These Hoes Ain't Loyal: Moving on to Greener Pastures in Your Career
Recently, I was having a discussion with a friend about work place loyalty and her hesitancy to hop back on the job market. For a little background on this friend, she's just like most black women in the workplace: overworked, underpaid, and overqualified. She works in a mid-level position at a small, boutique public relations firm, and as such, there's little to no chance to advancement. She's often asked to do things outside of her job description, and if we're being honest, I don't know why she hasn't told these people to kiss her ass. She's not happy, yet for some reason, she's hesitant to send out her resume.
As with any real issues in her (and my) life, it begins with her mother. Her mother is just like mine; a successful working woman who excelled in her career despite of not having a college degree. Her mom was able to take a low level position and literally ride it to the top in one company through hard work and determination. Unfortunately, that doesn't happen these days. Jumping from job to job based on salary is a luxury, and depending on your career goals, it is mandatory. Our parents would say "who cares about workplace satisfaction if the money is good," while we would say "fuck you and your job, I'm out." When these hardcore "stick it out" views are being used in any and every conversation she has about her job with her mother, it's easy to see how she has internalized this rhetoric of "just hold on, it will get better". It's not right, but I understand.
Some people hold onto this idea that you have to be loyal to your employer, and the smaller your office is, the stronger this idea becomes. For example, the public relations firm where my friend is employed only has 7 employees, three of which are blood relatives. Smaller offices breed groupthink and creates pathways for easy manipulation of subordinate employees. I've pointed out to her countless examples of her shouldering the load of another person in a higher position at the job, just for the sake of not being seen as a troublemaker. For example, she stayed at work after hours, without pay, to complete a project that the boss did not want pay an outside contractor to do. It wasn't her responsibility and certainly not in her wheelhouse of skills, but she did it. And when I asked her why, she simply said: "Well, everyone had dinner plans that night, and I was the only one who didn't."
Sigh. Baby girl, you're still a flower. They can't lead you and then take you. Make you and then break you. Darlin' you hold the power. If you are reading this and you're in a situation similar to my friend, I want you to know that you deserve better. You're not betraying these people by looking for another job; one where you will be treated better and paid what you're worth. Understand that no matter what they say, you're not a member of their family. Because let's face it, they make you feel like family only when it's suitable for them. You're a member of the family until it's time to discuss a pay raise. They're concerned about your happiness only when they get the slightest hint that you might be leaving. These hoes ain't loyal. You provide a service for them, and they pay you for that service. It is a transaction, not an opportunity to incur a debt.
Listen closely to their words and think carefully about all of your interactions with them. You can tell when somebody really cares or when they're just faking it for the sake of getting their way. You don't have to stay, and there are no chains to hold you there. If you feel like it's time to move on to greener pastures, then it's time! When we talk about romantic relationships, we always say there's no reason to stay when you're not happy. The same can be said for the workplace. If you're not happy, you should leave. Don't allow anything that they say to sway you, even when they inevitably lash out at you for handing in your notice. You're not ungrateful, rude, or unprofessional. When you're parents tell you're making a mistake, politely end the conversation and hang up the phone. You don't need to hear that bullshit in your life. You'll second guess yourself enough without someone else adding their doubt on top of it. The grass may not be greener on the other side, but honey the shit is dying and turning brown where you're at. You can't feed yourself with that. It's scary but just know that you're making the best decision for you personal mental and emotional health, and there's nothing wrong with that.