Congratulations! After the time you spent searching for, interviewing, and applying for jobs all over, you finally landed your next big gig! Now, it's time to show everyone what you bring to the table as a BIPOC woman.
Too often in the workforce, though, women of color are forced to conform to unrealistic corporate standards to meet expectations that may otherwise prevent them from flourishing.
Believe it or not, this is a common experience among those who are in minority groups, and it's time that we stop conforming to these standards and start thriving on our own terms.
To do so, let's talk about some ways to get started today!
Building a Legacy for Yourself in the Workplace
When building any type of legacy as a BIPOC woman, you must master your ability to:
Create more opportunities for yourself.
Connect with the contributions you offer.
As you progress through your career, these are the three main checkpoints you will use to evaluate your worth and build the career of your dreams.
While going through this journey, though, think about ways to begin making these connections for yourself. One of the best ways to do that can start with mentorship and networking at your current position.
Networking and mentorship are the best ways to build professional connections and establish your footing to live boldly in your career. The key here is to not let the fear of rejection stop you from taking action. If you do, you're only preventing yourself from fully embracing your identity, which is needed in the workforce.
As you think about making these connections, start by asking what types of people you want in your network, especially those who can encourage you to walk confidently in your boldness.
Advocating for Yourself in the Workplace
When you're a BIPOC woman, it's easy to feel like you don't have the same opportunities as your peers. But to succeed in your career, you must advocate for yourself and speak up when necessary.
This means you must complete tasks like taking the initiative in conversations, asking for help when needed, and being bold enough to call out inappropriate behavior.
So if you need additional help advocating for yourself, here are some tips for doing just that:
Be confident in your abilities. You may not have been raised with the same privileges as others who look like you--but that doesn't mean there isn't room for growth! If someone says something negative about your work or skillset, don't let them get under your skin; instead, use their comments to reflect on how they could have made their point more effectively (and politely).
Know what rights and responsibilities belong to employees at all levels of an organization. That way, no one takes advantage of anyone else's ignorance about these topics intentionally or unintentionally.
Be sure you understand the importance of open communication. If someone is making a mistake or not performing up to par, don't cover for them; tell them what they did wrong and how to improve. It's crucial to take note of this for when you encounter moments where speaking up is your only option and gives you a chance to evaluate your company's responses.
Overall, don't be afraid to ask for what you want, and don't hesitate to negotiate. You have as much right to a challenging job as anyone else--and if you're not getting that opportunity or attention from your employer, then it's up to you to advocate for yourself.
Improving Your Skills to Elevate Your Power
It's crucial to develop your professional skills as a BIPOC woman and to know how to communicate effectively with others in the workplace, especially when dealing with discrimination or microaggressions. This can be particularly challenging for younger women still learning to advocate for themselves and manage their careers.
Luckily, there are several ways to learn and show your knowledge off at your job to walk more boldly into specific scenarios. Some of the best methods include:
Explaining your professional opinion on a topic during a meeting or discussion.
Getting certified in a new skill or area of expertise and utilizing it to improve your job.
Publishing an article or book on your expertise, whether business-related or something else that interests you and will benefit the company.
Staying Informed and Educated to Achieve More
Staying informed and educated is essential to being a BIPOC woman in the workplace. You should be aware of current events, your rights and responsibilities, and how to value yourself if you want the upper hand in any situation.
There are many ways to stay informed and educated within your industry, with a few including:
Reading newspapers and magazines, especially those that feature stories about race or issues related to the Black community.
Following news and industry pages on social media like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
Listening to podcasts or radio shows hosted by BIPOC hosts who discuss topics relevant to you.
Attend events hosted by organizations that support BIPOC women or attend conferences focused on diversity in your industry.
By knowing what is available to you and taking advantage of the resources around you, you can make educated decisions about how to best utilize those resources while continuing to establish your career.
Creating Support to Nurture Your Growing Career
One of the most crucial things you can do as a woman of color in the workforce is to create a solid support system. This can be done through multiple avenues, such as professional organizations and networking with other BIPOC people and supporters in your field.
The more you can surround yourself with other BIPOC people and supporters at various levels in their careers, the more you will learn from them. This helps you feel supported and provides a network of individuals who can help you navigate the common challenges faced by many BIPOC women in your field.
In professional settings, there are two significant ways to build more supportive networks in your field:
Professional Organizations: Many national and local organizations support BIPOC women in business. These organizations offer mentorship programs, networking opportunities, and resources to help you grow your career as a woman of color business owner or executive.
Personal Networking: It's also essential to connect with other professionals who share similar experiences as you through personal connections such as friends or family members who work in industries related to yours; this allows them to provide insight into what it takes for them to succeed in their careers so that when you're faced with challenges later down the line, you'll know how to keep your head held high too.
BIPOC women have what it takes to make a massive impact professionally. All we have to do to build that legacy for ourselves is be confident in our abilities and advocate for ourselves to walk firmly on our boldness.
Improving our skills and staying informed and educated as BIPOC women will also elevate our power and help us achieve our goals. But we can't do it alone--creating a support system is crucial to nurturing our growing careers.
And finally, leading with intention as women in leadership is the key to making positive change happen in our workplaces and communities. So let's continue to live boldly, take risks, and show the world what we're made of.
Together, we can break down barriers and pave the way for future generations of strong, successful BIPOC women.
To learn more about how Odihi is adding to this mission, check out our programs and resources by clicking here.