Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Working As A Black Man In Corporate America

By : Jack Goode
Ah...the thrill of being a black man in corporate America. Actually, it's not all that bad, but it sure isn't everything it's cracked up to be. There are some inherent problems, but, sure, there are some benefits too. Not everyone makes you feel as if you are the token of the organization, but, still, some things continue to need addressing. I'd like to explore those issues, good and bad, one by one.

Many black men won't even consider a position in corporate America. Why? Well, for a lot of us, it's just too darned hard to play the dual roles that are expected of us when we join the corporate ride. To many of our white counterparts, we've not earned the right to be there, and to many of our own black contemporaries, we've "sold out" to white America.

You know, I'm not sure that it has to be either way. I have a female friend who hails from Canada and we were recently discussing the issue of "blackness" in this country. She's a black woman and has encountered a great deal of resistance from the black community for her desire to participate in corporate life. She has been criticized for talking, dressing, and acting..."white".

Yet, for my friend, there's no such thing. Remember, she's from Canada. For her, there is no identity crisis between culture and career goals. And, you know? I have to agree with her. Success within corporate America for a black man is the same as it is for any American. We're not selling out. We're simply grabbing an opportunity and running with it; just like any other American would.

So, is seeking a career in corporate America a sell out? No way. Most of us play different roles at work and away from work. For a black man, maybe the difference between the roles is greater than for someone of another cultural background, but it is no less a role. I say grab the brass ring wherever you can and in whatever way you can reach it.

Don't worry about what other people think because you will never get to where you want to go in life. Being successful is not selling out...that is being from being smart, diligent, and hard work. No one can take away your heart and determination - only if you let them. Keep striving hard and be all that you can be.

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