All Articles Tagged "working"

Standing The Test Of Time: 13 Seasoned Black Actresses Still Working In Hollywood

July 15th, 2013 - By Kelly Franklin
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On Oprah’s “Next Chapter” special on Black Actresses in Hollywood,  Viola Davis said it best when she shared, “We’re in crisis mode as black actresses.” Beautiful, black and talented actresses play our favorite characters on the big screen, with the ability to make us laugh, cry or high-five our sisters in solidarity (think Angela Bassett torching her cheating husband’s things on Waiting To Exhale). Unfortunately, despite the success, fame, and riches, black actresses still face a shortage of opportunities and limited types of roles in Hollywood. If you factor in the competitive nature of this career, it’s amazing we can even say there are thriving black actresses in Hollywood. But when it comes to these women that’s the case. And what’s even more remarkable about these ladies is that they’ve been excelling in the industry for decades. Check out the list.

MN, M.D.: I’m Just Entering The Workforce But My Social Anxiety Leaves Me Physically Sick Before I’m Supposed To Arrive At The Office

June 10th, 2013 - By Mercy Edionwe MD
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Source: Shutterstock

Source: Shutterstock

Q: Do you have any advice for someone just entering the working world who suffers from social anxiety? I experience physical symptoms like headaches and nausea a few hours before I’m supposed to show up at work. I have a hard time feeling comfortable and confident when I finally get there. I absolutely hate being around others and meeting new people. I find myself going to the bathroom unnecessarily just to escape being around others. I reflect for hours on my interactions at work after I get home imagining how stupid I must have come off to people. Unfortunately, I cannot put off working any longer. I’m 19 and really need the experience and money. However, I just realized how hard my life is going to be if I cant figure this anxiety and work thing.

It seems like you have a severe case of social anxiety disorder (SAD).  Don’t worry, you are not alone. It is one of the most common psychiatric conditions in the U.S.  Anxiety disorders affect about 40 million American adults.  You probably have a relative with a similar case of anxiety or you had a traumatizing experience in the past (eg, speaking in front of an audience or a history of childhood teasing).  Either way, SAD causes an annoyance to daily living.  People often report that the anxiety when they were in their teens, but some have noticed it as early as 5 years old.  You probably were also quite shy when you were young.  SAD often occurs when there is an anticipation of a new environment or experience (eg, job promotion that requires public speaking) and usually improves when the person gains experience in that area.

Here are a few tips to help you cope with daily living.  Taking time for you is first and foremost.  Try ways to take the stress off by practicing yoga, listening to music, mediating, or getting a massage.  Find ways to relax and clear your head about anything that causes you to stress.  Getting enough sleep, exercising daily, limiting alcohol and caffeine can all be used in reducing stress and ultimately removing anxiety.  Stop aiming for perfection because it does not exist.  Have a good attitude in everything.  Lastly, try to look for local anxiety support groups that can help you in coping with this on a daily basis.

For me, when I come across a stressful situation, I always remind myself that it is only for a “season.”  Whatever happens only happens for a moment of time.  Even if it is going to be a recurring part of my life, I have to tell myself that it is something I am going through but it does not become me.  I strive for the best, and if it does not turn out to be a success, I can leave that situation knowing that I did what I could do for that moment. Yes, I try to think about how I can do it better in the future, but I cannot let the past continue to be my present!  It happened and I need to move on.  Don’t waste time thinking about what others think about you. You may think they notice you are nervous, but keep this in mind: they are not thinking about you.  They are busy trying to think about how they are coming across.  You need to go into every situation “like a lion” and when the nervous feeling comes into play, always have a strategy on how to quickly resolve it (eg, prayer, taking deep breaths while inhaling and exhaling, counting to 10 slowly).  And as I often tell people when dealing with a situation that is causing anxiety, “fake it ‘til you make it”!  In other words, present yourself as a person of confidence until that experience becomes comfortable for you.

There are several medications that can help to curb this anxiety.  Antidepressants are typically used to treat depression, but also are quite effective when it comes to anxiety disorders.  Cognitive behavioral therapy is another therapy that is effective.  It involves a psychologist or counselor talking with you about what you are experiencing.  They will then help you change how you see your situation and how you react to it.  The ultimate goal is to teach you how to cope better with your anxiety.  Some people find it effective to take medications only, while others take medications and do therapy at the same time.  It is very important to talk to your doctor about this because anxiety can lead to other conditions like depression, substance abuse, and even suicide.

