Category Archives: Career

The career category help young men of color understand and navigate their advancement in the corporate, military or private industries. The category is selected to get in, stay and excel in the corporate workforce.

#BMXCEL

While attending the Black Men Xcel Summit in PGA National Resort and Spa in Florida, I was given the chance to learn, laugh, network, golf and just enjoy influential people of color. This is my second time attending the event formerly known as the Black Enterprise Golf & Tennis Challenge.

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Every Labor Day weekend, BE creates an environment that provides access and resource for people of color making “money moves”. (I get that from Cardi B.)

As expected, the event was well attended and very positive. This event, in parallel to the magazine, falls into a niche for people of color that are pursuing & finding a path to success. This summit, as other BE summits, is educational and evolving. Workshops and coaching sessions this year included “Golf: The Sport of Business”, “Succeeding While Black”, discussions on community engagement and a panel on prioritizing mental health.

 

The reason why I found it appropriate for this blog audience, I think it’s important not to confuse movement with progress and while I’m running a business, working and traveling, it doesn’t mean I’m successful at it. You have take time to invest in your yourself and your goals in iterative patterns. It’s not always a fun holiday weekend but it’s necessary to identify and walk deliberate paths to your goals.

 

“Dreams without goals are just Dreams”

Denzel Washington

#BMXCEL is a great environment to resource individuals that are successful and maybe a little further down their path than you.  As with success in anything…it’s not convenient and placing myself in this environment annually provides me examples of success, whether their individuals, companies, or strategies.  It’s a checkup of where I am and where I would like to be.

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Last thing…”Mental Fitness” is the newest term I’ve learned and it’s so obvious. It’s the same as working out, it helps you with your physical fitness…your mental fitness also should be cared for in the same level of importance.

Malik Yoba discussed his 5 Pillars: Spiritual, Mental, Financial, Physical and Emotional…he shared how he works on each of those tenants in his life. I believe that covers just about everything but you find your own. That panel on mental health helped me identify other ways to improve, I hope you can look to make the same improvements in your day to day life.

MPM

“Poor people stay poor by trying to look rich, while rich people are busy getting richer acting poor.”

Ramen Phase

 

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Handling leaving a job & moving on in your career

A rainy day finally happened.

Without a job lined up, on Feb 2nd I turned in my resignation. I’ve never quit a job without having another one lined up. I quit because I was being over worked and after joining the company my quality of life had not changed for the better. Yes, my commute was about 15 minutes walking but when the owner of the company that hired me stated, “We gave you 3 full time jobs” I knew I had to leave. About ten days later with his CEO present, during my 90 day evaluation, he adjusted his statement with “we gave you 3 tasks”. My response was, “Ok…but if each task required 35 – 40 hours per week, what’s the difference?” I wasn’t angry or mad, and I said it with a smile on my face. I had also been very vocal about the level of work asked of me. The Tuesday after that meeting the CEO said I had to be “flawless”. On the Friday following, I turned in my resignation. I won’t go into the culture that people of color are expected to work harder than their white counterparts, that’s not what this blog is about, but it’s a very relevant to this story.

One of my coworkers said, “I don’t think you’re going to be able to handle the work coming your way.” Another coworker said, “I knew you were F@#$?% 2 weeks after you came on board.” Both of them were white, that’s not saying that if they were black I wouldn’t believe them but basically I was set up to fail and staying on board any longer than 6 months was going to cause more problems.

That’s the background for this blog.

I was able to quit without worrying about a job for a while because I have a savings account, “rainy day money” saved up to look for another position. I also used the time to get many of the things done that I had been putting of in other arenas of my life. Also, because of my reputation and resume, I had no insecurities about getting another job. One of my managers said, “I feel like we chewed you up and spit you out”, I laughed and said, “Pretty much”  He asked, “Are you worried about having a 5 month job on your resume?”  I responded, “In 25 years, I’ve never left or quit a job in less than 2 years, so that speaks volumes…I’m good.” He offered to write a recommendation letter. I said, “Thanks” and agreed,”that might help.” Throughout the entire process, I’ve been professional and 2 managers offered recommendation letters.

The time off gave me some clarity and allowed me to reset some priorities with my other business endeavors. With a lot of home tasks done, my business tasks at a good stopping point, I can focus on the job I accepted and start Monday recharged. If that doesn’t work out, my old position from last year has an open offer so there’s a parachute there.

PS…it’s crazy waking up not knowing or caring what day it is, I’m looking forward to retirement.

Key takeaways:

  1. Finances provide freedom to make a decision that’s best for you
  2. Your reputation follows you…the good and the bad
  3. Leave and start professionally
  4. Keep a positive attitude

MPM: Middlepassagementor@gmail.com

 

 

 

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Learn how to receive feedback

A couple of weeks ago, my brother Devon and I met two women at Due South over Yards Park. We had a discussion that related to one of my blogs, I’m usually proud about my blogs so I asked them to read it. They looked at the blog on their phones and within seconds, both agreed to read it later. Then after a feeling out period they told me how they really felt about the blog.

