Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Don't let an unexpected period ruin your day

No, my latest advertising sponsor is not Kotex, Playtex or Stayfree (fellas, if you're lost on this one, just bear with us). Nor are I gross and lacking of proper home training. I just thought it would be helpful to touch upon the potentially catastrophic e-ffects of a misused punctuation point. Today, my friends, we are going to discuss the period.

Can you recall the last time your boss took you to task over a minute, insignificant detail? Nonetheless, after surviving an email exchange of Watergate proportions, in which you more than likely explained four different times (in three different ways) all the what's, when's where's and why's behind every move, your cubicle confidence remains pretty high. After all, you even tossed in some of those extra-fancy bullet points, sub-bullets and indentations to help girly truly comprehend just how hard you worked on said project. Now, just when you are about to stroke your (swelling?) ego in anticipation of the your boss's "Great Job!" or "You ROCK!" or "Thanks a bunch!" email that's sure to follow, you bear witness to a punctuation parasite that threatens to make you fall mentally ill...

Thanks.
Jane

No comma. No magnificent-for-midyears exclamation point. Nada. You might even begin to wonder how the once happy and healthy explanation point suddenly broke its leg and dwindled down to a speck of an existence. Before you decide to get physical, however, let's ponder a few ways to deflect the bastard-anger back to its original source...

1. Ignore it (I know...LOL!!!)
2. Reply with an enthusiastic: "You're very welcome...let me know if I can help you with anything else!!!!" with enough !!! tossed in to make girly get the hint.
3. Toss your "b" of a boss the almighty "evil-one," (the Cocoa's most-fierce career operative) the smiley. Next, proceed to smile threw cursing teeth until your daily lunchtime vent or workout session.

And, if all else fails, as I (sometimes, but not often enough) like to tell myself: get over it.

:)

R.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

FIRMWIDE MEMO: Building Security, Cocoas Need a Man!

I think I missed the Firmwide memo stating that black women professionals are desperately seeking a man. Particularly, the uniformed kind in my office's lobby with small flashlights in their hands. I bet you the memo explained why “Psst…psssst” is the first and last noise that I hear everyday. Matter of fact, I betcha the higher ups even included a little research to prove that these men’s antics are harmless and really okay.

I think I missed the memo, but maybe you heard. Did it teach the roots of building security’s most-fave snake-like sound, slur or “word?”

Surely this memo psycho-analyzed the professional world’s boys in blue. Or course, all in an attempt to ease the embarrassment of Keisha, me, and you. Among this research, I bet the best, is how the Firm explains the actions of the newly-hired, harasser in the bright orange vest. But my fellow Cocoas, please do not react with disarray. My usage of “bright” and “vest” would never mean "smart" and/or "401K." For this little silly boy convinces his mind, his greetings of “Ma” or “Sweetheart,” to my ears, ring music divine. And, lest not forget: “Yo, hon, I got what you need,” in a lobby full of my firm clients, investment bankers and cream-colored colleagues.

Yeah, I am sure the letter tried to make sense, of these “officers’” über confidence, which, by the way, is void of logic and lacks all pretense.

Like with all other issues within today’s sight, I wonder if the memo discussed said phenomenon in black and white. But, honestly, I cannot say, I remember my blonde colleagues expressing dismay, at the words of the vesters in the lobby each day. Ask me if they bother them, too, and I’ll tell you “no way!” For dudes definitely know what not to say, when it comes to the office’s most-coveted cups of café au lait.

But maybe that's because society would never paint my blonde babes, "beauty” charity cases, less feminine, or J-Lo downgrades.

But, you know, as much as building management tries, it is run by a bunch of Rick, Todd and Clive’s. No, I am not referring to “whites,” but rather to “men,” who cannot seem to acquire proper gender acumen.

So sad for security, as I'm sure the big guys failed to explore, what the little guys in the lobby really must endure. For, unlike police officers, who get to carry powerful guns, or like "New York's Bravest," who climb tall ladders and have big hoses to run, building security doesn't have a manly toy to show off, not one. So, I guess wearing a girly-colored vest is way too emasculating and not much fun.

So, perhaps we should have some sympathy on these sons, because, apparently ladies, the fellas' career embarrassment has only just begun.

R.

Monday, August 22, 2005

It's Monday morning and I'm tired...

