needed because I was getting paid $20K more than 3 years ago. Shortly after the first year, I told the CFO that he was underutilizing my skills and I could take on more responsibility. During the same period, the company shifted part of the accounting responsibilities to a shared services group and this severely cut into my work; with not much more responsibility, I began to hang around work less frequently and leave at 5:30PM with the rest of the Black Americans and other co-workers who felt that to be an appropriate hour of egress.
When the second year on the job rolled around; I noticed a 3% increase in my paycheck. I was livid, especially after making a great contribution to the team the first year and being told so through various e-mails by the manager who hired me. I quickly requested a meeting with the CFO and Director of Accounting. In that meeting I laid out my contribution, how I had saved the company money by filing the excise tax returns in a timely manner, which they had not filed timely a few times prior, to the tune of late penalties of $15,000. I presented all the things you read in magazine articles and blogs they tell you to do and enumerate to your superior at raise negotiation time. The meeting boiled down to the CFO telling me no, I would not receive more than 3% due to certain mistakes which he could not properly detail and recapitulate to me; I’d receive another 3% in Sept, which this was now June. I tried to propose a compromise to give me the extra 3% now as a retro-pay; mind you this only added up to $1,800, which was currently less than they were paying employees for job candidate referral bonuses. Also, unbeknownst to him, I was in his office listening while he was on the phone with a department manager giving little resistance and ultimately approving of more than a 20% raise to an employee. I made up my mind at that moment I was leaving the company and started going home every day at 5:00PM. The problem with leaving the company, it was 2008 and during the time of the housing crisis economic fall-out – Mr Hank Paulson “Mr. Bailout” – and there was not a job to be found.
I tell that story because often times it is the case, even if Black Americans do play an integral part on the team and make major contributions they still get looked over for raises and/or promotions they can economically feel. To add to the story, I was seeing White American young women and men getting promoted to supervisor of their position every three to six months which I know a raise came along with as well; some of whom I did not see working late nightly hours. So a Black American sees this and can quickly become prostrated. But, it is also often the case that Black Americans are the ones who leave at 5:30PM every day, are talking loudly to friends on the company phone or their private cell phones during work hours, they get into work late and leave a little early. After putting in 1 to 2 years on the jobs they are walking around talking about how much smarter they are and should have gotten promoted or given the opportunity. While that behavior could fly for many White American men and women, Black Americans you must stop the aphorism of lethargy and stick to the saying, “we must work twice as hard to get to the same place