As young college educated Blacks, there is this immense pressure placed on us that stems from a lack of understanding. From generations before us who did not attend college, we were taught that sometimes you are placed in certain situations, and your only option is to think your way out of them, and that college is the key to your destiny. So they packed us up and sent us off to the land of better days.
However, this idea of “better days” jades their thinking and disallows for them to fully grasp the fact that from our perspective, there are many woes to the working world that follows this collegiate journey that may disallow for us to consider them better days.
So what am I talking about?
Often times when we complain to our parents, aunts, uncles, or grandparents who didn’t attend college about our work problems, we are greeted with “well at least you got a job,” or “at least your bills are paid.” Unfortunately, after paying (regardless of the means) over $150,000 for two degrees, I require a lot more than to just have my bills paid.
I require happiness, fulfillment, and equal treatment at minimum. But this isn’t a bash session, because I have thought long and hard about their perspective. Many of them only worked for those very reasons, to take care of their household and to keep their bills paid. Most of the time this meant little to no fulfillment from their jobs. As millennials, we are some of the most passion driven people, who are currently shaping, stretching and changing society as we know it. However, getting over various hurdles to get to those “better days” can be very difficult with Uncle Joe in your ear sounding off about how ungrateful you are.
So where is the middle ground?
It’s easy, simply do you! My mother can tell you best, my entire life, outside opinions and perspectives have been mere suggestions to me. I like to use the phrase “take what you want, and leave what you don’t.” Often times these people are speaking from a place that is deeply rooted in a lack of understanding. So it’s not that they don’t want what’s best for you, its just that in the space we live in, they have no idea of what “what’s best for us” looks like, so they try to force us into a picture that is easier for them for them to see.
So, I believe that that mantra (take what you want, and leave what you don’t) takes the pressure off of feeling locked into someone else’s projection of what you should do or who you should be. Which in turn, trains your thinking into listening to your gut, helping you to simply do you.
I have found that I have some wild ass ideas, and that sometimes the best way to explain them is to just show them by completing them. You can’t tell big dreams to small/limited thinkers, as they will subconsciously place their own parameters on your abilities. Depending on how well or not you trust your gut, conversations like these can plant a seed of doubt that could eventually blossom into a garden of missed opportunities.
Become so confident in your vision that you build up the strength to trust your gut without fail. You are the keeper of your vision and only you should be making those critical decisions that could change the trajectory of your career, life etc. With that, if you are feeling undervalued, underappreciated, and underwhelmed at your job, you deserve to find a space that makes your happy, utilizes your skill sets, and even one that acknowledges and applauds your Blackness. Yes, this is possible, so please don’t feel like your concerns stem from a root of unappreciation during your conversations with Uncle Joe, and remember to simply, do you.