A few months ago, I quit another job. Some of my friends were confused why I would give up this stability, income, and seeming step towards adulthood. This disconnect is because some of my friends are white and do not understand the stress that working in a predominantly white place where no one listens to you (or the few other BIPOC who also mention the same concerns daily) brings. These were the same friends that had questions when I fled my first full-time job, with benefits, in Chicago as well or the part-time one in what was supposed to be my dream theatre. Much like the job I ran away from in June, those were also hellish nightmares that had taken a toll on me emotionally for very similar problems.
I know for a fact that I am not the only woman of color who often has to quit and put up with a ton of questions. There are so many memes and collected data on the internet tracking the cycle of femmes of color being hired in places that do not want to support us, hear us, or create a safe work environment. Here is a short list of reasons why I quit these specific jobs, and I am struggling to decide if I want to work a full-time job or go back to the gig economy where I was poorer but at least respected myself. Not referring to us as, “strategic hires,” to our faces without unpacking your company’s history of not hiring people who look like us is a freebie.
- Circling the Drain. I cannot tell you how many times I have had the same conversation with a supervisor for them to pretend every time is the first time I am bringing it up. I started keeping receipts and would sometimes respond to the email chain from a previous time the issue was brought up, or refer to the issue on a chain with others, but this was always somehow a new conversation that they had no recollection of having before. This is beyond infuriating because I bothered to bring the issue to their attention one (or fifty) times instead of going over their head. I am trying to create a dialogue and they do not even have the decency to pretend to care about my concerns. It also signifies that we will never make progress because we cannot get past the first step after acknowledging the problem.
- The Lack of Self-Accountability. After raising concerns about problematic behaviors in email threads, in meetings, and wherever else they pop up, I sometimes get invited to face-to-face meetings. These meetings usually open with friendly banter before these supervisors decide they are finally ready to…