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L’esa Guilian PhD has been in the field of Human Resources for more than 15 years. She currently works as Director of Human Resources for a university in San Francisco. An expert in job loss intervention and retention, she has consulted with more than 35 companies nationwide in the areas of employee relations, diversity, and leadership development. L’esa works with individuals who are in jeopardy of losing their job to assess the problem and devise a plan to save their job.

L’esa also teaches a course called “How to Save Your Job without Losing Your Dignity.” L’esa does her work from an HR perspective, not a legal standpoint, but will advise you to see an attorney if it appears you really have a case. If you have questions about work, saving your job or about your job search and resume.  Let expert L’esa Guilian answer them.


Articles by L'esa
Ten Tips for a Successful Job Interview
I Just Returned From New Orleans


Suggested Reading On Ask Dr. Lesa
How to Start a Career in Information Technology
Embracing the Real World: A Black Woman's Guide to Life After College




    NEW REPORT: Walmart Gathering ‘Big Data’ That Can Be Used to Invade Privacy, Fuel Hidden Discrimination


    - “Our ability to pull data together is unmatched.” - Walmart U.S. CEO Bill Simon, September 2013

    “We want to know what every product in the world is.

    We want to know who every person in the world is.” - Walmart CEO of Global E-Commerce Neil Ashe, May 2013 -


    OAKLAND, CA – Walmart, the largest retailer in the world, is also becoming a leading collector of “Big Data” that can be used to invade the privacy of a majority of Americans and facilitate undetected discrimination, a new report finds today. “Consumers, Big Data and Online Tracking in the Retail Industry: A Case Study of Walmart” documents the risks associated with Walmart’s increasing online data collection, and is the first independent, comprehensive analysis of Walmart’s efforts to collect personal information on consumers on and offline.

    “Walmart is gathering massive amounts of information about Americans’ personal lives and sharing that data with more than 50 third parties.” said Malkia Cyril, Executive Director of the Center for Media Justice, one of the authors of the new report. “You could be discriminated against, based on that information, and never even realize what happened, with no chance to protect your privacy or correct inaccuracies.”

    Like most big companies, Walmart has a nearly 4,500 word privacy policy that virtually no consumer reads or understands, and which permits a wide range of data collection and use. Thecompany can unilaterally amend the policy as new opportunities arise to share private information about individual Americans.

    The report, with technical analysis by privacy and security specialist Ian Davey and issued by Center for Media Justice, ColorOfChange, and Sum of Us, found that Walmart:

    Shares consumer data with more than 50 third parties when consumers use its apps and websites.

    Is compiling information on tens of millions of Americans. We estimate that the company has collected data on at least 145 million Americans – more than 60% of U.S. adults. The company refers to having “petabytes” of data on consumers. One Walmart partner who receives consumer information from Walmart boasts about having data associated with 80% of U.S. email addresses.

    Collects the real-time location of consumers using mobile devices.

    Gives consumers no avenue to have their information held by the company deleted.

    Does not permit consumers to completely erase app data from their phones, even when the app is uninstalled.

    Has no real mechanism to prevent data collection from children. (The company’s privacy policy says that if parents request, Walmart “will work to delete it.”)

    Collects the same kinds of data that retailers have used to charge higher prices to customers from areas with less competition, such as poor communities and rural areas.

    Compiles information, together with its many third party partners, on millions of Americans that could be shared with the National Security Agency with no oversight or checks and balances, as other companies have done.

    In addition, the retail industry appears committed to preventing public officials from establishing strict standards that it must follow. Walmart has deployed more than 100 lobbyists in Washington, DC, and has reported lobbying on online privacy issues everyquarter for the past five years. In September, Walmart was invited to speakbefore a closed-door meeting of the U.S. House of Representatives privacy task force.

    The report calls on Walmart and other retailers to:

    Be transparent.

    Explain, in a clear and accessible fashion, how Walmart and their many third party partners are using the consumer information they collect.

    Implement common sense limits to the company’s ability to profile users, similar to many of those recently adopted by the European Union Parliament.

    Give us choices.

    Give users the right to have their data deleted and allow consumers to comprehensively “opt-out” of future online tracking. This includes honoring Do Not Track signals.

    Be fair.

    Explain how the company’s use of predictive intelligence shapes marketing and other business practices, and what safeguards are in place to ensure that it does not result in digital redlining or other forms of discrimination.

    “Walmart is collecting information on millions of Americans who are disproportionately low-income Black folks and other communities of color. We have a right to know what information is being collected, how it is being used,” said Rashad Robinson, Executive Director of ColorOfChange. “Internet and smartphone users should be able to easily and effectively opt out of being tracked online so we can exercise meaningful control over who has access to our personally identifiable information.”

    In a November 2011 blog post, Walmart’s Silicon Valley team wrote that they “intelligently tease out meaningful patterns” from data collected about individual consumers.

    According to research cited in the new report, such analysis can be used to predict a range of highly sensitive personal attributes that would be of interest to potential employers and others, including sexual orientation, ethnicity, religious and political views, health conditions, food habits, personality traits, pregnancy status, leisure and recreational pursuits, parental separation, age, and gender.

