Why I Was Away For So Long

It’s not unusual for me to hop out the shower prematurely, grab a towel, and run to my iPhone to jot down a fabulous idea for a blog. It’s not uncommon for me to pull over during my commute to the office to write down an idea for a blog. At the office, I leave a blank notepad on my desk to jot down ideas as soon as they come. Normally, blog ideas flow consistently.

I took a 15 month hiatus from my blog. Why? My life was so full of activity that I honestly had no mental energy to conjure up a blog post, even when I tried. 2016 and 2017 were eventful years. I graduated from my graduate school program in August 2016; endured a 6-month job search (from May 2016 through December 2016) and 14 interviews with 10 different companies; accepted a job offer and settled into a new career; relocated to a new apartment in the Raleigh-Durham area; and planned an Atlanta wedding from North Carolina. I was so busy, I don’t even know how I managed to stay on top of everything. Sadly though, one of the things that I truly adore, was put on the back burner: my blog.
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The Doctor Orders For A Successful Career

Every morning when I was in elementary school, I would wake up and complete my routine: wake up, read Bible, pray, bathe, brush teeth, get dressed, and eat breakfast. After breakfast, however, I would make my way back to my bedroom and write my schedule for the day on my dry erase board. The board would look something like this:

7:55am – 2:55pm School

2:55pm – 3:30pm Ride the bus home

3:30pm – 4:00pm Eat a snack

4:00pm – 5:00pm Do homework

5:00pm – 5:30pm Watch Saved By The Bell

You get the picture. Read More »

False Choice Between Babies and Startups

A couple of years ago, I was interviewing for a position at a start-up. I had been on the job-hunt for several months and was becoming more and more desperate to land a job. The interview was going very well. The interviewer seemed impressed with my experience and credentials, and we were developing a good rapport.

Given the engaging conversation we were having, I didn’t think anything of it when he so casually asked me where I was living and whether I planned on moving away from home. In a sly manner, he added, “And you don’t plan on having children anytime soon, do you?”

It was so sudden that I didn’t even have a chance to think about it. I was 26 at the time, so having children was the furthest thing from my mind, for I was married to my career. I quickly answered, “No.”

He offered me the position the next day.

It wasn’t until several days later that I thought about the implication of his question.  Besides it being illegal, I wondered whether I would have still been offered the position if I told him that I wanted to have children soon.

I’ve read numerous articles on how employers discriminate on women in their late 20’s and early 30’s for fear that they’ll devote more time to their children than to the job. I always thought this was ludicrous and believe that women can indeed become superwomen. We can have it all. The article below, written by Mrs. Zuhairah Scott Washington, General Manager at Uber-DC, clearly articulates my thoughts.

The False Choice Between Babies and Startups

Kanye-Fidence: How To Land The Job You Want

kanye-west“Yo, Yaa Yaa,” my brother said, scrolling through his phone, “I got a text message about this cool startup company looking for people. You wanna work there?”

“Sure,” I said looking up from my MacBook filled with an inbox of endless emails from recruiters. I had been on the job hunt for three months. For the first time in my life, I was willing to step into something new, and for some reason, a startup seemed like the something new I was searching for.

“So yeah, let me get the contact person’s phone number,” my brother said, looking at his phone. “Just give him a call. Cool?”

About a half hour later, I called the recruiter. I mentioned that I was referred to this position. I mentioned my educational background, my strong interpersonal skills and of course, my previous experience working at a startup.

He was stunned. “I’m gonna let my recruiter know and give you a call back.”

Less than 24 hours later, his manager called me. “Yes, we’d like to interview you,” he said, “How’s tomorrow?”Read More »

What Graduate School Failed To Teach Me About The Workplace

grad school taught meGraduate school did not give me all the necessary tools needed to excel in the workplace.  Sure, it taught me theory and concepts, but the workplace is a jungle: it requires more than just knowledge and skills.

Five years of work experience has taught me that communication, confidence, and skills trumps knowledge in any position. A degree of emotional intelligence is crucial too. Here are my lessons learned from working in my industry.

Master the art of reading between the lines.

In school, feedback was constant. Write a paper and earn a grade. Take a quiz; learn what to study for the exam. Present the wrong answer to a question in class; get corrected for your mistake. Everything was straightforward.Read More »

What’s Wrong With My Employers?

Call me entitled because my parents told me I was special. Call me a unfocused because I switch jobs more often than most people switch the songs on their workout playlists. Call me Peter Pan because I still live with my parents. Call me whatever you want because I believe there is more to life than going to the same job each day from 9:00am until 5:00pm; working on the same project day in and day out; driving to the same company 250 days each year; and waiting 35 years to retire from the same company you’ve been working in since you graduated college.

I’ve mentioned before how aggravated I become at journalists for talking about how entitled millennials are and how difficult we can be to work with. The truth is that as the Baby Boomers retire, the millennials are taking over the workforce. We believe in work-life balance over the work-is-your-life mentality. We want to live our lives to the fullest.

I have been in the workforce for 5 years now and some of the processes and systems bewilders me sometimes. How is it that the Baby Boomers and Generation X were okay with these obsolete workplace practices. Well, my 75 million peers and I are here to challenge the status quo.

In my relatively short career, I could not help but ponder why some of the things occur in the workplace the way they do. Here’s my attempt at explaining my frustration with the workplace.Read More »

The One Thing I Learned That Changed My Life

frustrationLet me tell you a little secret: I don’t have my life plans figured out.

