Let’s face it, even in the best jobs, even in our DREAM jobs — the ones where our workplace is made up of people that feel more like family than coworkers — there will be moments when you will be engulfed in a flaming hot rage because of an email, a convo over lunch, something said in a meeting, or an unrealistic deadline. And that’s okay! Anger is natural and normal in high-stress situations. As women, it’s an important exercise to allow ourselves to be angry and to validate that feeling. Again, saying it louder for the folks in the back, anger is a valid feeling. That said, what’s not always valid and reasonable is how you handle that anger. Here are a few ways you can tackle and harness your anger at work.Read More
Every day, I am inspired by a host of talented, driven, and intelligent women. Some, I get to talk to everyday. Others, I can only dream about meeting. And until I do, I’ll continue to soak in their wisdom via books, blogs, tweets, and TV appearances (at least for some of them). Here are nine all-star women who inspire me.Read More
Feminists: What Were They Thinking? opens with a flip through an old photo album, showcasing page after page of black-and-white photographs of women. Powerful feminists of all ages, including celebrities like Lily Tomlin, Judy Chicago, Jane Fonda, author and professor Phyllis Chesler, and so many others. In the recent Netflix documentary, these women share what it’s been like fighting for equality in the 1940s, the 1960s, and still today.Read More
I just moved to a nice neighborhood in Minneapolis — which is to say I live within walking distance of several places that would describe themselves as “bespoke” or “artisanal.” It’s a community filled with like-minded liberals who want to feel like they are in an urban cultural center and who prioritize buying ethical clothing and natural food over buying a house.Read More
Being a child-free woman in the workplace comes with its own set of benefits and struggles that differ for everyone. Many studies have shown millennials are shying away from starting families. We’re also seeing a spike in millennials postponing parenthood and opting for a pet. Not to mention the many issues women in the workplace encounter that could contribute to their choice to have or not have children – wage gap, vague maternity leave policies, expensive benefits, etc. We’ve previously outlined how women without children can support and empower their coworkers with children, but how can moms help out those who aren’t? Let’s break it down.Read More
I laughed. I cried. I ate popcorn. That’s how we’re supposed to review movies right? I don’t know. I’ve never done one of these things so bear with me as I muddle through. Amazon Studios gifted MPLS MadWomen some tickets to an early screening of Mindy Kaling’s latest project, Late Night (sponsored post?) but I promise I will be fair and honest in my review as an unbiased *ahem* journalist.Read More
Minnesota’s summer months are upon us, which means packed schedules, vacation time, and cabin escapes. It’s our time to get outside and soak up the sun with our family and friends while we can . But life can be stressful when you’re juggling work deadlines, family weekend getaways, and wanting to make the most out of our summer. I’ve organized a few key tips to stay balanced during our summer months!Read More
I talk a good game, I really do. I’m not going to lie, being a mom in the ad biz is hard as hell. Late nights, work trips, emailing during a talent show (I see you). Even from a position of privilege — I can afford full-time day care, I have a partner who is supportive and pushes me toward new challenges, and family in-town who are willing to pitch in — it’s hard.Read More
Making mistakes sucks. It’s embarrassing, it’s awkward, and in the worst cases, it leads to some detrimental, unfixable problems. We’ve all heard horror stories about someone making a slight error in their work that ended up costing them their job.Read More
Earlier this week I had an interview with a woman-owned company that sells to national retailers. The owner of the company is a white woman who doesn’t have a college-degree and refers to herself as "self-made". Most of the employees are also white females. Though, scrolling through their team online, I did see several Asian males and females and a few polished white males. The recruiter who connected me to the position let me know they had just hired a Colombian man to join their international sales team — but, basically, in the office and on the website, there were no brown people.
With this context in mind, I reviewed the feedback they provided after my interview:
I got very similar feedback to this after a phone interview with another company more than a year ago, so I wanted to deeply consider this feedback. For reference, the interview with the other company was also an interview with a white woman, who owned her own business prior to taking her current role just a few months earlier. Since it was a phone interview, I don't know whether race was a part of the equation, but a simple LinkedIn query would reveal me as a black woman.
I often feel white women pride themselves on their independence, but are intimidated by that same characteristic in women of color.
Why is thriving in an independent contractor role a detriment to my future role? Because I enjoyed independence, does that mean I can't also enjoy collaboration? Getting past the initial disappointment in failing to land the role, I spoke with several friends and professional coaches who validated my feeling that this was an instance of white saviorism and white feminism.
My experience has been that white women want to support black women, but only on their terms and conditions. These white women wanted a new hire to add some diversity, but if they had the option of hiring a black woman who demonstrated a past of failures and hardships, rather than a successful black woman who was "self-made", would they have?
I shared the feedback in an email thread of close friends. A white male colleague responded briefly, “it does seem like a coded way of saying they think you’d be difficult.”
The thread was forwarded around and landed in the inbox of a white female hiring manager who thoughtfully responded with the following analysis:
This experience is different than not landing a job because you are overqualified or because you didn’t pass a personality quiz. This design director leading the interview commented that she was “wondering about how [I] would mesh with [owner of the business].”
That statement seems like an opportunity to bring me in for a second interview, to meet the owner of the company. Why wouldn't I get along with the business owner? We were both, after all, “self-made” women. Her background is in industrial design, mine is in fabrication and architecture.
The idea that I wouldn’t be a good “culture fit” and that I might be difficult to work with, after spending less than an hour with me, felt problematic. I don’t think a culture fit is something a diverse workplace is looking for — I think a cultural fit is something that the agency and the employee should mutually work toward.
Black women have historically been excluded from feminism, and it felt important for me to share this modern-day encounter with a women-owned business in this current climate of white-centered female activism and inclusive hiring practices.
This happened earlier this week — then today I interviewed with an Asian male creative director at an agency. I spoke about my experience building a direct-to-client design service over the past several years. He shared that, “many people who work here have that entrepreneurial spirit.” I’m sharing all of this to say…. As WOC in the workplace we can reclaim our power by recognizing that we are also interviewing potential employers. If your assets are being perceived as burdens or if your past experience is being perceived as intimidating, then you have to ask yourself whether that workplace is the right fit for you.
// written by Kelsi Sharp