“F*ck It, I’ll Do It Myself” And Other Black Woman Proverbs For The Workplace
While searching through my personal email account last month, I came across a 10-year-old email from a former supervisor that triggered me. It was belittling, condescending, passive-aggressive, and oppressive. I couldn’t believe a 10-year-old email had my stomach in knots. What I found to be the most interesting, however, was that I could search through my most recent employer-appointed email account and find similar emails. Different industry, different organization, different supervisor, 3 degrees later, and still, the same old anti-black undertones I have been experiencing since I entered the workforce at 14 years old. This accidental stroll down memory lane reminded me that being a Black woman in the workforce — especially predominately white spaces — is an experience that is unique from any other race or gender. It also reminded me that we have a particular set of coping strategies comprised of things that we have to tell ourselves (and sometimes others) to navigate these experiences without losing our minds. Here are ten Black woman proverbs for the workplace.
“F*ck it, I’ll do it myself”
Sometimes, at the end of the day, we’re all we got. It would certainly be nice if people kept their word, but that’s not always the case. Either way, when our names and reputations are on the line, we’re going to get the job done.
“You got the wrong one”
When people have gotten used to conducting themselves in a certain way with people, they begin to believe that they can pull their mess on anyone. Not here, not today.
“You must think I’m boo boo the fool”
Because feeble attempts to get over on us are downright insulting to our intelligence.
Some things don’t even warrant a real response because they are so beneath us.
“This ain’t what you want”
For whatever reason, there are some people in this world who target us because they believe it will help them to get ahead and further their personal or professional agendas. Unfortunately for them, they fail to recognize that doing so will open a can of worms for which they’re likely not equipped to handle, which is why gentle, yet loaded, reminders like this are necessary.
“This what we ain’t gon’ do”
So often, our kindness is mistaken for weakness and our silence for passivity. All the while, we’re just sitting back collecting information and analyzing situations. Ever so often, someone comes along and attempts to take advantage and you have to let them know it’s not happening.
“Y’all better be glad I’m saved”
Because sometimes people will push you so far, Jesus (or whoever you pray to) is the only thing holding you back from going completely off.
“Quiet as it’s kept”
Every organization has its share of funny business going on and we’re usually the first to peep game.
“You can’t keep a good woman down”
Office politics, overwhelming workloads, anti-black sentiments, and microaggressions in the workplace can wear you out after a while. Many days, we leave frustrated, vowing never to return again as the temptation to throw in the towel lurks in the background. Yet somehow, we always find the strength to pick ourselves up and keep it pushing because our goals are greater than anything they can throw at us. Pressing forward in the face of adversity is the only thing we know how to do.
“This too shall pass”
There are plenty of dark days that are behind us and likely a few more that lay ahead, but tough times don’t last forever, sis. So walk into work with your head held high and know that better days are coming.