Breathe, Stretch, Prioritize: How To Be More Productive At Work

May 22nd, 2013 - By Ashley Page
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When you go to work, you go there to do well..work. However, sometimes getting all of your work done in a set amount of time can be difficult. From distractions to randomly called meetings, there are all sorts of things that throw off our work and productivity balance in the workplace. However, if you want to become one of those ultra-productive employees, there are some tips you’ll want to keep at hand, like these.

Shutterstock

Shutterstock

Know when your day ends

Instead of coming in at 7:00 am each morning and leaving at whenever pm, you’ll want to give yourself a specific working schedule each day. If you arrive at 7:00, make it clear to yourself that you must be out of the office by 4:00 at the latest. Having a time when you know you need to be leaving work puts a bit more pressure on you to get your work done in a certain amount of time. Otherwise you can slack off all day and not head home until 7:00 pm.

Bringing Home The Bacon: Lauren London Discusses Being A Working Mom & More!

March 9th, 2013 - By MN Editor
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Source: Getty Images

Source: Getty Images

From Essence

Even a Hollywood starlet like Lauren London battles with the challenges of being a single, working mother.

The new star of BET’s The Game says juggling her work life and raising her 4-year-old son Cameron Carter (dad is rapper Lil’ Wayne) has its challenges. “It’s not easy but I’m not the first to do it,” she told ESSENCE at their sixth annual Black Women in Hollywood luncheon. “I know I can do it; there’s a lot of mothers that work. I got the blueprint from my mother who was a working mom, so I just get it done.”

Aside from her family, London says she finds inspiration from women in the industry like The Game’s creator Mara Brock Akil, a mom of two. “Just working with Mara continues to inspire me to meet the goals that I continue to make for myself,” she said.

Yes, women are definitely finding a way to keep their family’s heads above water. For more with Lauren, including what she thinks about her new character on The Game, head over to Essence.

Are you a single, working mom?  Do you have family support or are you doing it alone? How do you make it work?

Back To Work! Nia Long Hits The Small Screen In Showtime’s “House Of Lies”

February 23rd, 2013 - By MN Editor
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From ESSENCE

Showtime’s hit series House of Lies has earned much attention since it debuted in 2012. Now in its second season, the clever comedy about an over-the-top consultant, played by Best Comedy Actor Golden Globe winner Don Cheadle, continues to up the ante with guest stars. Nia Long is among the selected actors to appear on the series this season and we hear her upcoming episode may raise some eyebrows.

Nia talks about her character, Tamara:

“The very first time you meet her, she talks about how she’s been out of the game raising children. She’s a wife. And coming back into the game she wants to have some sort of integrity for herself. When you look at the characters on House of Lies, they are all very twisted. They are not what they seem. They’re back stabbing. They’re just ugly people, not nice people. They go for theirs.  I think Tamara’s approach to things isn’t that way. She has a different way of getting what she wants.”

On what it’s like working with Don Cheadle:

AH-MAZ-ING! He is probably my new favorite person right now. At first I was so intimidated and nervous and I never get that way. I don’t know what it was about him. I don’t know what it was that made me feel that way. I think it was me coming on to a show that’s already established. I’ve seen almost everything he’s done. I’ve always wanted to work with him. I really like him because he stays under the radar and does great work. He doesn’t care about the fanfare or the fame.

Don’t you just love her? It’ll be great to see her back to work.  You can read the full interview on Essence.

Do you watch House of Lies?

Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough: Toya Is Coming Back To Reality Television!

January 13th, 2013 - By Drenna Armstrong
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Because it’s not enough that their marriage has been featured on reality television in some capacity for almost as long as they’ve been married, Toya and Memphitz are on their way back to a small screen near you.

That’s right, TMZ is reporting that Toya and her husband, Mickey (aka “Memphitz”) are in the process of filming a reality show pilot. According to sources, the working title is Mickey and Toya: The Wright Way and it’ll feature the couple attempting to start a new business while trying to keep their marriage together.

It appears Toya’s full-time job is now reality star. Many people already knew Toya as the ex-wife of rap star Lil Wayne (they also chare a child together, 14 year old Reginae). That title helped land her first reality show on BET, Tiny and Toya, in which she co-starred with rapper T.I.’s wife, Tameka “Tiny” Cottle.  While the show was a success, it only last one season (allegedly due to Tiny’s husband’s “concerns”). Luckily for her, Toya’s reality star “power” was revealed and she was able to land her own show, Toya: A Family Affair, which also aired on BET and featured the ups and downs she went through with a family full of problems, raising her daughter, and eventually being married to Memphitz.

