Surviving After Work Drinks

I have always been against going to after-work drinks. I think as a black woman working in Corporate America, we are turned off because sometimes we are made to feel like an “other” or a piece in the puzzle that doesn’t necessarily fit. These situations are often awkward for us, (well for me at least).

Since I started working at my company, about four years ago, I can only remember going out with my colleagues five times. I dread when someone invites me out for drinks at work. A sense of doom comes over me, as I go through the possible white lies I could tell them to get myself out of the situation. However, I learned recently we have to bite the bullet and attend these work events, because it’s necessary if we want to advance our career, make connections, and understand how our office really functions (and the role everyone plays in it).

On this particular day, I had no idea I would be asked out for drinks. I headed to work like I normally would, reading my book The Little Black Book of Success: Laws of Leadership for Black Woman by Elaine Meryl Brown, Marsha Haygood, and Rhonda Joy Mclean, when I got to chapter 19 entitled Step Outside Your Comfort Zone. This chapter emphasized the importance of connecting with your colleagues and getting to know them on a personal level—asking them out for coffee or going out for drinks when you’re asked and if you are not asked, inviting yourself. Before getting off the train, I concluded that these authors were completely insane and there was no way I would ever invite myself to someone’s after-work drinks.

Around 3 PM, my favorite executives in the office, who also happens to be leaving the company, invited me out for drinks. Really? I politely thanked him for the invite but remembered it was Tuesday and I had to go to prayer meeting. When another co-worker asked if I was going, I told him about church—he replied, “You’re really strange, but you have to go out with us.” Now I felt guilty and anxious. My job is going through major changes and this could possibly be the last time we all get together; I also knew that if I didn’t go, I would feel guilty because he went out of his way to invite me. I couldn’t concentrate. The sweet sounds of Lauryn Hill playing through my headphones no longer soothed my soul, I had to go to drinks with my co-workers….THE HORROR. Continue reading “Surviving After Work Drinks”

Four Years!

Four years ago I graduated from college. Unlike my peers, I was not happy about this accomplishment. During my senior year, I applied to Teach for America and did not get in, which wasn’t much of a surprise. Teaching was not in my destiny in this context (I later became a Sunday school teacher which was more aligned with my purpose), but what the application process of Teach for America did reveal to me was how much debt I accumulated during my four years of college.

When I saw all those zero’s, I couldn’t believe it. I cried, screamed, yelled, and resented my degree. I resented everything it stood for because the knowledge that I gained in undergrad wasn’t worth that kind of money. I wrote to President Obama because the government was also on my angry list. I couldn’t believe we lived in a country where education, to ultimately make a decent living could be so expensive, especially when there are countries like Sweden, Denmark, and even Germany that sponsor their citizen’s college education. The President responded but clearly, there was nothing he could do.

When I walked across the stage I reluctantly took my degree. A few days later, I packed my bags, got settled back into my apartment in Brooklyn and began to search for jobs. I felt like I was carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders. I only had until December to figure out my life or else I would be in big trouble with those loan sharks. I applied to jobs daily. I was desperate, willing to take on anything, but what I noticed was that a lot of these positions wanted people with 1-3 years of experience. Immediately, I felt like I hit a wall. Finally, I decided to put my life in God’s hands. I prayed for miracles, started going to church, and lived my life by taking advantage of this time off. I started to volunteer. I worked for Catholic Charities for 2-months until I was offered a paid position there. My starting salary would be $26k. I remember being so excited when they gave me my offer letter. I called my mom and told her my volunteering efforts landed me my first job. Continue reading “Four Years!”

Now I Mean Business!

IMG_0384My business cards for Lifestylebyky came in the mail today and I am excited. I have not officially launched this blog to the public (although some people know about it ) but I may have to soon. I can’t wait to network at events with these cards. Building a blog and brand is no easy task but someone has to do it! This blog is literally a fulfillment of one of my many passions. I mean business now.

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