So, the day starts with snoozing off that annoying alarm tone you’ve been meaning to change, spending a bit of time figuring out the look that will match your mood for the morning, rushing to the kitchen to make that much-needed cup of coffee before settling into the traffic you had anticipated, and as soon as you get into the office, that overwhelming feeling of subtle reminders that are the causes of your anxiety start creeping in…
Speak to any woman in corporate about their experiences in the workplace and the common themes that will come up include; bullying, racism, gaslighting, patriarchy, being underestimated – and that’s just scratching the surface. As a graduate, entering the workplace, nobody prepares you for what you’re likely to experience in the corporate environment.
The saying goes ‘experience is a better teacher ‘. Although some experiences are unfair and unpleasant, you are forced to learn hard lessons that create a thick skin. This is what Author, Lindelwa Skenjana unpacks in this book, sharing insights from her own experience and those of other black women at various stages of their careers. Her performance review of the corporate world exposes many pitfalls – from sexism, ethnic chauvinism, and ageism to sexual harassment – that require savvy navigation. When technical expertise and hard work are not the issue, how do black women support each other to success? What other options are there for millennials whose values may differ from those of the elders who traversed corporate South Africa before them?
Taking readers through her career progression from being an intern to mid-level and senior management – and all the way, being the boss, she shares, in detail, grappling with having to be intentional about how she leads her subordinates differently from the experiences she has had.
This book is very simple and easy to read. It is definitely a book I would pass on to a young graduate on the path to stepping into the corporate environment, a woman who’s recently stepped into the working environment, or even those who are trying to figure out how best to leverage their skills and qualifications to climb the corporate ladder.
As a young black woman in the working environment myself, I can relate to battling with internal and external hindrances that are a result of a toxic system that makes it extremely difficult for women to authentically be themselves in the workspace, with the freedom to express what they feel and have their voices heard and respected.
With that said, I do however wish for a time where women will no longer have to advise each other about ‘surviving ‘corporate spaces but rather changing their support groups’ agenda to best leverage leadership opportunities, and platforms that align with their passion and purpose.