    “Walmart has repeatedly shown a disregard of the law, including discrimination against workers, violation of consumer product safety regulations at home and abroad, and disregard of laws against foreign corruption,” said Rob Wohl, a Campaigner with Sum Of Us. “Given the already weak framework for regulatory oversight of consumer privacy, we have reason to be cautious about trusting Walmart with our data and that of hundreds of millions of Americans.”


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Anger Management In the Workplace


Guest Opportunity: Alan Alford, Nationally Recognized Motivational Speaker, Award-Winning Salesperson and Author of $ell Your Little Heart Out!

Everybody has at least one co-worker that makes their blood boil, or a boss that they would like to KO once a day... but we can't do that.

One of the Most Successful African American Sales People in the Nation

Controlling your temper is something that has to be done, but sometimes it's harder than others.

Rated As One of the Most Influential People in 2012

Alan Alford discusses anger management in the workplace.

Alan Alford, can answer these questions:

How can you control your temper in the workplace?

What are some good ways to release pent up aggression from work?

Does the workplace often bring out aggression in otherwise calm people?

Meet Alan Alford
Ended 2006 and 2011 as the number-one automobile insurance agent for a Fortune 500 company that employs over 24,000 people.

Set a new record of 3,315 sales for the most insurance policies sold in a calendar year. In 2011 I broke my former company-wide record with 3,637 sales.

Sold 403 insurance policies in January 2011 when the average agent sold 175.

Countless Associate of the Month Awards.

Received an unprecedented company-wide customer-interaction score of 100% for 2011.

Had less than a 10% year-to-date return or cancellation ratio in every sales position held over the same period of time.

Was recognized as Florida’s number-one automobile insurance agent for four years company-wide.

Achieved the highest sales-award level in two different regional offices, New York and Florida.

Received the company’s highest sales award for automobile insurance agents eleven years in a row.

Named third-place winner in the University of South Florida’s Elevator Competition in 2010.

Received four invitations to meet Warren Buffet as a result of outstanding company-wide sales performance.

Was awarded countless gifts including all-expense-paid vacations, jewelry, VIP passes to major sporting events, and tickets to Broadway shows.

For information about Alan Alford, please visit http://www.alanalford.com


The articles on this website are provided for information purposes only. BlackRefer.com does not accept any responsibility or liability for the use or misuse of the article content on this site or reliance by any person on the site's contents.

No Implied Endorsement:
BlackRefer.com does not endorse or recommend any article on this site or any product, service or information found within said articles. The views and opinions of the authors who have submitted articles to BlackRefer.com belong to them alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of BlackRefer.com.





NEW REPORT FINDS 84% OF NYC FAST FOOD WORKERS VICTIMS OF WAGE THEFT

- Illegal Deductions, Bounced Paychecks, Forced Hours Off the Clock—
All Alarmingly Widespread Violations Among City’s Fastest Growing Industry
Leaders Launch Campaign Hotline for Economic Justice for Predominantly African-American & Latino Workforce -


New York-- An overwhelming majority of NYC’s fast food employees have suffered wage theft or work hour abuses, according to a new report released today by Fast Food Forward.

More than 8-in-10 employees (84%) report being victims of wage theft over the course of the last year; 66% report at least two abuses, 45% report at least three, and more than thirty percent of employees (31%) report being victims of at least four of these practices. Specifically:

*  36% of workers report being required to work while off the clock

*  32% of cashiers report being required to pay their employer if their register is short

*  30% of those who have worked 40+ hours in a week report they have not always received pay of time-and-a-half for overtime hours.

“This report makes clear that there is a widespread crime wave in the fast food industry,” said Jonathan Westin, Campaign Director of Fast Food Forward. “The epidemic is preying on the city’s most vulnerable residents- the men and women who make $7.25 / hour and are the least able to afford it.”

The report was based off findings of a survey performed by prominent national polling firm Anzalone Research. It found that almost half of employees have had illegal deductions to their paycheck, and 30% have received their paycheck late or even had it bounce.

*  Forty-six percent (46%) report being the victim of at least one illegal paycheck deductions, such as having to pay for meals they have not eaten or for company-required uniforms

*  Three-in-ten employees (30%) report they’ve either received their paycheck late or had their paycheck bounce

Fast Food workers said the wage abuses were rampant- and urged the industry to do better.

“I risk life and limb delivering pizza. I’ve been robbed at gunpoint doing this job,” said Domino’s bicycle delivery man Noel Scott, a father of one, whose $5.50/hour wage is less than the legally mandated wage for tipped workers. “I risk everything and Domino’s doesn’t even pay me the minimum. That’s outrageous.”

“At the end of the day, the manager changes the clock in the system to show that I took a break, so I end up working for free for that half hour. It’s hard enough for me to pay my rent and bills. I can’t afford to work for Burger King for free. Between working through my breaks, and doing work after my shift, I’m not getting paid for several hours every week,” said Tabatha Verges, who works at a Burger King in Harlem earning the state’s $7.25 / hour minimum wage.

The survey was commissioned by Fast Food Forward, to examine the payment practices across New York City’s fast food industry. Five hundred live telephone interviews were conducted in April with current or recent (within the last 3 months) NYC fast food restaurant employees.

