As a Black Woman, You Know Every Mistake We Make Is Magnified and the Consequences Are Greater. How Do You Cope?

Your Corporate Black Girl

Hey Nikki!

I hope youโ€™re doing well. As a black woman, you know every mistake we make is magnified and the consequences are greater. How do you cope? I am internalizing these unfair criticisms which are not healthy. Hopefully, you can respond if not no biggie! Love your page stay positive (I know Iโ€™m trying).

Entry-Level

Virginia

Nikki: 

Wow! This question is so relevant today, in my own career and even on a much greater scale, look at what people are saying about Serena Williams! The playing field is never equal, and the standards are never the same for us.

This doesn't get any easier. Meaning, the stakes will only get greater for you as you grow in your career, but how you handle it will evolve.

I would even expand on your thoughts to say that every decision we make is scrutinized. 

My first and favorite coping method was drinking wine!  This... can be tricky though because, like all things,  anything done in excess can turn into something not-so-good.  My old saying was and still is, "everyone needs a vice," to be in my industry. Years later, I still have a glass of wine, not every day but most weekdays.  My now 1-glass a few times a week used to be more like a 2-glass minimum.  And I'm talking the large goblet sized glasses.  Again, a not-so-good habit but I've been able to keep it down over time.

I have learned a few coping mechanisms even though I'm still very much a student in this area. Here are the things I've learned so far:

  1. Get a mentor. This can be anyone that's more senior than you. They don't have to be in the same role, department, firm or field but someone who has experience. This can be a Male or a Female. Don't limit yourself when it comes to whom you take solid career advice from. Blessings come in many forms.

  2. Read the book, The Four Agreements, by Don Miquel Ruiz. This book changed the way I view others, and I learned not to take everything people say and do, personally.  It's a great, short read!

  3. If you receive critical feedback, take a moment to go over the feedback with an objective party, that can give you honest feedback on the situation.  I try to have a decent line of communication with either my direct manager or their manager. I do this because I can go to them or they can come to me the critical feedback, and I can ask them how I could have done something differently to get a different outcome. 

    The key to getting feedback, whether it's at work or at home, is to be open and honest with yourself about your part in what happened. Own it. If you can do things better, make the adjustments.  If you've done everything by the book, then let your work speak for itself and eventually those with opinions that matter, will take notice.

    Everything works out for the good, so when you get critical feedback, take it for what it is (without any emotion). Learn from what you can and to hell with the rest ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Keep your head up! You got this.

    Nikki Davis


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NIKKI

Your curly girl manager, just trying to live her happiest life! 

Wife, new mom, member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. with 11 years industry experience, 6 years of management experience. Manager a team of men in a male dominant industry, while being the only woman on the team. DIY fashion blogger, a self taught seamstress. Owner/Creator of a monthly subscription service, SewConscious.com

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