Toya and Mickey were married in 2011 and while they seem to be a nice couple, they’ve had a little “cloud” over their relationship for the past few months based on Mickey’s alleged past “issues.” In 2012, singer K. Michelle starred in VH1’s Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta and she alleged that Mickey was physically and verbally abusive during their business and personal relationship. Mickey denied all the allegations and Toya stood by her man.

Sources say the show is being shopped to BET, MTV, Oxygen and FUSE but if history is any indication, we know where it’ll land.

Will you be watching?

Have You Seen The Unemployment Rate?! Why I’m Convinced Some People Just Don’t Want A Job

October 22nd, 2012 - By Brande Victorian
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Source: Shutterstock

I don’t know if you’ve checked the unemployment rate lately but as of September, the US was sitting at 7.8%. However looking at some people’s work ethic these days, you’d think we are still in the midst of the Clinton glory days because to put it mildly, good help is hard to find.

I shouldn’t even say help because unless you’re volunteering no one who is receiving compensation for their services is helping anyone. They are being paid to do a job and unless that job is done to the satisfaction of the one compensating for it, then said employee has not in fact done their job. You would think that would be a simple enough concept to grasp, but for some reason people tend to think it’s their employer’s job to work for them rather than the other way around.

Chatting it up with a few editors from time to time, I’m always amazed at the mindset of the freelance writers they work with. From weekend editors who are upset that work interferes with their weekend (did you catch the irony?), to sporadic contributors who don’t appreciate the lack of creative control they have, to writers who don’t understand why they should have to pitch anything or turn in assignments on a certain date, everyone seems to forget that as a freelance writer you are your own boss in a sense, but you still work for someone else. That means you have to play by their rules – if you want to keep receiving a paycheck of course.

But this isn’t just a freelance situation either, even full-time, 401K-having, name on payroll status employees think they’re untouchable. At a previous job there was a man everyone was convinced must have had dirt on everybody in management because he literally did everything but work – at work. When I say everything I mean play his guitar at his desk (and just so you know I wasn’t working at a recording studio this was publishing office). He went on daily hour-long runs and walked from his desk to the bathroom in nothing put a white undershirt, running shorts, and knee socks to change clothes. He clipped his finger- and toenails on a weekly basis causing us to constantly ask how many fingers and toes does he have; and on top of it all he was noticeably intoxicated on a daily basis. Everything about him screamed “fire me” yet there he remained on a daily basis just as comfy as he could be while millions of Americans sat discouraged behind computer screens wishing they could be in his position.

I’m not naïve to the fact that some people genuinely hate their jobs and have no desire to impress the higher-ups or even move up the corporate ladder. That I don’t mind. There’s a lot of pressure that comes with power and being burnt out from being overworked and underpaid or simply being comfortable in your mid-level position is your prerogative. What I do have a problem with, though, is people who expect so much from their employer – time-off considerations, raises, promotions, flexibility to handle certain projects or responsibilities with less oversight – without doing what they’re supposed to do in the first place, i.e. their job.

When I was freelancing, I was probably one of the thirstiest writers around for those six months. Without a set paycheck I knew the only thing that could guarantee money to pay my bills was my  being available for assignments and doing them well when they were given to me. I was in grind mode and my number one priority was to fulfill the expectations that my editors bestowed on me and make their lives easier, not argue that things should be done my way. After all, if they had to fix my work or do it for me, what did they need me for? Unfortunately, the attitude from so many employees, permanent or not, seems to be that they are irreplaceable and should be treated as such. Again I’ll ask the question in the title of this article, have you seen the unemployment rate?

Ratchet as it may be, for some reason Mase’s line in “Been Around the World” keeps coming to mind when I think about this lazy entitlement conundrum: “Now trick what? Lace who? That ain’t what Mase do. Got a lot of girls that’d love to replace you.” A more appropriate lyric might be Beyonce’s “Irreplaceable” line, “Don’t you ever for a second get to thinking you’re irreplaceable,” but you catch my drift.

There are too many people crying in the unemployment line and dying for a chance to impress someone on the job for there to be so many obvious and frequent instances of people simply taking their employment for granted. I blame HR bureaucracy for some of the foolishness because it really shouldn’t take nearly as long as it does to hire the right person and fire the wrong one but rest assured just like what’s done in the dark always comes to the light, just because some people are skating under the radar now doesn’t mean that will always be the case. Eventually unemployment will catch up to these folks who clearly don’t really want to work – or worst come to worst their coworkers will take ‘em out.  :)

*Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Paper and Passion: Do You Have a Side Hustle?

