While DS 2.0 is asleep and the wife is running errands, let me wrap this up.
A Chance To Get Into The Room
This article about a Black business owner "spoke" to me because of this statement:
Do not mistake his business decisions for some lack of black pride, Ford insists. Like many black businessmen who have long felt like outsiders, Ford just wants "a chance to get into the room."
"If I get in the room," he says, "I'll show you what I can do. And I'm going to do whatever I can do to get in that room."
That is something that I think applies to me. Just let me get in the room and once I do, I'll shine.
The article does a good job of relating the feelings of a Black business owner. I'm not going to say all Black business owners go through the same thing this man does, but his view of what he is doing is something to which I can related.
To Ford, perceptions are powerful.
Take what happened when former Enlightened accountant Frank Wentink was hired last year. His friends told him that working for a black firm would not be so hard. Set-aside programs, they said, would make his workload easier. But Wentink, who is white, soon found that he was working through the weekends and pulling all-nighters and that Ford and his senior managers were always in the office "working their tails off," he said.
Such false assumptions drive Ford, the firm's big thinker who is responsible for long-range planning. A muscular 5-foot-11 and 205 pounds, Ford thunders into a room like a politician, laughing, shaking hands, demanding eye contact. With employees, he is often like a jovial, joke-cracking big brother. But when problems surface or deadlines approach, employees say, the big brother turns into a stern, no-excuses businessman.
Ford doubts that executives at BearingPoint Inc. or Perot Systems Corp., much larger competitors, have his kind of anxiety. They never have to worry about race being a factor in winning major contracts, he says.
I've witnessed such assumptions and have startled people by my work ethic that is stronger then many in my field, white or Black. Just ask my wife, who is not too happy right now about my work schedule to meet a deadline. :-(
I had my own consulting business and will have one again in the future. It is a lot of work to get a business running and get the business generating a decent stream of income. It's much harder when you are dealing with the government. They work on their own time tables and while the process is supposed to be open an fair, a lot of it really depends on relationships. I know for a fact that the best AND least expensive response to a proposal doesn't always win because of "politics."
The Meaning of Work
There were a couple of articles in the series that made me livid. This article was one of them.
But he was concerned about his résumé -- and all that it didn't say. For instance, it showed him working at the Giant Foods warehouse for two months, and what would an employer think of that? Should he mention that he was working the overnight shift? That on his last day, "I felt good when I got off work, I didn't feel sleepy"? That his eyes got droopy somewhere along Martin Luther King Boulevard, and they closed on Alabama Avenue, and when he slammed into a utility pole the engine ended up in the front seat, and the hospital bill that he has yet to pay is $1,500, and that's one of the reasons he needs a job? Preferably near a Metro stop?
And what about his first job, as one of the red-hatted guides in downtown Washington? "The best job I had," he said. It was $12.52 an hour, 40 hours a week. He had a bank account that got up to $700 -- and then, after 18 months of giving the same directions, helping the same homeless people, making the same money, he quit.
"I wanted more," he explained. "It wasn't no career. I wanted something better."
And maybe that's when the tailspin began, he said, because he didn't have another job lined up, and there went his savings, and there went his car soon after, and now, two years later, tie on, résumé in hand, wondering why "I waste opportunities or don't see opportunities," he was down to this one option. It was an interview for a job with Jiffy Lube, arranged by a government-funded job-placement service whose clients are mostly black men.
"God, help me out," he prayed before going in.
A week later, at a Virginia Jiffy Lube that was a 43-minute subway ride from Ward 8, Chris began his new job. Eight dollars an hour, 40 hours a week, $16,640 a year. "Looks like it's gonna work out," he said.
That night, his girlfriend told him their relationship was over.
The next day, he moved in with his mother.
Two days later: "I don't know what happened. I haven't heard from him," said Wally Kenner, his boss at Jiffy Lube. "If he doesn't call me or show up tomorrow, we'll probably have to let him go.' "
The next day: "He no longer works here," Kenner said.
The next day: "I don't know, man. Stuff happens," Chris said, sitting in his mother's home, head down, lights off, voice barely audible, trying to explain.
"If I had the answer, I'd tell you, but I don't know," he said. "I don't know. I don't know. I don't know."
Dude is just straight up lazy. He wants more but doesn't want to put the work in to get more. What more can be said about it except that his mother should not have let him move back home.
In Or Out of the Game?
This was another article that made me mad.
I'm going to "be real" here. This guy is a waste and a danger to society. He should be sent away from civil society until he breathes his last breath.
The corner is a staple of street life, that rare piece of real estate that can't be purchased. Occupy it, claim it, it's yours. Anthony Marcellus James is a corner celebrity, a paradox of menace and charm. He is leaning against a fence, next to a vacant lot, in the Brentwood neighborhood of Northeast where he once was feared, as he put it, by people who would whisper: "That's A.J. Man, you don't want to [expletive] with him. He kills."
A.J. worked hard to earn his reputation, beating three murder charges in the 1990s and helping to settle numerous scores. "I'm known for having ammo, supplying people with guns and ammunition," he says. He has become, by his own admission, part of the scorned but emulated class of black men who have spent their lives as gangsters, drug dealers, stickup artists, killers. No collection of black men has generated more attention, more anger, more tears. By 2001, nearly 2 million black men nationwide had been to prison. On any given day, four of five D.C. jail inmates are black men. Many operate in a "thug life" world of their own -- with its own codes of conduct, its own language and economics, its own vulnerabilities.
Not only should he be sent away from society, but so should the aunt who he is living with. Dude has no job but is bringing in money? You know he's doing something dirty but you don't care, you just want the cash.
You must also go. You are also a part of the problem.
And, finally, what about his sons? What kind of "role model" is he providing to his sons?
The series was as fair as can be expected from The Washington Post. As I wrote before, I would have liked to see more "ordinary Black men" profiled, but this series was decent.
So how long of a wait before Black men are under the microscope again?