The fastest growing jobs in the United States are also the lowest paid: Fast food workers are paid between $10,000 and $18,000 / year– less than half what it costs to support a family in New York City. And although fast food companies are some of the wealthiest corporations in America, many fast food workers are forced to rely on public assistance programs to provide for their families and get healthcare for their children.

“We can’t – we won’t—allow such flagrant violations of the law," said Hazel Dukes, president of the the NAACP New York State Conference. "Not in our city. We're here today to tell the industry that the jig is up. It’s time for the fast food industry to come clean, and do the right thing. They need to change their ways. And they need to start paying the 50,000 men and women they employ in our city enough to support their families. We know that by lifting up fast food workers, we can begin to lift up our communities."

“By putting more money into the pockets of workers in these fast-growing low-wage jobs, we can create stronger consumers, get our economy moving again and rebuild the middle class,” said Kirsten John Foy, Minister and President of the Brooklyn Chapter of the National Action Network. “So my message to McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, and Domino’s is simple: pay your people for their work, respect their right to organize and let’s strengthen our communities together.”

About Fast Food Forward
Fast food workers at McDonalds, Burger King, Papa John’s, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, KFC, Wendy’s, and Domino’s are coming together to fight for $15 an hour and the right to form a union without interference. They want to be able to support their families and put money back into the economy, instead of relying on taxpayers to shoulder the burden for the industry’s low-wages.

Low-wage work has accounted for the bulk of new jobs added since the recession. To get the economy moving again, workers across the US—at Walmart, McDonald's, Macy's, airports, car washes and other retail and fast food stores in Chicago, St. Louis, and New York--are demanding decent pay that supports families, without having to rely on public assistance.

Contact: Jackie Kessel: 508-951-9737 (NYC Media)
Daniel Massey 917-370-7312 (National Media)

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Unprecedented" Wave of Strikes

Milwaukee was once home to a thriving population of middle-class African-American families with good-paying union jobs in the manufacturing sector, but as those jobs have decreased, so has employment and median household income among African-Americans in the metro area. Many of these manufacturing jobs that can support a family have been replaced by low-paying jobs in the service sector.

That's why fast food and retail workers in Milwaukee went on strike today, calling for $15 an hour and the right to form a union without retaliation — the latest in a wave of fast-food and retail worker strikes in NYC, Detroit, St. Louis and Chicago. Organizers say the fast-food workforce in these five cities is overwhelmingly African American.

As Jennifer Epps of Wisconsin Citizen Action, who is involved in organizing the workers, told Colorlines in an interview, “Milwaukee has a really special history particularly for African Americans. We had the highest per capita income for black workers in the country, now we have one of the lowest.”

In metro Milwaukee, roughly 100,000 family-sustaining manufacturing jobs have been lost since the early 1980s, forcing workers to rely on low-paying jobs in fast food and retail. Growth in food preparation jobs in the metro area is projected to be nearly triple the rate of overall employment and retail is one of the fast growing job sectors in the metro area.

As Colorlines reported, "The shift away from living-wage work has hit black workers particularly hard." They also cited a report that found that more than 54 percent of African-American men in Milwaukee were employed in factories in 1970, but now that is down to 15 percent — a drop that has disproportionately affected African Americans in the city.

If the workers’ organizing campaigns are successful they will raise pay in some of the largest and fastest growing occupations, combatting the problem of stagnant wages, strengthening consumer demand, and reversing the US economy's steady march toward greater and greater income inequality.

USA Today called it an "unprecedented" wave of strikes.

Contact
Laura
Laura.Brandon@berlinrosen.com

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The articles on this website are provided for information purposes only. BlackRefer.com does not accept any responsibility or liability for the use or misuse of the article content on this site or reliance by any person on the site's contents. Use at your own risk.

No Implied Endorsement:
BlackRefer.com does not endorse or recommend any article on this site or any product, service or information found within said articles. The views and opinions of the authors who have submitted articles to BlackRefer.com belong to them alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of BlackRefer.com.





TREND: There are generational shaping events and occurrences that drive expectations and expressions within every age demographic. The Boston Marathon Explosion is the latest example of bad things happening in world that is chaotic and sometimes horrifying.

Tru Pettigrew


Multicultural Millennial Insight expert, Tru Pettigrew founder of Tru Access - the conduit between youth and the multigenerational workplace - comments, “The Millennials that I coach have helped remind me of how strong and resilient this generation is and how strong and resilient this country is. I think it’s natural for older generations to become more cautious and over protective after events like this, whereas Millennials view the world through a lens of faith rather than fear. ”

What are the top life changing global events that have shaped Multicultural Millennials and how they perceive life and the workforce? Tru Pettigrew has identified and can discuss the following:

- Social Media
- Redefined Gender Roles
- Increased Diversity
- Obama Effect
- Unstable Economy
- Reality Celebrity


7 Things Multicultural Millennials Want

1. Diversity - Diversity is what they know. It’s not new or different. They grew up in a diversely populated society and simply expect it.

2. Multi-facetedness - They don’t expect to be categorized in a singular stereotypical identity such as the jock, the techie, the skater or the fashionista. They take pride in being able to connect different worlds and industries and excel in more than just one.

