I was sitting in the office meeting, the only brown person for miles. Every other person with my skin tone was a worker and did not hold an office position like myself.
I was in this meeting as the lone representative of a minority employee, which was by design. The person who hired me initially found something of substance in me, yet had switched her tune some months into my career there. Instead of being for me, she was now against me, and it was her agenda to turn the minds of leadership to have that same view.
I could see now in this meeting, her agenda was working. Though I was seated at the table, I was ignored. The owner of the company spoke to everyone but me. Made eye contact with everyone but me. I was being iced out. This was a tactic I now know groups of folks can use to reject you, and at the time, I felt every bit of that rejection.
For months I would go to work being iced out. The lady trying to thwart my career was making her rounds and planting seeds of division and deception. Though her role was in HR, she did anything but support and protect me. Instead, she was creating the perfect list of shortcomings I had to adequately fire me. She knew that since I was the only person of color in the office, she was walking a fine line. The firing could easily be called racism, and she didn’t want that to happen. The irony is that I could see that that was exactly what she was functioning in.
The other ironic thing is that everything she accused me of resulted from the whole system’s dysfunction. I was the sole person in charge of payroll, which is insane for a staff of 200 employees and three different locations. It gets even crazier because by the time I left, there were 7 total locations and double the number of employees. Payroll initially consisted of a manual process where I had to calculate every person’s hours by hand. A recipe for error. Then we switched systems in the midst of exponential growth, which meant I had to learn new systems and use the old manual way for a period of time. There was only one person over me, and his role was to perform a general overview of my work. No other checks and balances were in place to assist me with this process.
Being the worker bee that I am, I tried and tried to beat the system. I worked super long days, would come in on weekends, and was required to work holidays because payroll had to come out.
I remember one day one of the Black workers came in and joked about feeling like a slave. I told him, “Brother, it ain’t much better in here!” I seriously felt like a house slave. Yes, I was in the house, but I still wasn’t free.
I remember when my annual review came, and they passed me up for their $3000 bonus. I was the one who adjusted everyone’s pay, so I knew when people received pay increases. I knew the salary of every worker there was, and then I got passed over. I was hurt.
I prayed to be released, but there was something the Father was doing in them and in me during this time. He was using me as a picture of their sin, and He was giving them an opportunity to repent. I knew that how they treated me was how they were treating Him because He is in me.
One particular meeting regarding my performance came about one day. I was scared to death. I sent out a prayer request to my spiritual family. I remember feeling like David in the lion’s den, and just like David, I came out untouched. They extended my time there 90 more days and did not fire me.
But those 90 days were ending, and I was being iced out. The head HR lady was making it very clear she wanted me gone. I had never had an experience like this. I had never been accused of being a poor worker. I had never been under the brunt of such extreme criticism of my work. One day I looked up from my desk, saw them interviewing different people, and knew they were replacing me. The writing was on the wall. I finally submitted my two-week resignation letter so that I wouldn’t have to be fired.
My mom kept saying, “I just want you to start your own business.” I fulfilled her request. This experience was the last 9 to 5 I worked in the 5 years since her passing. Still, I had to get to my release first.
The days went by, and I learned I would have to train the person they replaced me with. I also learned that they had to hire two people just to fill my one position. That’s how much work I was doing for them. I said, “God, how am I going to train this woman?” I was so hurt, and doing that felt like such a burden. Still, I wanted to fulfill my obligation to them because I was honorable. Well, I never got the chance. The morning I was to go to work to do just that, I found my mom deceased.
It was shocking, to say the least, because we knew that she was sick but not to the point of death.
Things flew into action, and I had to make the call to my employer. I would not be at work today.
I can’t imagine their shock. It is even more sad to think that the person who was attacking my character had the power to be a support for me. My work community had no idea what was going on with me personally because they never tried to find out. The only person who did show any ounce of compassion during my 90 days was my boss. But still, he had his own job to secure and could not risk his career for mine.
Days after my mom’s funeral (which by the way happened without any type of card or flowers from them), my friends and I dropped off my work stuff. I could not go inside, so thankfully, one of them did (they are just that good). I can only imagine the looks on the faces of my former colleagues when they saw my friend. What could they say? They had failed me. They had failed me as a work community and as fellow human beings. They had failed.
But God did not fail me.
And I did not fail me. I did not stick around when it was clear I was being used, sabotaged, and persecuted.We need to know our value in any circumstance. Click To Tweet
As adults, we get to choose the people in our lives who will treat us the way we deserve to be treated. As children, we do not always have that luxury. But as adults, we do.
Whether it’s your career, relationship, or friendship, make sure your circle reflects your worth.
And when you notice that explicit, illuminated, striking, writing protruding from the wall.
I can assure you, it’s your time to go.
In other news, did you know that I just dropped the pre-sale for my debut novel When Love Wins? You can check out more here! This time around there is an audiobook in addition to the eBook and paperback versions. Make sure you are subscribed to my email list to catch special offers, discounts, insider information, and more!
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