“Well, most if not all your blogs are too long,” they said, “you’re going to lose your audience because they’re not going to read this.” What’s even more ironic, one or both of them were editors of some sort…great. My punctuation was commented on too. Jeesh.

After receiving their feedback I’d like to give advice about feedback.

When someone gives you feedback;

  • Don’t get mad.
  • Close your mouth and listen.
  • They are not hating on you, they are helping you to become better.
  • Understand what you need to do differently and apply their feedback.
  • Thank them for the feedback, even if you don’t like it.

Lastly, not all feedback is supportive, constructive or helpful. People have their own motives for giving advice. The more you listen to feedback, the quicker you’ll recognize feedback that is well intended, and genuine.

So, thank you Michanda and Iris!

I tried to keep this blog short and will continue to keep shorter formats. If you disagree and I should keep the longer blogs, please let me know.

MPM

I think it’s very important to have a feedback loop, where you’re constantly thinking about what you’ve done and how you could be doing it better. I think that’s the single best piece of advice: constantly think about how you could be doing things better and questioning yourself.  Elon Musk

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YOUR attitude will shape YOUR destiny.

I wanted to publish this blog so badly but it’s taken me forty something years to understand the importance of attitude. I feel comfortable discussing it now because I needed to learn and understand the effects of my attitude.

My friend Keisha would always tell me, “…you gotta kill them with kindness”. I believed her but I didn’t think I was capable and I did not want to be a “punk”.

If you’re kind, it doesn’t mean you’re a punk.

In my militant Morgan State mind, I always thought it was weak to be kind. Let me explain where that originates. Black males are always dealt a higher level of criticism, our ideas are never good enough, we’re always expected to fail because most of the time, we are set up to fail. I call it the “Obama Syndrome”, no President Obama wasn’t the first black male to experience a blanket scrutiny but in the highest position in the country, it’s easier to see a bias during his term unlike we’ve witnessed in the past. Black males don’t get the benefit of a doubt, another chance or an adequate level of support or fair consideration of the circumstances. We aren’t a part of the good ole boy club and don’t have any relatives that can get us access. We may be able to get a reference but for the most part, anytime you start of job, you’re starting from the bottom of the hill with no shortcuts to the top. Thinking back, it was hard for me to react with kind intentions, with that culture of bias. Let me say, kind is not the right word to convey what I mean. Being professional, positive, less sensitive or a little less confrontational, may be what I mean.

Over the last two years I have been working in a position that was inherently contentious. I was dealing with rigid personalities and negatively reactive support. I’m not complaining, I’m use to it, it was the typical scenario I faced and you will face. It wasn’t the first time and it won’t be the last.

The only difference in the past two years was how I reacted to it. In the past, those circumstances always invited a frustration or impatience that exuded in attitude and actions, but in the last two years I didn’t carry that frustration with me. I just did my job and helped everyone as much as I could. I tried to always be pleasant, positive and a team player. I’m not tap dancing and smiling all the time,  I just do the job, get my money and be bigger and better than any nonsense. There were some significant challenges, small people testing me but I just kept focusing on my goal.   I always just kept my attitude positive and it was reflected in my actions. When a shady email came across my screen, I had the reservation to just not respond. I would respond only a few times with a strategic email but nothing like I did before. In the past, I would respond and embarrass myself and my team. I would find myself in my managers office trying to justify my actions. Well…I didn’t have to visit my manager in the past two years and most times, someone else was defending my actions. Over time in this role, I found people supportive because I wasn’t the angry black dude. I was the team player with the great attitude. I had never been him before and I liked it. Well…I’m leaving this position because someone from another division sought me out. They heard I had a “Great attitude” and would be an asset to the team. ME?! (Looking side to side) The two years of being positive paid off. Both of my managers came to me and said, “I support you moving on, you’ll do great.” I was blown away, one manager said, “If it doesn’t work out just call me and I’ll find a position here for you.”  WHAT?! …that has never happened in my life. I’m not saying that I can’t return to any of my positions but my value was never made so clear to me.

So I’m sharing this because I wasn’t kind, I was positive, stayed away from gossip and did the best I could without falling into the angry black man stereotype. Don’t be angry. I mean why?!…you have a job, you can buy nice things, take care of your family and enjoy life. Why fight with people, black or white, that are unhappy in their lives, why give their misery company. Being positive doesn’t mean being a punk or a sell out. You can avoid drama and reinvent your reputation and be seen as a person that wants to succeed.

There’s a few sayings that are relevant here;

“Life is 10% something happening to you and 90% how you handle it”

” Watch your thoughts, they become words, watch you words, they become your actions”

For the first time in my life I can control…as I’m typing this another statement rings in my head;

“He who angers you, controls you”

That’s what I mean, when you don’t respond to the nonsense and you stay above the pettiness, things come easier.

MPM

“A bad attitude is like a flat tire, if you don’t change it you’ll never go anywhere.”

“Your attitude is like a price tag, it shows how valuable you are.”

Ps. The instagram photo is of my goodbye card, my old manager signed it saying, “Robert, I’d wish you luck but you’ll be successful wherever you go.”

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