3. Inspiration - Being influenced by celebrity endorsement or brand status used to be enough. That is no longer the case. They want to be inspired. Inspired by innovation and creativity of their friends, peers and the brands and celebrities they choose.

4. Reciprocity - Giving back is important to them and they support the brands that also give back. They know what brands are giving back and in what way. They also have issues and causes that matter to them and their communities. They support the brands that support them.

5. Social Currency - They understand the power of Social Media and the status that they can achieve with it and through it. They have a lot to say and want to share their voice, ideas and creativity with the world. Brands that help enhance their Social Currency can quickly establish brand love.

6. Consistency - There are enough things that are in question and in-flux in their world right now. They are seeking areas in their life that can offer stability and consistency. This is an expectation for the brands that they choose. Versatility is fine and even welcomed, but consistency in who you say you are and what you’ll do is a must.

7. Cultural Winks - Multicultural Millennials connect and relate with one another most often by their common interests and values. They also recognize their cultural differences and like them to be acknowledged without necessarily being singled out.



Tru Pettigrew is founder and President of Tru Access, which is an organization that bridges the cultural and generational gaps between multicultural Millennials and corporate brands and agencies.

Tru Access provides Culturational (aka multicultural + multigenerational) speaking engagements and workshops for the millennial audience and presentations and training on the corporate side. Tru spent 20 years working in youth and multicultural marketing at advertising and marketing agencies with clients such as Nike, Hasbro, Sprint and The Home Depot and uses that experience to help build strong Culturational Chemistry in the boardroom and in life.

TruAccess

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The articles on this website are provided for information purposes only. BlackRefer.com does not accept any responsibility or liability for the use or misuse of the article content on this site or reliance by any person on the site's contents. Use at your own risk.

No Implied Endorsement:
BlackRefer.com does not endorse or recommend any article on this site or any product, service or information found within said articles. The views and opinions of the authors who have submitted articles to BlackRefer.com belong to them alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of BlackRefer.com.






  Workplace Issues Today
Q&A with L'esa Guilian PhD

  1. Employee with Chronic Illness – Employer Accommodations Needed
  2. Overqualified to be promoted
  3. My HR is useless
  4. Manager struggles to balance sisterhood with authority
  5. Starting over on the same job
  6. Breaking into Pharmaceutical sales
  7. Wanting to make a good first impression
  8. From secretary to manager
  9. Undecided about next career move
  10. African American female promoted to executive assistant
  11. Should I report my conviction to potential employers?
  12. Applying For Jobs
  13. Not Giving Up In Colorado
  14. Art Teacher Returns To The Classroom
  15. Employee Put On Performance Program
  16. Media Relations Professional Out Of Work
  17. Re: Pilot With Felony Conviction
  18. Unable To Verify References
  19. Educated & Seeking Employment
  20. Confused 35yr. Old Mother
  21. Chiropractor Seeks Another Degree
  22. Convicted Pilot Can't Find Job
  23. Career in Sports Business
  24. Struggling Nursing Student
  25. Need Job in Human Resources
  26. No Concrete Career Interest
  27. Am I unemployable?
  28. Ex-Felon trying to do right
  29. How Do I Get a Job in IT?
  30. Co-worker Woes
  31. Entertainment Business Woes
  32. Professional Honesty
  33. Low Evaluations
  34. Displaced Mom
  35. What to do about envious colleagues?
  36. Question about disability insurance for back injury
  37. Can I get in trouble for sending a virus
  38. I work for an insecure manager
  39. Are voluntary gifts exchanges truly voluntary?
  40. Why aren't my suggestions taken seriously?
  41. What should I do when my boss harasses me?
  42. Qualified and frustrated, How can I find a lucrative position?
  43. Should I list my military experience?
  44. How often can I view my Personnel File?
  45. I’m being sexually harassed what can I do?
  46. Is it a problem for exempt professional to come to work late?
  47. I’m pregnant and looking for a job.
  48. I quit my job, do I have a harassment case?
  49. They say I’m overqualified. What does that mean?
  50. An experienced electrician without a license.
  51. I’m not being paid my commission?
  52. Can I get an AA for life experience alone?





Top 10 Companies for African Americans
  1. PepsiCo
  2. Altria Group
  3. Colgate-Palmolive
  4. Xerox
  5. Citigroup
  6. Allstate Insurance
  7. Health Care Services Corp.
  8. Ford Motor Co.
  9. Kaiser Permanente
  10. Turner Broadcasting System

    (Diversity Inc. Magazine, June 2005)




LINK PARTNERS

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Diversity Search Group, LLC

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CvTips.com

Black Career Zone

Black Career Women

Stress, Workplace Afflictions

Workplace Toxins and African Americans

African-American Resource Center

Black Women INC

Diversity Inc.

IM Diversity





Dear Dr. L’esa,
I was just diagnosed with a chronic disease that may cause me to be off work sometimes. I may also need to have accommodations in my work environment. For example. I will need a lot more rest now than most people. Should I disclose this information to my employer now or should I just wait until I have to - when the disease starts to become obvious. I don’t want people to treat me differently and I am afraid that they might try to get rid of me if they know that I will have physical problems in the future. What can I do?

