Finding Your Village

As Black Professionals, we at times find it challenging to come as our authentic selves in the workplace. We sometimes put a protective barrier to ensure that we won’t have to continually explain who we are. Or why we do the things we do. For example, I have friends who dread coming to work with a new hairstyle because they hate hearing, “Oh my gosh, I hardly recognized you.” Like sis, my face is the same. The style is different.

One thing that helped me as a professional was building a village of Black friends at work who I can relate to. It has given me the space to share stories and ask for advice from peers that I can trust. It is refreshing to have someone validate those feelings of Imposter Syndrome. Or even have someone relate to you when you notice microaggressions in the workplace. You will always have someone in your corner.

I am so blessed to have created a community at work where I had a space to share my feelings. I got so much valuable advice from people who came before and after me at work. It gave me a whole new perspective. They helped me find my voice in the workplace. I learned how to speak up for myself and learn to say “No.” I also learned how to set someone straight (professionally) if they try and come for me!

If one wins, we all win!

When you find your village at work, it makes your working experience more enjoyable. You know you have someone that has your back no matter what. Even if you mess up, your village will have your back. But don’t be fooled, your village will respectfully slap you in the back of the head and tell you to SNAP THE HELL OUT OF IT! (That’s only if you have good friends like mine)

Your village will challenge your thinking and push you to work harder. Whether it’s just someone to laugh at how stupid a new policy is at work or sharing some helpful tools to get the job done.
You always need someone to tell you the truth. But it has to be the right type of village. You have to surround yourself with people you can trust. People that are willing to teach you but also learn from you. Your village has to want to see you win. Because if one wins, we all win! As black professionals, especially in Higher Education at a PWI, you need support. You may face different roadblocks or situations where we need to vent or get advice. You also might just need someone to go to the beauty supply store or Caribbean food spot during your break.

This post is for the “Committee.” Because of you, I am a better friend. Because of you, I am a better professional. Because of you, we are forever bonded. Thank you for always being there. I will forever be there for you too!

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