Personification of Representation

 

When I entered the hallowed halls of Corporate America over a decade ago, I always held a vision greater than working a 9-5 or for someone else.

A job for me, was always a bridge to elsewhere, an enabler to go and do what I was passionate about. Having worked since I was 16 years old as everything from a cashier, file clerk, bakery and deli help, and bank teller; to more professional field-based internships in Aerospace and Manufacturing, I was no stranger to getting by until the next opportunity presented itself.

 

 

 


When I entered the hallowed halls of Corporate America over a decade ago, I always held a vision greater than working a 9-5 or for someone else.

A job for me, was always a bridge to elsewhere, an enabler to go and do what I was passionate about. Having worked since I was 16 years old as everything from a cashier, file clerk, bakery and deli help, and bank teller; to more professional field-based internships in Aerospace and Manufacturing, I was no stranger to getting by until the next opportunity presented itself.

However, the longer I worked a traditional job I found myself more kindred to the idea of a career, where my accomplishments served as a beacon of what could be.  When one tucked their head low, worked long hard hours, and represented what being black and a woman was in a way and in a place where neither was seen for very long. The challenge was intoxicating, because I represented so much more than myself. There was the perceived glory of being successful in a space where many who looked nothing like me failed or came short. And for a while, that was enough.

Then, it wasn’t. One day the expectation of me rising to the occasion for something at it’s core I didn’t care much about—just didn’t seem appealing anymore. The challenges seemed to be obstacles for the sake of, bricks hewn from straw for fiefdom building. I had loved ones and interests I actually cared about, that were going unattended to while I proved myself again and again.

It occurred then, that conquering Corporate America wasn’t in the cards for me. Perhaps existing in this space and time as a leader, a mentor, and peer was enough.  Maybe my being was sufficient to inspire or even convince others that it was possible.  Sometimes you just need to see someone who looks like you, to know that you can.

The legacy that I hope remains from my career, are all the things that will serve me well in entrepreneurship. Being hands on enough as a leader to know what my team is doing, but trusting enough to let them do their jobs. Remaining naïve enough to believe the impossible can be achieved, but rooted enough in reality to know what pitfalls may come. To always remember that I am an example to my team and customers, demonstrating who and what my brand represents: courtesy, innovation, and grit. 

Truly a personification of representation, when given an opportunity.