Still on Hidden Figures and the moments that had me squirming in my seat, sighing deeply, or straight bawling my eyes out…
Yesterday’s Wooden Door is Today’s Glass Ceiling
A few days ago, a girlfriend of mine called me, completely distraught. She has been working on a difficult work project for months and just as she was finally approaching a note-worthy breakthrough, a senior leader took the project and assigned it to someone else. She felt disregarded, invisible, unimportant. How many of us have felt this way in the workplace at least once? You work hard on something only to have it snatched from you in the moment of glory. Kat must have felt the same heartbreak each time she was asked to work behind the scenes only to have a White, male counterpart take credit. In the final scenes of the movie, she solves a complicated and life-altering problem, and as soon as she communicates the solution, the door is shut in her face. Literally. She is shut out from seeing the fruits of her labor. She is shut out from the glory and recognition.
I saw Hidden Figures on MLK day. I haven’t written in a while but I couldn’t stay away after watching this film. I don’t recall any movie ever touching me quite this way. My only regret was having to watch it in a theater full of old, White folks who annoyed me with every exclamation. Like, honestly, why are you collectively gasping at the sight of the “Colored Only” coffee pot or bathroom? This wasn’t that long ago…you were an adult then.
I felt so much during and after this movie and I couldn’t wait to come home and share. Given how rich this film is, I will share my thoughts over the next couple of parts to do it justice. Btw, Spoiler Alert!
Did you see the Grammys last night? I did. I rarely watch award shows, or TV in general for that matter. However I happened to be at the boyfriend’s last night and we ended up watching it.
So…Kendrick Lamar. Kendrick Kendrick Kendrick! My mind is so blown, I am not sure where to start. That performance stole the entire show! His spirit, his fire, his lyrical talent, his artistic vision, his message! I was so proud to be Black in that moment. Throughout his entire performance, I was completely enthralled, not caring who else was in the room and what they were thinking or experiencing. Not caring if his passion and directness made anyone uncomfortable. It was for me. He was…
OK, so no one actually said this to me directly. Not in those words anyway. I put the quotation marks to rattle you. 😉
All kidding aside, the sentiment behind the title is one I have encountered countless times as a young woman in Corporate America. Given the fact that I am often the youngest person at my level at each company I have worked at, this isn’t surprising. Having a coworker or supplier throw their years of experience in my face has become somewhat of a daily occurrence. Usually it’s prefaced with the statement, “I don’t want to date myself…“, but their intent is to do just that. To let me know they have been doing this job since I was in diapers. That my “fancy MBA” cannot compete with their hard-earned on-the-job training. Other times they say things like “In the good old days…” or they find a way to work in the even-less subtle “I have a daughter/son about your age…” in the conversation.
Have you ever had to go from sitting in a nice cushy office with one employer to switching to a cubicle with another?
Let me tell you. It is not easy.
I. miss. my. office.
In my current role, I get to work in an ultra-modern, brightly and naturally lit building with fully equipped gyms, convenient dry cleaning, fully stocked cafeteria, flex hours and…….yup, cubicles. Everyone, from the person in the mail room to director level folks sits in one of these. I am not claiming to be above sitting in a cube. Before my last job, I had always sat in them as well. But trust me, after a 4 year stint, a girl gets accustomed to certain things. Such as having a door and being able to shut it on occasion. Lol.
All of the below happened to me in my first 2 weeks of being in a cube: