Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Anger Disappointment & Hurt I Currently Feel

There are no words that can express the ANGER, DISAPPOINTMENT, FRUSTRATION and HURT I am currently feeling. It is 2:00 in the morning. I am going to have a good cry after I finish writing this blog.

A few weeks ago a friend, who is a teacher, told me I should apply to be a substitute teacher for Cobb County, which is the county where I live. She said, "You can sub on your days off...earn some extra money. Cobb County pays good and they are looking for subs."

Me: Hell no! I can't deal with a classroom full of bad ass kids.

Her: Yes, you can. Just put in an application. Your qualifications are superb. I'm sure you'll get hired.

Despite myself, I went online and filled out the electronic application for a sub position. Like all jobs, Cobb County board of education asked for three references. These three individuals are then sent a link to complete the electronic reference. I put down the SAME three people I use on ALL my applications. One individual is my mentor and former supervisor. One individual is a former supervisor from an internship and someone I thought was my FRIEND. One individual is a former co-worker. These are people who I thought had my back and who would look out for me...even if they had to lie or make the truth sound extra good. I'm sure we all have people like that in our lives...those folks you believe will come through for you no matter what.

My mentor completed his reference right away and sent me a text message joking, "Hey, I lied for you. Now I'm going to hell!"

My reply: You're probably going to hell anyway!

Next my former co-worker completed her reference. She sent me a text that read: "Done! You know I always got you."

Me: And I got you!

The only reference left was the one from my former supervisor at the internship.

Yesterday, I went online and checked the status of my references. The individual up above still had yet to send her reference. I didn't bother to call her to see if it was okay if I put her down as a reference because again I've been using these same three people for YEARS. I've put this woman on each application I've completed since 2007. I know for a fact she's given me some A+ references because the people who have hired me said so.

Naturally I assumed there wouldn't be an issue if I put her down as a reference for this job. I tell you no lie...I have put this woman down as a reference on EVERY JOB APPLICATION I HAVE COMPLETED SINCE 2007. Though we don't speak that much over the phone, I do shoot her an email or two asking how she's doing, how is her family etc. She always responds. From my understanding, the two of us had a great relationship.

Thinking the reference might have gone into a spam folder, I sent her this email....

Hi "Insert her name,"

This is "insert my name." How are you? I hope all is well with you and your family.

I haven’t had a chance to call you yet because I’ve been busy working. I recently applied for a position a substitute teaching position for Cobb County. I put you down as a reference (I hope that’s okay). They sent you an email about a week and a half ago. Did you receive it? If so, will you complete it? I think the process is completely electronic. So you submit it online through your email. If you could, please write me back. Thank you for your time.


"Insert my name"

Today (well yesterday) after getting off the phone with a friend I checked my email to find this reply from her...

Hello "Insert my name,"

My family and I are well and hope that’s the case for you.

Yes, I received an email asking me to provide a reference for you a couple of weeks ago.  I declined to respond as I couldn’t provide a proper reference for someone I haven’t been in contact with for a couple of years or who I felt had done an exceptional job here at "Insert company name."  So, because of my integrity, I chose not to respond since I couldn’t provide a truly favorable reference.  
Again, I hope all is well with you and good luck with your job pursuit.

Take care,

"Insert her name"
This email was immediately followed by this email....
 Hello again,

There was a typo in my last message… the sentence should have read… “…who I felt had not done an exceptional job here at "insert company name.”  Sorry for the confusion.

I immediately grew angry. I am still steaming...

Not because of what this bitch said (which made no sense because again we exchange emails ever so often), but because for the past 5 gawdamn years I have listed this woman as a reference on my job applications!

NEVER did it occur to me that she felt I hadn't done an exceptional job at the company. It never occurred to me that this woman thought my job performance was sub-par. She never gave me any type of negative feedback. When I was in her company or when we spoke she came across as friendly, helpful and I thought we clicked (just like my other two references). There was never a clear indication to me that this woman had a problem with ME or my MY job performance. I grew to view her as a FRIEND. She wasn't quite a mentor, but in a lot of ways I thought highly of her.

Did I do my best job at the company in question? Nope (keep reading). 

Did I do the best job I could given the circumstances? Hell yeah! 

Do I feel like going out and kicking this woman's ass because the realization has hit home that she has probably ruined my chances for a few jobs? Oh you damn skippy! Just imagine a would-be employer calling her for a reference...

Background info...

In the summer of 2007 I took an internship at a well known company here in Atlanta. I applied for this internship because A). It was in my field of interest and B). Because I needed the money to pay my rent during the summer before school started up again. 

It was the very first time I ever stepped foot inside Atlanta's lily white corporate America. Before this internship I had no experience with white corporate executives, Jews or underhanded racism. Keep in mind I'm from a small country town in Georgia. I was used to RACIST being racist and proud. I wasn't used to the smartass racist I encountered at this internship, who would say some sly shit and NOT think it was racist.