Tired of going out Friday night and meeting weirdoes...
Tired of going out on Saturday night and meeting more weirdoes...
Tired of going out with new "friends" and/or potentials, only to find out that they're weirdoes, too...
Tired from rising at the crack of dawn on Saturday b/c my body just cannot believe it's not Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday or Friday...
Tired of going to the gym early Saturday morning dead-to-the-world tired b/c I stayed out late the night before (and more than likely had marginal fun)...tired.
Tired of racing through my routine, only to next race to the assembly line sweat shop that doubles as my hair salon (truly an NYC phenomenon), hoping to get on with my day within 2 hours....
Tired of hurrying up to wait - 30 minutes, mind you - for a new do that will inevitably reverse itself during a not-so-fun time out with a group of yet-to-be-discovered-weirdoes later that night...
Tired of eyebrow raising, seething and "um, no she was not here before me"-ing through (now!) 2.5 hours in the salon...
Tired of arguing with Yanet (though I love her to death) that just b/c client #1 sat at the wash bowl 1.5 minutes before me, doesn't mean she should get blown out before I do - especially since I finished the dryer nearly 15 minutes before said chick...
Tired of receiving major 'tude from the nail shop owner b/c I refuse to sit with nine of of the 10 nail techs (it's not my problem that they cannot file a straight line)...
(Literally) tired as the vanity-spawned famine sinks in thanks to nearly 7 hours without food consumption...
Tired of realizing that it’s almost time to leave for a night out, and I haven't done a thing to the apartment since last Saturday, tired...
Tired of getting hyped to go out...blah, blah, blah...too tired to mention it again...
Sunday = Tired (I think the Lord was definitely on to something when He proclaimed it the official day of rest...He really does know us better than ourselves;-)...
Tired of going to bed late and mildly prepared for work because I didn't handle all my business before 10p…
Tired of setting the alarm 15 minutes earlier than usual – in a poor attempt to reclaim the 30 minutes stolen by Entourage – only to rise 15 minutes later than usual. So tired.
Tired from speed showering, mediocre Monday ensembles and daredevil cosmetic applications on the 2 train b/c I didn’t have enough time to do better, or sooner…
Tired of competing against rude men (mainly the young ones in suits, you know, the one you who caught your eye on Saturday night) who pummel, knock about and
nearly kill women for the just-became-available piece of a seat in the corner…
Tired of fighting my way onto and off a train full of more potential weirdoes (doesn’t matter that they’re in suits), just to nearly escape irreversible damage to each booby – one takes a hit on the way on, while the other takes one for the team on the way off…

Tired of coming off the weekend tired, only to begin the workweek tired and do it all again come Friday…

So. Very. Tired.

R.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

The Joys (and Spoils) of Chocolate...at Work

Introducing...black folks' newest (Corporate) American Idol! I know...I am really only kidding!

I am a writer who has invited anyone with a literate and "good" eye to view my observations about going to work every day, a la a different sort of flavor: cocoa. Why cocoa (or chocolate, if you prefer)? Well, we're brown (obviously), but more so because the breadth of black girls in the professional world is far too complicated and unique for narrow classifications only based on their assigned race. After all, just like with cocoa, the variety pack of black career women ranges from bittersweet to white (yes, I said it!), with each morsel carrying her own tastes and flavors, not all of which are suitable for pairing with just any industry, job function, title, company culture or coworker. And, as a fellow Cocoa of 28 years, I know: user discretion is advised.

So what's my story?

Like many career black women (a.k.a. Cocoa Girls), I learned a little late that a college degree was not the only requirement for a successful career. So, after three choppy years of work experience, my neophyte resume began to show that only a career “temp” worker or a 25-to-lifer on the run could rival the brief stretch of time I spent at each location.... Job #1 lasted only three months (no, it was not an internship); job #2 included a sour 16 months that ceased thanks to “unfortunate” declines in the budget, and job #3 faulted after just 18 months, at which time I quit, and still marks my longest stint to date.

Since speed interviewing and corporate musical chairs were never sports that I wished to champion, I embarked on a bit of soul searching beyond Macy’s on 34th Street's fifth floor (and to this day, no one can convince me that it’s possible for a woman to have “too many” pairs of black pumps!). I contemplated my best and worst strategies used to garner success in the workplace and realized that it was up to me to decide where I was failing and, actually, if I even really cared! If I did, well, I knew I had to put on a game face of Extreme Makeover proportions and suit up for one of the longest-running battles known to man -- the 40-plus hour work week. And, if didn’t? I figured my crazy experiences spent working in several cities, corporate cultures and industries could provide - at the very least - an entertaining, memorable and funny account of being black, professional, fabulous and female.

I hope you’ll think so too. Enjoy and God bless!

Yours truly, Rachel Star a.k.a. (my personal flavor) “Chocolate Chip