I knew that I didn’t want my side hustle to stay a side hustle…
If you’ve ever thought about starting a business, side hustles (jobs) are a great way to build and develop your ideas, while maintaining a steady income. Side hustles give you the opportunity to start small, as you learn and work your way up. They are also a way to bring in additional income, and to just pursue multiple things you’re passionate about. The nice thing about side hustles is, you can commit as much or as little as you chose to, and there is a ton of flexibility involved.
We always hear the saying “your network determines your net worth”, but what about those who are afraid or shy away from approaching unfamiliar faces. Believe it or not, I get really awkward (in my opinion) when it’s time for me to speak to someone about what I do. I wouldn’t consider myself an introvert per say. However, I have always struggled with “small talk”. I’m fairly reserved and if i could have my way, I’d prefer to people watch.
My first experience with networking came early on in my career, in public accounting. We would have after work mixers, and team building outings that forced us to meet new faces. Initially, I would go off in a corner or stick with familiar faces, to avoid having to talk to new people. It wasn’t until I became a business owner that I had to force myself to actually talk to people. The one thing I will say is, the more I did it, the easier it got.
“…despite having a child, I still had goals and a deep desire to be great at whatever I chose to do.”
After a breakup that seemed much like a divorce, I was completely distraught. Maybe I watched too many movies or read too many love stories, but nothing about starting a family was a fairy tale for me. I was left with a mortgage, a baby and 4 bathrooms with little energy to clean them. I always wondering how families failed to keep things together for the kids, but the relationship just no longer worked. I was completely embarrassed that my family failed and it weighed on me deeply.
It had become emotionally and mentally draining and I no longer had the strength to fight.
Between balancing my career, motherhood, love and trying find myself – I was exhausted. My desire to outwork everyone and climb the corporate ladder had became a blur. My life was filled with work. Corporate America without children is hard enough and all I could think about was my baby and sleep.
I guess without having an open conversation about it – I figured I would take some time off to get myself together. I did not help with many of the bills. I actually only paid my car note and what I could. I read a lot of books and it said most wealthy families allowed the wife to stay home and raise the kids, so I figured we were good.
I’ve spent approximately 12 years working in Corporate America. I’ve worked as an accountant for multiple organizations, and for the last 7 years I’ve simultaneously worked on an entrepreneurial endeavor. My personal business has never affected my ability to perform in my corporate role, and when I found myself in a position where it was possible, I had already made a decision to leave.
Corporate America has given me quite a bit. I have been afforded the opportunity to work in multiple industries, and have been equipped to serve and adapt in any environment. I have gained a ton of technical knowledge, in and outside of my industry. I have gained soft skills, made friends, and most of all my skin has been made TOUGH! Working in Corporate America has not been all bad; there are perks to working in a corporate setting. There is structure, and many times, there’s financial security. So, why was I constantly looking for 5 o’clock?
I will begin by saying two things: (1) These have been MY experiences during the time I spent in Corporate America, (2) while the subject in itself may be controversial, it needs to be discussed, …oh, one more, (3) I am not racist nor sexist. I am simply sharing my experiences. So, if I refer to any race or gender, in a manner in which you’re not comfortable with…I am simply sharing MY truths. However, I will refrain from being very specific, with naming companies, for obvious reasons.
The day after I posted my first official blog on Corporate Momming, I got this text from a friend, verbatim, “…Can you please give me some pointers on how you survived Corporate America, with all the black girl magic? I am struggling with my current employer and the fact that they told me to ‘conform, or else’. Whenever you get a moment, I’d appreciate any advice. Thanks.” THIS IS A REAL THING; IT’S A REAL ISSUE!
Honestly, I don’t know where to begin here, and if I share everything, we’d need a couple posts….and maybe I’m not opposed to doing that, I don’t know! However, for now I will speak about my experience, overall. I will start with my college experience. I am a graduate of The University of Michigan – Ross School of Business, ranked No.7 in Best Business Schools in the WORLD, not Michigan or the United States, the WORLD. I did not get in due to affirmative action, nor did I breeze past some test or anything. I graduated an elite high school with a 3.9 overall GPA, and attended Michigan on a full scholarship. I earned my spot, love!
There were about 300 students in my graduating class at Ross, and of that number there were only about 10-15 blacks. While Ross was a great school, I don’t think there was enough focus on diversity and inclusion, at the time. I struggled with finding resources while there, and it wasn’t until I went down the road to Eastern Michigan, for grad school, that I got the real help I needed. Professors and administrators who advocated for minority students.
Upon graduating college, I worked at two of the most prominent global accounting firms. At one of the firms, I had a friend who helped me get recruited. I remember having my first meeting with my assigned partner (who was a white male), and he told me basically that it’s difficult being a black woman in the firm, and that my expectation shouldn’t be to grow as fast as she (my friend) had…*rolls eyes*, oh ok. I had then been partnered with a buddy, who was a black woman, and in so many words she told me to be careful about how I speak because black women are viewed as aggressive and angry. This is all a weird way to be onboard, right? RIGHT.
Well, much of professional career has gone like that! I have found that a black woman exuding excellence and confidence of any sort, makes people uncomfortable! It’s almost as if you get hired to remain in the same position you’ve always been in, but expected to do way more than you’re compensated for. I have found that non-blacks (men and women), when dealing with black women, are extremely passive aggressive. They (non-blacks) struggle with articulating their concerns, and many times will attempt to throw you under the bus, instead of addressing their lack, in communication.
It is not something that I’ve just witness for myself. In the last 5 years, I’ve seen friends and colleagues be fired from jobs, or completely tormented, because their excellence exposes insecurities of their leadership! Showing up at jobs they hate, seeking out therapy, and causing self-inflicted health issues, all in the name of climbing the corporate ladder. I’ve seen sexual and racial discrimination go unanswered and ignored, and culprits moved around the company to avoid being terminated. Is it 5 o’clock, yet?
Let’s not forget the issue of hair. I can remember a time I came to work with my hair braided and my direct manager, lifted one of my braids and said “wow, how do they do this?… how long would something like this take?…my friend has a mixed daughter and maybe we can help control her hair with these…” …THEN she SNIFFED my braids! GIRL, (1) Don’t touch my hair! (2) Stop acting like a black woman’s hair is a science project! (3) You’re annoying!! (4) Is it 5 o’clock, yet?
Diversity and inclusion efforts don’t address the real concerns, in most cases, we are left feeling like Issa, insecure. If you watch the hit HBO series, Issa is stuck in a dead-end position that she can’t afford to leave. We watch her get tongue-lashed for trying to problem solve, and is treated like she’s an idiot, when she’s an intelligent, college-educated woman. She’s stays and deals with it, and the problems begin to spill into her personal life.
Much of what I talked about just scratches the surface of why I did not like Corporate America. I don’t miss it, the constant checking for 5 o’clock, because then I could be done with that shit! I wrote a post discussing how I found my peace, when I left my 9-5, and I will work as hard as I can, to never go back. For those working, and experiencing similar circumstances, I encourage you to talk about and address the concerns real-time. Don’t wait until you have anxiety or are being walked out, to communicate what’s happening.
“One of the greatest values of mentors is the ability to see ahead what others cannot see and to help them navidgate a course to their destination.” – John C. Maxwell
Navigating through ones career can be scary, and sometimes daunting! Not because we hate our jobs, but more so because we don’t know how to get to the next level, or unsure of what the next level is, altogether! There are even instances where advancement is all about who you know (corporate politics are real), and you don’t know anyone!
Early on, in my accounting career, I didn’t know too many accountants who looked like me. There weren’t really any in my classes, and I was really just choosing to major in accounting because I enjoyed the class! My mom was a hairstylist, I was a first generation graduate, in my immediate family. There was really nothing anyone in my family could tell me about a career in accounting or corporate politics, and I soon realized I needed a mentor.
“The best math you can ever learn is how to calculate future cost of current decisions”
I can remember attending networking events with my business partner, and asking every self-employed individual, “How did you know it was time to leave your day job?”. No one really gave a straight answer; it would always be something generic, like “when you know, you know”, or “you can just feel it”. Never any real instructions on the steps taken to become a solely self-employed AND successful entrepreneur. I would listen to Ted Talks and wait for speakers to tell me the magical answer, and I’d leave thinking “YOU HAD ONE JOB”!!! Right? WRONG!
“Sacrifice is a part of life. It’s supposed to be. It’s not something to regret, it’s something to aspire to.”
In a perfect world, we can get and do everything we want, sans making sacrifices! Unfortunately, the world is far from perfect and if you want to be successful at anything, something will be demanded of you!
My sacrifices alternate based on what’s a priority at the time, and typically it’s something like laundry has to get done on certain days of the week, or I’m sleeping less because I have to get through work. I check my mail less, or we may have to eat out a night or two because work has to get done.
Sacrifice looks different for everyone. However, I’d like to discuss overcoming the fear of sacrifice, and how it has changed my life. I’ve talked about (in every post) how I recently left my corporate 9-5 to become a full-time entrepreneur, and I’d like to rewind to a year before I left. Subconsciously, I was going to a day job and showing up everyday as if it was something I wanted to do forever. I knew that I wasn’t interested in climbing the corporate ladder, and I knew for a while that I wanted to pursue J&F Advisors, full-time. However, I was just showing up, not making real plans, and playing it pretty safe.