You may have seen my LinkedIn profile full of admirable job titles and though, If I could just have the opportunities she had, I would be further along in my career. You may have even seen the article written on me about the work I do in public health and thought, Wow, this chick is amazing! Or, you may have even seen the photo of me and Robin Thicke posted on my Facebook timeline and wished you could walk a day in my shoes.

Or maybe not.

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Hustle While You Work

  • woman-money-imageI edit academic papers, blogs, and  other miscellaneous documents.
  • I plan special events.
  • I am a program manager, grant-writer, funding-seeker for various organizations in the field of public health.
  • I am a research specialist, administrative coordinator, and hospitality worker.
  • And most importantly, I blog at Scribbles & Tostitos Blog.

My job description has not always been this diverse; but, after being let go from a job unexpectedly a few years ago, I’ve learned to master the art of hustling. I hustle; I work. I work, while I hustle.

Like most US citizens, I relied on one job to meet my every need. Out of the blue one Thursday in May, I was called into a boardroom and told, “I’m sorry, Yaa, but we have to let you go.” Read More »

“Are You Ok?” and Other Questions Not To Ask An Unemployed Person

This morning, I read that Hallmark is now selling cards for the 9.1% of Americans who are unemployed. For all those considering purchasing a card for $3.99 to remind me that I’m unemployed, I suggest you use that money to buy me a Chick-fil-A biscuit; that’s my favorite breakfast that my budget no longer permits me to buy. Unemployment is another word for broke and hungry. Money or food is the greatest gift you can give an Unemployed Person.

Unemployed People appreciate the great lengths people take to console them, but sometimes these acts of kindness have adverse effects. Unemployed People are the most sensitive people on this planet. Something that you ask or say that you intend for good, has an opposite effect. Purchasing a card that says “Sorry you’re not working” is not going to soothe our pain; it will make us grieve even more.

I understand, Employed People. You are gainfully employed and don’t know what to say or how to act towards people who aren’t working. I get it. I thought you could use some help and wrote a list of questions/comments not to say to an Unemployed Person.

1. Are you ok? / Is everything ok?

I hate this question. I hate it more when it’s asked repeatedly. Are you ok? Is a question that implies that something bad happened to me. Ask this question and I think you’re prying.  But since you asked, no, I’m not ok. I just lost my job; my income is gone. I am forced to live with my in-laws or other family members. I am crunched in a 2 bedroom house, share a room and bathroom with 3 other people. I don’t have my spacious loft anymore. I eat Raman noodles for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and between rerun episodes of Beverly Hills 90210 and General Hospital on SoapNet, I write e-mails, make phone calls and attend job fairs, and none of my efforts have been successful. And frankly, I’m tired of looking. Being a bum seems like a viable option to me these days.

Ask me “Is everything ok?,”  and I will dismiss you; ask me “How are you doing?” and I will be more receptive. Unemployed people are prideful people with a bruised ego. We are not going to tell you that we have $5.00 in our Wells Fargo checking account and we spend our free time looking between sofa cushions and digging through old Piggy Banks to salvage enough money to make the minimum balance on our cell phone bill, so Sprint won’t cut off our service.  We won’t tell you that we’re basically living off Tostitos and Gingerale; and haven’t eaten a nutritious meal in almost two weeks. We may just talk about how the Cowboys beat the Redskins on Sunday and what we’re expecting for the Panthers/Bears game.  We may want talk how big Beyonce’s pregnant tummy is becoming. Whatever it is we want to talk about, just listen. Don’t disregard what we’re saying. Unemployed people are lonely. We want someone to talk to. We want to get our mind off  our struggles. If we don’t talk to you about our struggles, leave it alone. Offer the fact that you are free whenever we need a listening ear.

2. Do You Have A Job Yet?

If I hear this question one more time, I am going scream. Don’t worry Employed Person, when I get a job offer, the entire world will know it. I am going to stand on my rooftop with a bullhorn yelling for my entire subdivision and all nearby complexes to hear, “I got a job!!!” I am going to send an e-mail to practically all of my 700 contacts listed on my G-Mail account; I’m going to post the new position on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Hey, I might even update my Google Plus profile and put it out there too. Thanks.

3. You’re Not Looking Hard Enough 

Unless you are with the Unemployed Person 24 hours per day, you cannot make this assumption. And since, Employed Person, you have a job, you’re at least busy for 8 hours of the day, you may only be with the employed person for 4 of her waking hours each day. You don’t know what we’re doing while you’re away at work. It’s a tough market out there. The best and the brightest are looking and each position receives at least 150 applicants. To say that we’re not looking hard enough is implying that we are lazy people who are sitting at home all day, polishing our nails and waiting for them to dry; that is not the case. Some of us are the most hard-working people that you will ever meet. We are just unfortunate in our job hunt.

4. What happened at your last job?

Nosy. How is my response to this question going to help you in your life? Perhaps, it will teach you a couple things, but it doesn’t matter cause right now I don’t want to talk about it. There’s a recession; so assume that’s what happened to my job.

Whatever is encouraging, whatever is empowering, whatever is enlightening, speak those things to Unemployed People. The main thing that an Unemployed Person wants to know is that there is someone in her corner and that she has a listening ear whenever she needs to vent. That’s all. And when you listen, get this, you don’t even need to give advice! You just need to listen!