It was a huge wake up call to learn that (some) Jews are some of the most racist people walking the face of the earth. Before this internship, I'd never had any day-to-day interaction with Jews. It was a huge wake up call to learn that racist whites in corporate America also see you as invisible even though you sit right next to them in the next cubicle. A lot of times these motherfuckers SPEAK without THINKING. Let me give you an example...

At this internship I heard a white advertising executive ask the black woman in the cubicle next to her if she lived in the GHETTO! I mean she just came right out and asked her that bullshit! Can you just imagine how that black woman must have felt? For the white people who don't get it, imagine working in an environment where the majority of your co-workers (98% of them) are BLACK. Now imagine if one of those black people asked you, out of the clear blue sky, if you live in a trailer park! This is the kind of bullshit I witnessed and heard at this internship.

And that wasn't all...

Most of the black people at this internship were subservient in nature. They were passive-aggressive and almost mistral (Uncle Toms for those who don't get it) like around the whites. They laughed at their jokes even when those jokes were racist and offensive. Here is an example: There was a white woman who worked at the company that used to crack jokes about Atlanta's inner city black neighborhoods and black poor people. And the bitch actually thought she was funny. She was so bold she would say this racist bullshit RIGHT IN THE FACES of the black folks that worked in the company. What did they do? Laugh! I witnessed my supervisor at this company (the lady that pissed me off about the reference) laugh with this woman, while she DEFAMED and BELITTLED her race and those who look just like her.

Now imagine being a 21 year old witnessing your people carry on like this...imagine how you would feel going to work everyday. If I didn't need the money I would have quit my first day on the job. Everyday I would wake up with a feeling of anxiety because I didn't know what the fuck I was going to hear or see from both the whites and blacks at this company.

Yes, it affected my job performance. I think my hatred of the placed showed in my face. I refused to walk around that place with anything less than a straight back. I didn't laugh at any of the racist jokes and I didn't try to play nice with anyone I knew damn well I didn't like...let alone respect. I gained a reputation...not that I gave a damn. The ONLY person I ever tired to please at this company was said supervisor, who gave me the impression that I was doing a great job.

There are only a few black people at this company that didn't compromise their self-respect. I am still in touch with those people. And had I known this woman would betray me like this I would have placed them on my applications as references.

I fucked up! I fucked up big time. There is no telling how many positions I was being considered for that fell through the cracks because of this mistake. I should have known  this bitch wouldn't hesitate to throw my ass under the bus if she would so willingly throw her own damn self-respect under the bus. This motherfucker wasn't thinking about her integrity when these racist whites were laughing in her face at the expense of HER RACE.

I'm disappointed. I'm hurt. I'm angry. I don't understand some of us. Black people in fucking country are lost. Lost and fucked up beyond repair. If you see a young black woman or a young black man TRYING to do something with their lives why the hell wouldn't you do everything in your power to HELP him or her if you have the means? Why the hell wouldn't you try to help them get ahead? I wouldn't care if I had to lie. If a young black woman came to me for a recommendation and I knew that individual was honest, hard-working, respectful and TRYING to make it in life, I would help her. No questions asked.

The 2-3 generations of black people that came before my generation left us out to dry. They climbed the ladder of success and pulled it right up behind them. They left us out here without a pot to piss in or a window to throw it out. Ask some of these 20 something year old college graduates how hard is it for them to network not just with white people but with black people too. Ask them how welcome they feel by their elders holding the so-called "good" jobs. Ask them if they get any help at all from these individuals. If they are anything like me, they don't feel welcomed at all. In fact, there are times that they probably feel like their elders don't want to see them succeed. It's almost like these folks feel intimated by the next generation. It's crabs in a fucking barrel...

If you don't understand what the hell I'm saying let me give you and example of something I've noticed...

When I go on interviews they typically consist of a panel. Some have been panels of women. Some have been panels of men. Some have been mixed groups consisting of both men and women of various races. I would venture to say 60% of these panels have consisted primarily of been BLACK WOMEN. I don't care what anyone says there is a clear difference between the interviews I have had with mixed panels, men's panels and panels consisting primarily of BLACK WOMEN.

My interview skills are on-point. When I walk into a job interview I'm dressed sharp and my credentials are in order. People look at me and they think, "Damn...that chick is sharp."

Well I have noticed the way BLACK WOMEN on some of these panels give me the side eye when I start checking off my credentials, my graduate school grade point average, my experience and my skills. They typically give the: Who the hell does she think she is look.

If you have yourself together I'm pretty damn sure you know what look I'm talking about. There is something icy and cold in the way they look at you. Immediately you can feel the tension in the air once they realize how great you are...and it scares the shit out of them. Why? Well, as my MALE mentor explained to me when I asked him this question, Black women feel threatened by other black women with themselves together. They fear you are going to come in and take THEIR jobs and that's the LAST thing they want. I have seen it. I have felt it. I have been a victim of it. It comes across like a foul odor.

I'm done. I swear as God as my witness there is going to come a day real soon when I tell this world to kiss my ass.
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