Dear First Gen -
As a first-generation professional, there is much to learn about "professionalism in the workplace" such as email etiquette, negotiating salaries, performance reviews, networking, sponsorship, mentorship, and similarly critical, encouraging your employer to prioritize diversity and inclusion (D&I) .
Here are two approaches to improve D&I when responding to an initial refusal.
Below is a transcription of the video:
• 0:01 - 0:30
Hello, my Fellow Risers! Hope all is well. I'm doing fine! Today, I just want to talk about a few things because in this world that we live in right now where there's a lot of racial justice comments and opinions that are going around. I've learned something in this moment that I just think has been valuable to me.
The first thing I want to share is that it is so important to take notice of when “no” may not be the final answer.
• 0:30 - 1:00
And I say that because many times I've heard people say “I am set, this is the decision.” “There's no turning back.” I just think that kind of finality is just unsettling for me because if we have an opportunity to diversify a group, if we have an opportunity to bring in other perspectives, to bring in diverse perspectives, to bring in people who are black who are people of color then I...
• 1:00 - 1:30
I think that is an opportunity where we can extend the conversation. I've heard plenty of times when it's not the right moment. We'll keep looking. But if you are offered an opportunity where we can extend the conversation, and if you are offered an opportunity to give recommendations to extend the conversation. Then do it! Because “no” is not the final answer for when we are trying to make more creative thought happen within a place.
• 1:31 - 2:00
Within the workplace, or create a thought from diverse perspectives can happen because that is vital to making sure that when we are on, you know, are creating a future for other people for you know, children who will eventually get to become adults. We want to make sure that we've set the stage up for them to be able to already have this kind of framework to already have this kind of environment exist.
• 2:00 - 2:30
And the other thing that I've noticed at this moment in time is to allow pauses to happen. Sometimes people need to sit with what you sent them. Sometimes you need to sit with which you've received from somebody else. Because what I valued more now than I've ever is...I'm always wanting to do a quick response. I was want to get to you know, the response get someone the answer.
• 2:30 - 3:00
But sometimes people would I've learned may need to reread what they sent you, and then from that they might already be able to you know rewind or you know, correct what they've said on their own without you having to do so because that right there is important because they might wonder why is there a pause? Why is there a break in this conversation where there once was not? So I really encourage you to things again. First is to be sure not to make “no” always the end of the conversation.
• 3:00 - 3:30
Because people might need to be reminded on how to extend it when it comes to having more Black people. Having more People of Color in the room in the conversation and their perspectives part of the conversation. And then the second part is when it is best for you to take a pause. Do so! Don’t shy away from a pause.
• 3:30 - 3:56
People don't like that break in conversation, but allow the break and conversation because sometimes people need to just then move and realize wait a minute...what's happened? Is this now my part to come in? Should I make a comment about it? So I say again really allow for those pauses to happen because sometimes it will be to your benefit and to someone's correction.
***Disclaimer: 2020. All rights reserved. All data and information provided on this site is for informational purposes only. No reproduction of any content on the website without the express permission of the author. The text, pictures and videos are the sole property of FirstGenRise.
Dear First Gen,
Starting a new job can bring anxiety and excitement. You may be anxious because you want to perform your absolute best and do not want to mess up. You may feel excitement because you went on countless interviews, submitted hundreds of resumes, reached out to your contacts to have them put in a good word, and maybe had the church and your parents praying for you––I know I did!
But at long last, after all the “no”s, you heard a “yes”! After the final interview, you received a phone call where you were offered the position and you knew you probably shouldn’t scream, but you kind of wanted to.
In November 2017, I started a new job as a policy director and said a bittersweet farewell to my chief of staff role with a state senator. I was with the senator for 4 years and I will definitely miss it. But it was time for me to make a transition—I needed to rise to new challenges and experiences.
In my new role, I have learned three things that are important for a new hire. Not only do you have your own goals to reach but also you have all eyes on you until you’ve proven yourself. In my case, my orientation was around the holidays so there were fewer meetings and tasks to complete, but I knew peak season was approaching.
I wish I were told about these three suggestions before I started, but I am glad I picked them up during my first 30 days. People are watching you even when you think they are not. Your actions, decisions, and methods are under observation because they chose you and it's up to you now to prove that they made the right decision. But don't forget to have fun and start building relationships in your new role. You worked hard for it and have waited to get the perfect offer. Embrace this new opportunity!
***Disclaimer: 2018. All rights reserved. All data and information provided on this site is for informational purposes only. No reproduction of any content on the website without the express permission of the author. The text, pictures and videos are the sole property of FirstGenRise.
Dear First Gen,
On December 21, @DeltaProtectiveServices posted a video to Facebook of their interview with @Simon Sinek, who presented on the challenge of working with millennials. After watching this video, I posted three reasons I didn't think it fully described first-generation professionals.