Dear Still Working:
I am sorry to hear that you have recently been diagnosed with a chronic illness. I’m sure you have many questions and concerns on your mind right now. In the United States, if your employer has more than 50 employees, you have some protection for your absences under FMLA (the Family Medical Leave Act) and some states have additional laws to protect workers. If your employer qualifies and you have worked for the same company at least 12 months and 1250 hours you are covered for your absences for up to 12 weeks a year or in a 12 month period. If your disease has not progressed to the point that it is obvious something is wrong, or if you are not taking excessive time off, you might want to wait. If your company has a Human Resources department it would be wise to go in and tell them that you are confidentially telling them this because you do not know how it will affect you in the future and you may need future accommodations.

The Family Medical Leave Act was enacted to help the employee, but because of it employers often want to get employees signed up immediately upon determining that they have an illness or disability. Your employer is required to notify you that you have a right to FMLA before they can begin the clock ticking, so it might be wise for you to wait until your illness becomes a bit more debilitating or if you begin taking too many days out or coming in late too often. If you find that you are having difficulty making it through a week, you need to tell someone.

Also, the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) states that employers must make reasonable accommodations. If you are not able to perform your essential job functions, which should be described as “Essential Job Functions” on your job description, then your employer is not required to make accommodations. However, if you can still perform the essential functions and the accommodations you need are reasonable from both a financial and productivity standpoint, your employer is required to make those accommodations for you. Your employer may require documentation from your doctor to know what accommodations are necessary.Best of luck and I hope you stay healthy as long as possible.



Dear Dr. L’esa:
I'm an educator and with the credentials. I have it is now time for me to reinvent myself. I have a Masters in Public Administration/post graduate work totaling another Masters in School Administration. I also have close to ten years of teaching experience (two which were supervisory) I'm pursuing an assistant principal or principal position.

My challenges are:
1-Employers being afraid to hire me because of my background. (If we hire her is she going to stay)

2-Being overqualified is something I never thought would happen to me.

Do you have any tips or strategies to combat being overqualified (when looking for professional positions)?

Dear Overqualified:
Maybe I am confused but it doesn’t sound like you are reinventing yourself. It sounds like you are moving to the next level in your career. I’m also not sure why you think you are overqualified? Many, in fact most educators, have at least a few years of teaching experience before going into administration and all have at least a Master’s degree with many having a PhD.

I’m not sure if you have just assumed you are overqualified or if you have been given that feedback. If you have been given that feedback, I find that “overqualified” is usually code for something else. Off the top of my head, I can think of three reasons you might be told you are overqualified:

(1) If you have moved from school to school, and particularly if you have moved to multiple school districts, that could certainly be a problem indicating instability and make potential employers wonder if you are going to stay.

(2) “Overqualified” might indicated is that you are too old to become a beginning administrator. If you are over 45 years old and particularly if you look it (none of us thinks we do), “overqualified” might simply be code for OLD. Yes, age discrimination is illegal, but is it worth the fight?

(3) If you are presenting yourself in interviews as if you are the only person who has your credentials and as if you think you are overqualified or “reinventing” yourself when you are in fact, perfectly qualified and taking the next logical step in your career, you might be turning the interviewers off. They may be mocking you when they suggest you might be “overqualified.”

Regardless of the issue, you can become an Assistant Principal or Principal. You just need to find the right place to give you a chance. It may be a numbers game and you might have to a position a bit further from home than you had hoped. If part of the problem is that you have moved around a lot, you want to start establishing a pattern of stability; and have a good answer for why you have moved so much and why you are now looking to settle down at one place. Talk with principals you know and ask for their mentorship. Give yourself two years to find the right job. Relax and take on leadership positions within the job you are in while you keep your eyes and ears open for the right opportunity.



Dear Dr. L’esa:
I am in a Sr position at a major non-profit organization that's currently experiencing a series of multiple negative issues (funding is down, morale is at an all time low, the CEO has proven to be ill-equipped and detached, racism is evident-although token minorities are strategically placed in key positions, excessive dead weight staff and constant bickering and undermining tactics amongst colleagues).

In addition to the multiple issues, it is very obvious that the CEO is culturally insensitive based on several conversations I've had with him and the casual comments he made about other ethnic groups (of couse if he says it about them, he says it about me). In addition, when I sought his support when I was told by a staff who is approximately 3 levels below my position that I needed to "leave" because I didn't fit. The CEO informed me that the person did not mean any harm.

The person is a direct report to the CEO (as I am) but serves in an administrative position. This person is clearly a favorite of the CEO and they are good friends as well. In addition, I have feedback from others that the CEO has made comments about not knowing what to do with me "as a Black woman" and I have an email that was forwarded to me where I was being discussed by serveral other Sr staff (all White) as being a threat to their way of doing business.

Rightfully so, I am no longer comfortable in this organization and I feel as if my mental health is deteriorating. Despite all of the issues, I strive for perfection and put in 70-80 hours a week, my workload is excessive but I need to map my Exodus. My recent annual review by the CEO clearly indicates that he does not see a value in my work although he conveniently calls on me to address minority based issues. I've been in the job force for over 20 years and this is the most bizarre place I've worked in-ever.

