Why Black Mid Career Professionals Languish in entry level land
Hi I am a highly licensed mid career professional languishing in entry level land after 20 years. I have an education. I have a monsterous work ethic. I am a pretty fun guy to work with. So why like millions of other Blacks do I languish in entry level land?
Managers like to be with others like themselves.
It’s a fact of life. People hire others who are like them. And Blacks are not like most of the management in corporate America. It’s just a fact. So we have to network out asses off to build a fan club who can speak for us when others would rather set out resume aside. You have to do happy hours and social events to gain trust and to take away fear. Fear that hiring someone different will risk their career.
Managers love young people.
When managers see mid career typically they see dollar signs. The perception is by hiring a mid career profession, especially one who has made their home in lower levels they have to pay way more. Many managers will avoid this by hiring younger workers with graduate degrees and pay them wages way below market and keep 1 or 2 experienced vets on staff to ‘babysit’. You want to be that vet. The best way to be that person is to deliver projects for free. Give and give. Prove what you can do and then ask for the responsibility.
Perceptions are reality!
Look there is no getting around the perceptions of Blacks in the media. Regardless of whether they are true or not people talk at home away from work about them. There is a perception that Blacks commit crime in huge numbers. (not true) Worse there is a perception we are lazy. (we built early America and dominate sports and arts but apparently that isn’t enough) Finally, there is the perception that we are angry people. (well racism, or police violence…) But surveys have shown that Blacks are some of the most positive and optimistic folks out there. Networking, working hard, and showing up early and staying late work for many other groups. It simply hasn’t worked for us they way it should. So the ground game is where we win. For the Black professional running community boards, building a small business, and being active in the industry groups as speakers, organizers this is the way to get ATTENTION. But you have to kill it on your day job as well.
Look none of this is fair. We live in shitty times. BUT, you can win as a mid career professional. But you will have to work harder, network more intensely, and be engaged as a leader more deeply than your peers. But it can be and should be done. Good Luck on your journey!