by Tiya Cunningham-Sumter
My day time job consists of working with an underserved population; young, single moms and individuals with criminal backgrounds. The responsibilities of my job include coaching, job readiness training, resume writing and interviewing techniques. What I’ve learned in preparing people to re-enter or initially enter the workforce is that, it’s not so much the lack of experience but more so the attitude they possess. A large part of what I do also includes discussing career opportunities with employers. In those discussions, I uncovered the secret thought employers have about black women in particular. I was told by an HR professional that some black women aren’t considered for positions because of their attitude during interviews. This professional shared that hiring managers often complain about the lack of enthusiasm, the “I can-take-it-or-leave-it” approach that many black women bring through the door. This, of course results in their not being offered a job. While I was not entirely shocked by this revelation, I did take that information to heart and I share it with every black woman that comes through our program. I push those that I work with in putting their best attitude forward. It is challenging for those who feel they’ve been knocked down and are struggling with life’s challenges. They know what they want, but their thoughts and actions of the past keep them from moving forward. I encourage them to put whatever is going on at the moment aside and focus on the big picture, the job, the career, the family, or even the business they may want to start. Whatever it is, we as women have to stop sabotaging our own futures and making excuses as to why we can’t.
This journey isn’t easy, but we have to keep moving forward and know that it begins with the attitude. Be positive, trust God and send out positive energy and we will get it in return. Remember, attitude is everything.
By Tiya Cunningham-Sumter, a Certified Life & Relationship Coach, Founder of Life Editing, creator of The Black Wives’ Club and an Administrator of Still Dating My Spouse. Tiya resides in Chicago with her husband and two children.
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