Should I plan a strategy that removes me quietly from this chaos or should I consider a legal venue to help address and bring to light the racism that permeates this organization? I would appreciate your assistance with helping me plan my next steps. Oh, for the record HR is full of useless minorities (sadly) they shy away from everything but processing. Sign me-"Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired"

Dear Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired:
When you find yourself in a situation that is not working and not healthy for you, the first bit of advice I give is for you to immediately stop working so many unappreciated hours. Seldom does an organization appreciate an employee’s extra effort if they don’t recognize the basic contributions as valuable.

The decision of whether to exit quietly or take legal action is a personal choice. Unless you have some moral ethical obligation to bring to light the problems of the organization, it’s seldom worth the up hill battle. With that said, if everyone just exited quietly, we would be at the same place we were in the 1960’s. Whatever you do, it is important that you do what is mentally and physically healthy for you.

As for the uselessness minorities in HR, you have to keep in mind that the role of HR is to protect the company. Good HR professionals will try to protect the employee also, but that’s not what we are paid to do. HR can be a powerful position if professionals in the field are willing to stand up against the wrongs of the organization but all too often the paycheck is more important than doing the right thing.



Dear Dr. L’esa:
I am a seasoned Property Manager and have carefully built my career on a foundation of solid professional and most important spiritual principals. I have recently obtained a very visible management position (I am the only black woman in the mid-size company). I oversee the security operations and custodial departments, both of staffs which are 98% minority.

My dilemma is that the staff looks to me as "the Sister" and the Management team looks to me as a professional business woman. I find myself struggling with discipline and compassion for the staff. I have a high level of expectation from the supervisors that report to me and their line employees (60 total). I expect for them to come to work on time, don't smoke in work areas, don't abuse the phone, etc.

I find that since they are in lower paying positions, I find it harder to enforce rules and execute discipline. I feel that most of these people are sincerely actually operating out what they feel is acceptable business practice. I recently had to terminate a man for breaking company policy. I felt horrible because he is a hard working family man that got "caught" one too many times.

What can I do as both a leader and manager to balance my professional desire to motivate my staff to greater heights, while also understanding that I have a job to do and there will be fall out as a result. Have I arrived to the point that I can't relate to my sisters and brothers? Why am I struggling with the thought that I contribute to institutional racism that still exists? Please answer to this address as well as post. Thank you for your insight.

Dear Promoted Property Manager:
It is not contributing to institutional racism to expect a high work standard; in fact, expecting any less simply because the employees are not white is racist. If your employees have not learned acceptable business practice it is time for you to lay down the law. You don’t serve them by letting them get away with things that wouldn’t normally be acceptable. At the same time you should maintain a rapport with them and talk about things you have in common. Too often, as black professionals, we seem to think we have to put on an act of professionalism that neither feels comfortable nor looks natural. If you could relate to your sisters and brothers before you received the promotion, you should still be able to relate.

You need to claim your power as a manager. Once you have established that you are a fair manager with high standards you will not only gain respect but still be “the Sister.” Start by having a meeting with the supervisors that report to you. Tell them that you need for them to follow the rules and their employees need to follow the rules, and give them each a list of the rules you expect be followed. Tell the supervisors that they will be held responsibility for ensuring their staff follows the rules.

If they are not dealing with a performance problem by their staff then you have a performance problem with them. From that moment on, be consistent, be fair and be discreet. If you do these things you will be appreciated and respected. The way to fight institutional racism is to confront the organization when you believe you see racism. Believe me as a manager you will see it and it may be difficult to know how to address it. But addressing it is necessary. Congratulations on your promotion and best of luck in your new position.



Dear Dr. L’esa,
I am writing you because I could really use your advice. I recently acquired a new job position at a well known corporate company and love the job. The thing is, I am fresh to the workforce and am only 21 years old.

I felt lucky to have landed this job, but there is so much to learn. Most of the people here are middle aged or older, and I feel like they look down on me like I am incompetent, or that I cannot do my job. I admit I am not used to so much work, but I am willing to learn and am a bright person. Nobody really talks to me. I feel like they think since I ask so many questions and haven't really got all the details down, they have a certain assumption of who I am.

Sometimes I feel like they don't think I am smart because of all the questions I ask or they think I have stupid questions. I feel like there’s some tension when I try to talk to my co-workers, and I feel like its hard for me to make friends, or to prove myself because they already have a portrayal of me.

The way that I feel prevents me from feeling comfortable asking questions and I don't know if it’s just me. I sincerely want to make a change for the better. I feel like I got off on the wrong foot. I don't know if there is a way to start over and prove that I am the right person for this job, and I want to be here for the long run. Any advice?

Dear Starting Over:
It is absolutely possible to start over on a job. The most important thing for you to do is to admit what you don’t know. Professionalism also goes a long way. Many times when people don’t know how to do something, they do nothing instead of attempting to do it. I’m not sure what your job is, but it is important to have solid skills in any job you have and to understand when you are in over your head.

The best thing you can do at this point, is schedule an appointment with your immediate supervisor. Tell him/her that you feel you may have gotten off on the wrong foot and that you are very serious about doing a good job and making him/her proud of hiring you. Explain that this is a wonderful opportunity and that you appreciate being given the chance. Ask what you can do to improve your performance and take any advice you are given. If you are in a 3-month probation period the sooner you talk with your supervisor the better chance you have of saving your job.