August 10th, 2012 - By Mame Kwayie
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Black Woman/side Hustle

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It started as a hobby, something I snuck away to do every now and then, a little something special just for me. This weekend, my hobby saw me hunkered down into what I’ve dubbed “my writing nook”, the little corner in my apartment in which I spend hours tapping into a computer keyboard, reading the day’s news, and getting a feel for what the world is talking about. Writing, you see, is my side hustle. What I do for pleasure, I also now do for pay. What started as the occasional blog post and short story for friends only is now a second prong in my career, complete with working primarily on nights and weekends, promoting my pieces on social media networks, and the keeping up with the go-go-go of being about my own business. That go-go-go is no different than the grind of a weekday nine-to-five and, lucky for me, both go hand-in-hand with building the skill set I hope will serve me through the trajectory of my career.

I once worked with a girl named Kelly who went as hard in her side hustle as she did in our office. Graphic design was her passion, she said, and the idea that she could turn it into profit (she provided freelance services for many well-known corporations) and add the experience as a bullet point on her resume provided a second wind of motivation. Kelly’s side hustle was a boon for her skill set, and it eventually landed her a full-time gig that more closely resembled her dream than the corporate world did.

It seems that more and more twenty-somethings comprise a Generation-Y workforce that keeps two sets of business cards, one printed for us by our employers and ones we have designed ourselves for the work we do on our own time.

As writer Larissa Faw noted in Forbes Magazine:

Today’s young professionals…aren’t easily categorized. I still can’t figure out what to prioritize on my LinkedIn profile. I am a journalist, marketing consultant, and co-partner for an internet company. All are equally important to my identity.

Perhaps that explains the little twinge I get when someone asks me what I do; I’m always compelled to make sure a person knows all that my career encompasses beyond my weekday title. Faw goes on to indicate that, “This generation of millennial does not identify with one company or career…[T]heir priorities are their own skill set.”

Side hustles are not just the stuff of dream chasing, but also indicators of the economy’s brunt on recent graduates and those looking for full-time work. For many, the extra gig is what makes the student loan payment every month.

Scan your social media profiles and you’re likely to find a friend or follower who is a personal trainer and a life coach and a blogger and a consultant and a web designer and a karaoke DJ and a photographer. Oh, and they’re working on their first novel. Last month, I wrote about being busy for busy’s sake and not being as diligent about having a full, well-rounded life as we are about creating solid careers. The side hustle is not the antithesis of that. It is, instead, a way of allocating our working hours to serve both our employers and our personal passions. It’s also not for a lack of focus. Millennials, it seems, are okay with clocking 40 hours a week at their full-time job and an additional 10-20 hours a week on a job that pays a few bills and brings them closer to their personal goals.

The concept of working for the same company from college graduation until retirement belong to the days of old, it seems. Perhaps the generational boom in professional versatility is due to Generation Y’s unprecedented access to resources that were once only available to corporations. Millennials are the first group to grow up connected, with Internet-capable computers in their classrooms and music available with the click of a mouse. Couple our seemingly in-built affinity for technology with social media, and we can build a worldwide sphere of influence without spending a dime on a marketing campaign.

The same graphic design programs once only affordable to big businesses with big budgets are now accessible to Kelly who can produce professional quality work from home. The aspiring film maker can now film and edit movies on his own and do it inexpensively (and preview the finished product on YouTube). For young professionals, the barriers to entry that once existed are all but extinct. Technology has likely triggered a shifting mindset as well. Our phones, our televisions, our music players and our computers have almost always been customizable. Why not our careers, too?

What’s your side hustle? How do you balance it with your full-time job?

More on Madame Noire!

Overworked & Overscheduled? What Are You Trying To Prove By Being “Busy” 24/7?

July 10th, 2012 - By Mame Kwayie
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Busy Black Woman

BlackLoveandMarriage.com

I’m a woman who used to wear her busyness like a badge. It was as if I earned a couple of “she’s-a-productive-member-of-society” points every time I tapped into my smartphone as I walked down the street (See, I even work when I walk!), informed friends that I’d pencil them in for happy hour dates (Because I’m so busy, I need a calendar to have cocktails and calamari), or showed a co-worker my written to-do list at the first sign that they wanted my help with a new project (See all of this? It needs to be finished today. I’ll remind you of such when I’m eating a cheese sandwich at my desk this afternoon and then tomorrow when I inform you that I didn’t see sunlight since, you know, I came in early and left after the cleaning crew did.)

