I Am Not Your "Office Oprah"
An Experience of Being “The Only” Within an Archaic Corporate Structure.
Have you ever had the feeling like there is a spotlight on you with every step you take? With every move you make, you feel the heat from the lamp beaming on your face like a sunny day, sounds quite lovely, doesn’t it?
Well, unfortunately, I’m not talking about a standing ovation-worthy performance in vegas, sorry about that.
I’m actually describing an experience of what it can feel like to be the only black woman in the office within the corporate sector, stuck in an archaic structure that’s designed for you to only go “so far” within it.
Although this is one experience and perspective of being “the only” within the workplace, sadly this is not a unique situation.
Being the only woman of colour, navigating the BS and hypocrisy of the corporate structure comes with a few extra caveats which can include (but in no way limited to) either; dampening the essence of who you are, having to watch everything you do and say without ever putting a foot wrong, along with additional mental stress caused by juggling different personas.
That’s quite a lot to deal with on a daily basis but you do it because let’s be all the way real here, you need the paycheque and deeper than that, it’s what you’ve been told from day one.
“The Speech” — to give 110% at all times aka “don’t give them any excuse…” you know the rest.
Keeping Up with the — Code Switch
For those of you who are not familiar with the term and its uses, you can find out more in this
Metro article here.
The code switch would have to take place daily without fail or hesitation, meaning you would have to swiftly collect yourself if your secret vernacular spilled out, adding a quick wide-eyed scan of the room to make sure no one heard for good measure.
If you were ever caught slipping on your linguistics it could be detrimental to your already diminished opportunities within this type of corporate structure by confirming whatever ridiculous stereotype that had been put upon you from the day you started.
How you speak does not and should not determine your capability to do your job.
Playing the Game — Inaccurate Perceptions and Being Overlooked
Now that you have mastered the subterfuge of the code switch, everyone feels safe around you and you’re ready to take the next step and officially apply for that internal role that you’ve been doing (for free) for quite some time...
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Why I Am Not the — Office Oprah - Being “The Only” in an archaic corporate structure
By TC Hails