On occasion I will suggest that someone to request that they be placed on a performance improvement program. If you definitely feel that your job is in jeopardy then suggesting a 3-month performance improvement program will give you a second chance and make your boss feel like you are willing to put yourself on the line to improve. If you choose the route of suggesting you be placed on a performance improvement program you will want to schedule regular meetings with your supervisor to check on your progress.I hope these suggestions help, and best of luck.



Dear Lesa,
I am interested in pursuing a career in pharmaceutical sales. I have two masters degrees in education and taught for five years. I left teaching ten years ago to have a babies and in the meantime I started a business as a real-estate investor that failed spectacularly. I am now bankrupt but undaunted.

I have decided that the best way to build my savings and credit is with W2 income, and I have discovered in the past ten years that I love sales. I know that I will do well but how do I break into this very competitive industry? I am aggressively networking, applying everywhere, but I feel as though I am at a standstill. Also, when someone does really become interested in me, how do I explain my credit? Pharmaceutical Sales Applicant

Dear Pharmaceutical Sales Applicant:
As you know pharmaceutical sales is an EXTREMELY competitive field. I never discourage someone from doing what she wants to do particularly if it is a good direction. Networking is an excellent idea always. The next step you might take is to create your resume showing your sales experience. If you haven’t taken a course in medical terminology you might want to take one. After you do the resume, contact some pharmaceutical companies in your area and ask the sales manager for informational interviews.

Making sure that the first interview is with a company that is not hiring will take the pressure off of you and you can get experience asking good questions as well as expose your deficiencies in the field without the fear of jeopardizing a potential job opportunity. Sales managers should be able to give you a good idea of the best route to take from there. Best of luck.



Hello, Dr. L’esa!
I am just started a position as an administrative assistant (temp to perm) at a large company and am looking forward to starting my career here. I am still in college, trying to juggle motherhood and wifehood. I wanted to get off on the right foot so that I would give a great first impression. What types of strategies would you suggest?

Dear Good first impression:
What a wonderful question! Obviously, the most important thing you can do is to do your best. Being a mom, student and wife is a lot to juggle. Until you secure a permanent job with the company, it is important to do a little extra. Hopefully your husband can help with the little one.

Here are Some Essential Things you can do:
1) Always arrive on time. Stay your full shift and return on time from lunch, even if there is a culture in the office is that people come in late, leave early or take long lunches.

2) Ask questions. Unless you are absolutely sure you completely understand what you are supposed to do, ask questions. It is appropriate to say you don’t understand or know how to do something. Don’t pretend you know how to do something you don’t know. The quickest way to lose your job is to do the wrong thing or not do anything because you are afraid to ask for help.

3) Dress appropriately. If the office is casual, dress casually but modestly. Never show mid-drift, wear flip-flops, or wear shorts or short skirts. If others wear blue jeans you can too but do it in a professional way not like you might wear to class or to play with your child. If the office is professionally dressed, take you clue from other administrative assistants. Don’t wear clothes you would wear to a party even if others do.

4) Keep Busy. Always find something to do. Ask for more work if you “finish” the job they have given you to do.

5) Take the initiative to find a better way to do things. If you see a way that things could be done better, ask permission to make the change. Managers love people who make their lives easier and find new and better ways to do things.

6) Smile! Be friendly and personable.

Some things not to do:
1) Don’t surf the internet unless it is for a very specific job related item.

2) Don’t use instant messenger and chat with friends, family, etc at work.

3) Don’t take or make personal phone calls. If you need to check-up on your child or check with your husband on something, quickly make the call and get off of the phone.

4) Don't listen to gossip. The only thing you can gain by listening to what someone else has to say about another co-worker is a negative impression of them. Form your own opinions, don't accept other's opinions as valid information. BEST OF LUCK ON YOUR NEW JOB.



Dear Dr. L'esa,
I'm 32 years old and just graduated with my Bachelor's in Business Administration. I have been working as a secretary for over 10 years. I desperately want to advance to a business manager position, but with only secretary jobs on my resume', I'm afraid no one will be willing to take a chance on me. I've had a few interviews, but no offers. Do you have any advice on what I can to start working towards a manager position? In a career rut.

Dear In a Career Rut:
Your dilemma is quite common. When you have been working in a support role it is often difficult to break out of that and move into a role of management. However, it is done all the time and you can do it too. First, rethink how you present your current job. Rather than listing your current job tasks and focusing on how you support others in completing their jobs, discuss your organizational skills, your ability to multi-task, how you have to work with different personalities and calm down tense situations.

Think about people when you have been asked to train another person, any projects you have managed or coordinated, and how you have had to work with and through multiple people to get things done. You are probably already doing things that show your ability to transition into a manager level position, you now need to advertise those skills. Second, you may have to take it slowly and make a couple of career moves before you receive the title of Manager.

By first taking a position as an Office Manager or with the title Coordinator in it you position yourself for the next step. You can quickly transition those jobs into a management position.



