Many notables have quoted chaos or scary times as opportunities for success. Though attributed to several people, Virgil, a Roman poet, said, “Fortune favors the bold”. Boldness is on tap these days.
With one of the biggest pools of talent on the market and abundance of financial “help”, this may be one of the biggest opportunities for growth and expansion since The Great Depression, and black women should take advantage. Some may argue that kind of thinking is self-centered or insensitive, however, when it comes to survival all options exist. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1.6 million jobs were lost in the last two months. This leaves an overworked workforce handling more with less capacity and many jobs to fill – perhaps, in new sectors created out of chaos. How can black women position themselves and use these gaps to enhance their careers, or even personal goals? La’Wana Harris, inclusion coach and founder of La’Wana Harris, Inc., and author of the book, Diversity Beyond Lip Service, A Coaching Guide for Challenging Bias shares 5 ways black women can shift their career paths, or even go off the path.
La’Wana Harris: Invest in generational wealth building opportunities including land, residential and commercial properties. Form an investment club with your family, church, or sorority sisters and strategically buy one house, building or lot of land each year. Reinvest your profits every year and soon you will be able to buy entire neighborhoods including apartment complexes and shopping malls. You may have to start small, but don’t despise small beginnings.
Recover From Being Fired or Derailed
Harris: It’s a great time to reinvent yourself. The world is on pause. Make the most of this time by doing an inventory of what you bring to the table. Rebrand yourself if needed and shake off past mistakes. Seek out a good recruiter and tap into your network. Put yourself on the market and own the lessons learned as stepping stones for the next phase of your career journey.
Start a Business
Harris: Black women should seize the opportunity to begin rebuilding Black Wall Street in cities all over the country—one business at a time. Entrepreneurship is the quickest path to building sustainable Black wealth so that the next generation will have a solid financial foundation to build upon. Look for disruptive business models like Uber, Instacart and Grubhub that are aligned with emerging technology trends.
Negotiate or Renegotiate Your Salary
Harris: Proactively negotiate or renegotiate your salary. The war on talent is real and the data consistently shows that Black women are under paid compared to men and white women. Document your contributions and successes and make a proposal for a pay equity salary increase. Be ready to stand your ground and leave for an employer that will pay you what you deserve if you are not satisfied with the outcome of your negotiations.
Quit, Yes, Quit
Harris: The job market is experiencing an unprecedented upheaval. Many businesses and in some cases, entire industries are pivoting to meet the evolving demands of the new normal. Don’t allow fear to stop you from leaving a toxic environment especially if you are stuck in a position where you are not able to contribute to your fullest potential. Start making your exit strategy and find a place where you can do your best work.