I’m not particularly religious but the Bible story of Jonah and the Whale seems to be a perfect way to describe my corporate experience so far.
For those that are not familiar with the story, the following is my understanding of a Googled summary: Jonah was ordered by God to go somewhere. He refused and boarded a ship to go some place else. In response, God sent a storm in the ship’s direction as punishment. The ship’s crew blamed Jonah for disobeying God’s instruction, so Jonah offered to be thrown overboard to save everyone else. He was swallowed by a whale at some point and spent 3 days and 3 nights in its belly praying to be saved; after which the whale threw him up onto land.
I have been working at my current place of employment for almost a year now and it has been nothing but an emotional rollercoaster. Of late, however, the lows have been more frequent than the highs and the main cause of this has been my manager.
From her first day, she has been trying to implement all these supposedly positive changes to reinvent the image of our department. I played along at first. I respect[ed] her, not only because she is my manager, but also because in a company where most of the women holding managerial positions are white, I was happy to have a black woman as my manager. I saw her as someone who I could potentially relate to and develop a mentor/mentee relationship with. I was unspeakably deluded.
I basically began experiencing what being victimised by an older black woman in the workplace felt like. It was awful. I could feel the lack of respect when I walked in every morning. Opening up about how I felt didn’t prove to do me much good either, as I just ended up being put down even further. Some of the comments directed at me even attacked my personality and my background. The only way I could end that conversation was by bursting into tears.
After a weekend of trying to get over what happened to me, I learned that in the corporate world, there are a number of things I won’t want to do and even more things that I don’t believe in. As much as there should be mutual respect in the workplace regardless of one’s position, things won’t always happen that way, and to make it worse (for young adults in particular), we have to accept the way things are for the sake of our careers.
I just hope that 2018 brings me much better experiences.