It’s in the latter situation that I hated being asked this question: “Are you busy?” For co-workers, it’s an icebreaker. A means to ask for help with a project, and I’m often glad to offer my assistance. So glad in fact, that I’ll overschedule and overwork myself to do it. But for you to ask me if I’m busy? How dare you? Who am I if I’m not busy? Of course I’m needed every second of the day and to remind you of such, I’ll tweet at 4:00 a.m. how hard I’m grinding while the rest of you sleep.

I’m busy and that means something, right?

Not so, says writer Tim Kreider, whose recent piece for the New York Times’ Opinionator blog questioned the concept of “the busy trap.” “Busyness serves as a kind of existential reassurance, a hedge against emptiness; obviously your life cannot possibly be silly or trivial or meaningless if you are so busy, completely booked, in demand every hour of the day,”  Kreider writes, smacking at what I think this busy trap and the “they sleep, we grind” method of ladder climbing is really about: Our busyness is a manifestation of our fears that we human beings are not enough if we are not bustling, productive doers. Being busy, it seems, is not a function of productivity and dream chasing, but of stroking our egos.

This “busy” dialogue comes on the heels of Anne Marie Slaughter’s essay  for The Atlantic on whether working women can have it all, reigniting an age-old conversation about work/life balance for professionals with families and the guilt that comes with choosing one side over the other. That article and the firestorm it created tapped into a bigger discussion for working people at large: the nature of the American work culture. Because men can’t have it all, either, nor can young, single professionals or individuals whose jobs and meager paychecks make the concept of having it all a class consideration. Having what all? As Hanna Rosin notes in her essay for Slate, “None of us can have it all.”

I’ll save my feminist musings, and I (single and childless) won’t begin to suggest how parents who double as professionals can make it all work. But as a young nine-to-fiver who has a side hustle and dreams and 10,000 hours to log and 20 pounds to lose, working hard is a necessity.

But so is time to breathe. Kreider writes:

The space and quiet that idleness provides is a necessary condition for standing back from  life and seeing it as whole, for making unexpected connections and waiting for the wild summer lightning strikes of inspiration. It is, paradoxically, necessary to getting any work done.

We often ascribe the concept of “discipline” solely to the idea of work. But we need to be disciplined about living full, mentally and physically healthy lives— working when it’s time to work (I’m now a purveyor of the “work smarter, not harder” concept of dream chasing and corporate life), resting when it is time to rest, and playing when it is time to play.

When my social life began to unravel, when I had aches in my muscles and was sicker than ever, I knew that my sun-up to sun-down days of getting cheese sandwich crumbs caught in my keyboard had to stop. Sometimes, it’s as simple as stepping away from the computer and walking outside for 15 minutes. Sometimes, it’s hopping on an airplane and disconnecting from social media for a weekend, unplugging as a means to recharge and live in the moment. Sometimes, it’s lying in bed and watching the blades on my ceiling fan rotate.

The discipline of living a full life is also about absolving the guilt we feel for doing so. (This is where I insert the oft-told adage of no one on her deathbed has ever wished she’d worked harder.)

Who am I if I’m not doing? I’m loving, I’m breathing, I’m living, I’m watching the blades on my ceiling fan spin and not feeling bad about it. I’m realizing that I am more than what I do. Sometimes being is enough.

And, seriously, get off Twitter. It’s 4:00 a.m. Go to sleep.

Readers, do you find yourselves caught in a busy trap? In which ways do you lead full, well-rounded lives?

More on Madame Noire!

 

When Your Job is a Joke: 5 Ways to Combat Underemployment

June 22nd, 2012 - By Alissa Henry
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Are you underemployed? If so, you’re not alone.

Recently, the Associated Press reported “1 in 2 new graduates are jobless or underemployed”.

According to the AP:

“Young adults with bachelor’s degrees are increasingly scraping by in lower-wage jobs — waiter or waitress, bartender, retail clerk or receptionist, for example — and that’s confounding their hopes a degree would pay off despite higher tuition and mounting student loans…About 1.5 million, or 53.6 percent, of bachelor’s degree-holders under the age of 25 last year were jobless or underemployed, the highest share in at least 11 years.”

Most would agree being underemployed is better than being jobless, but that doesn’t mean individuals who are underemployed have it easy.

While looking for the job we want, some of us have realized it is necessary to take any job we can get as long as it stops the slow drain of available funds in our checking accounts. However, underemployment doesn’t have to be a permanent situation. The following slides will show you five ways to combat being underemployed.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock