If you’ve been on a corporate America sabbatical, stepping into a corporate office will make you notice that office cubicles are now more like community tables than isolated boxes. You’ll also notice that not much has actually changed. That is, of course, if you are a white man in corporate America. If you are a white man, or a white person, in corporate america then you are in an environment that is set up to understand and cater to your needs. Not much has changed on that front.
The rest of us, POC, may have a harder time fitting into workspaces that are not serving our communities. This is the case now more than ever.
Three years ago, I quit working for a tech Giant in Silicon Valley because I didn’t feel the environment I was contributing to, was contributing to me. When I quit and moved to LA, I found myself in the city that operated off employing freelancers. While it was a constant grind and the first time that I challenged my natural ability to hustle, and I took myself to extremes in my talent and skill sets, it gave me a lot more opportunity to be my own boss. Beyond that, I was able to line up who I wanted to work for with what I believed in. I contributed to visions I believed in and worked for people who I felt were genuine and focused on like-minded goals. Consequently, because my goal was to better our communities, I worked with a lot of people of color.
Imagine my surprise when I realized the rest of the world is still operating as if they are okay with it being a white man’s world. And while I love my work as an editor for a branding company that oversees content for 100 websites, I am exhausted at the fact that I am the only POC on my team and one of the few POC in the whole company. When we are in meetings, the majority of the people attending are White men, then Asian men, then White women, followed by Asian women. I’ve counted, multiple times. Usually, I am the only Latina, and my coworker is the only Black woman. Seeing so many white faces in a space that can further our lives makes me feel lonely, offended, and unsupported. There are hardships that come with being a minority in a corporate setting, but there are ways to cope with them as well.