Hello Dr. L’esa:
I currently enjoy my job and I know I want to position myself for future growth with the university, state or government employment. I am presently in the pursuit of a PhD or DBA in Business Administration for teaching, administrative officer or consulting. I am very interested in the first two. I conversed with a professor here on campus and he pointed out they are similar and either would be sufficient. I know that the PhD is more researched based and I can finish school in about three years.

The DBA I can finish less than two years. I currently work at an HBU on the east coast as an Academic Advisor. I have instructed classes at a community college several years ago. I have done some research but still not sure which area is more conducive long-term and short-term for me. I know the PhD is more prestigious, but what about short term and long-term. I am an African American male, 43 years old with a masters degree. I have several small publications online and work on writing toddler and children’s books based on math, learning skills and first words. Put this together and provide an analysis of my choices, or options at this point in my life. Thanks! PhD or DBA

Dear PhD or DBA:
Your professor is right. Either is fine. Generally, if you want to teach at a university level you would want a PhD. If you are planning to work in business a DBA is possibly better because it provides more practical skills. Depending on the DBA program, you will either have exams, a dissertation or an extensive project to complete before being granted your degree. There isn’t a right answer here, PhDs are much more widely recognized if your goal is to be published or an EdD if you plan to continue your work in education. Good luck with whichever choice you make.



Dear Dr. L’esa:
I am an African-American female and was recently promoted to Executive Assistant. My African-American manager was also recently promoted. Although I work for a global fortune 500 company, my manager and I are one of few African-Americans in our positions. One Caucasian Executive Assistant appears to be intimated by me and treats me badly when the boss is are not around. She tried to use the standard "you are too defensive" that whites use against blacks. She does not have any people skills. I have been in the secretarial/administrative workforce for over 35 years. She may be intimidated by me having acquired a B.S in Business Management which most Executive Assistants do not have. I have not had a problem with any co-workers except for her.

I was recently told by a co-worker that one of the other executives said that my boss and I would not be fun cubicle partners. The problem may be that my manager and I may appear too professional for them. The Executive Assistant's friend applied for my new job. How do I get her to see that we are on the same team? How do I engage her to keep her from trying to create inconsistencies about my character? Executive Assistant

Dear Executive Assistant:
It sounds like you have had 35 years of success. So, you have obviously been doing something right. You have no control over the actions of others, only yourself. Don’t worry about getting the other Executive Assistant to change, just do your job and be friendly. Be helpful when you can, but don’t go out of your way to win her over. Also, don’t listen to people who want to tell you what others think about you or your boss. Listening to what other people say can only serve to make you crazy and paranoid. If people are offering to tell you what others have said, stop them before they tell you and say I really don’t want to know.

It is appropriate to be professional, but for your own sake also be yourself. If you are a loving, happy person at home, be that way at work. I find that sometimes we (African Americans) will be so professional that it is unnatural. While being in corporate America may require you to be different than you are with friends, don’t leave your sense of humor and your whole personality at home when you walk into the office. Let people know that you are an open and caring professional and either they will or will not like you. You have no control over that. Good luck, Dr. L’esa



Dear Dr. L’esa:
I have been trying over a year to find a job. I moved from Virginia, where I had worked as a Front Desk Clerk for over 5 years, to South Carolina. I decided before I left that I wanted to get out of the hospitality field and into the Administrative. I took courses when I was in Blue Job Corp for Business Administration and received a Certificate. I later went to a community college nearby and got my A.A.S. in Education. However, I pleaded guilty to embezzlement in 1995. I only received 3 yrs probation of which 2 yrs was dropped and I had to pay restitution. Should I be marking yes when they ask of conviction? Should I mark “yes”

Dear Should I mark “yes”:
Yes, you were convicted of a crime and you were sentenced. But you need to have a very good explanation for what you did and what you have learned since you committed the crime. Were you very young when it happened or did you have a drug abuse problem? Did you receive treatment? Your goal is to assure a potential employer that you will not do it again.

You don’t say if you worked as a front desk clerk before or after you were convicted of embezzlement. If it was after you were convicted and you can get a good letter of recommendation from your supervisor that would help. Embezzlement and theft are crimes that could eliminate you from almost any job that requires you to deal with money, other people’s property, or children. It’s probably a good idea to begin applying for jobs that give you no access to money, other people’s property, and that don’t initially require a high degree of integrity. You now have to prove yourself to be trustworthy again before you will be trusted.

Some jobs that you might consider are telemarketing, telephone customer service (not dealing with money), receptionist, also look at non-profit organizations for jobs. You might consider going back to school and getting a certificate in a medical assistance field like phlebotomy, nursing assistance, dental assistance or veterinary assistance etc.

I also suggest that you go to the state where you were convicted and investigate what it would take for you to receive a pardon for your crime. I hope this helps and good luck.




Disclaimer:
Advice given in this column is given with little information and often out-of-context. Each reader must decide on the best course of action for his or her situation. There are multiple layers to every situation and this column is not intended to provide solutions, recommendations or specific courses of action; it provides only one point of view. The author of this column makes no claims of having the solution to your problem(s). Any actions you take as a result of reading the advice in this column should be taken only after you have weighed all of your options. You are taking action at your free will, your own discretion, and at your own risk.




 
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