I will elaborate on my facebook post that addressed Sinek's comment on the first factor that describes Millennials. Sinek defines millennials as individuals born in 1985 and up, and says that they are difficult to manage at work, act entitled, are self-interested, lazy, and unfocused. Yet he also points out that they are motivated by wanting to work for purpose or make an impact.
He credits "failed parenting strategies" for millennials being challenging to work with.
Statement: "Told special, all the time".
Response: We are bred to believe we are special but not in the manner to make us feel entitled (or an amazing gift to the world). Our parents tell us that we have the tools and knowledge to learn and develop into the adults that will allow us to accomplish and reach our dreams. We are elevated to believe that we have the capability to succeed so long as we are determined and make an effort.
Statement: "Can have anything they want in life, just because they want it."
Response: We did not grow up being told we could have anything we wanted because we wanted it. Many #firstgens wanted the basic necessities and wished for them. We were happy to have them. There are first-generation Americans that may have wanted their own room, toys or gadgets, or new clothes rather than hand me downs or sewed.
Statement: "Some got into honors classes not because deserved it, but because the parents complained. Some got A's not because they earned it, but because the teachers did not want to deal with the parents."
Response: We received or earned our grades and did not have parents with clout to switch them. Our #parents generally trusted the teachers and worked with them to improve our grades. We were nervous to receive any bad reports from teachers because our parents did not think the teachers would mislead them about their child's education or progress so we were diligent with our studies.
Statement: "Some got medals for participation, not for winning. They received it because it would make them feel embarrassed and did not want them to feel worse."
Response: We did not get a pat on the back or a high-five unless it was complete and total win. Second place winners were rarely congratulated or even spoken of in the home. Feeling bad about a loss was not allowed, and we did not get time to mope. Rather we had to jump back in and work hard for the next victory.
He also attributes "environment and surroundings" as a reason for difficulty interacting with millennials at work.
Dear First Gen,
Joy Weber (a featured first gen) shared a piece of advice for first gens that want to meet people outside of their network: Consider reaching out to people via LinkedIn, even if you’ve never been introduced to them before. This is a great idea!
You may have met someone at an event that you have finally found the courage to attend, or overheard someone else talking about this individual. In either situation, this person piqued your curiosity and you want to learn more about them, but you do not have a way to contact them. When it comes to individuals you don’t know, reach out to them for an in-person informational meeting. If the person has a busy calendar and you are unable to coordinate a meeting time, then you can opt for a phone conversation. When that’s the case, LinkedIn is a good place to start! A friend called @LinkedIn, "Facebook for Professionals".
Log in to your account (or create an account), and then perform a search of the person’s name to find out if you have mutual contacts. If you don’t, that’s OK—you may still be able to network with that individual. It is scary and you may not know where to begin but let me suggest two approaches.
"Women do not belong there," can you imagine a time when women were denied admission to law school?!
(I recently watched a movie on the Suffrage Movement and was shocked by what they lost to fight for their right to vote - families, children, friendships and employment!)
This featured first gen is a young, outstanding attorney who is rising in her firm. She is the only female member of the Legislative and Government Relations Group in her office and amazes each person she meets.
1. What is your name?
2. What is your current occupation?
Government Relations Attorney
3. What is your education background?
Bachelor of Arts in Art/Psychology from Penn State University and Regents University School of Law. (Any and all passions are welcome in the field of law.)
4. What is your family background?
Mom, Dad, and two younger brothers. I am now married with one son.
5. Do you have any "firsts" recognized by your family?
First to attend and graduate from law school.
6. How were you able to achieve them?
Hard work. Willingness to take risks. Support of my family.
7. What was your biggest obstacle or challenge to become the first in your family?
I remember being bummed that my mom and dad could no longer be the authority on the law school process. I reached out to my extended family and used them as a resource.
8. What advice would you give to a first-generation student who is seeking to become a first-generation professional in the U.S.?
Utilize LinkedIn! Don't hesitate to reach out to people who are where you hope to be. Buy someone a coffee and ask them to tell you how they got to where they are.
***Disclaimer: 2016. All rights reserved. All data and information provided on this site is for informational purposes only. No reproduction of any content on the website without the express permission of the author. The text, pictures and videos are the sole property of FirstGenRise.
Dear First Gen,
Recently, I had a conversation with a fellow first gen and we were sharing our opinions on the proper dress code for work. Depending on the home you were raised in, you may not have grown up with parents who wore “professional” attire. For example, my mom is a Registered Nurse so her uniform was scrubs, a stethoscope and comfortable footwear; my father works in IT so he is expected to wear a dress shirt or polo shirt and dress pants. They dressed me well before I went to school or church growing up, but when I was grown and getting dressed for a business office, where did I learn?
Dear First Gen,
Summer is officially here!
Many businesses, government agencies, and nonprofits hire interns to help them during the summer, and it is most certainly an invaluable experience. I have had my fair share of internships/externships before I obtained full-time employment in 2012. My internship experience extends beyond the standard one-page resume! Over the next few months, my blog posts will touch on the various ways to make the best of your summer break as well as the start of your (first) job. Click on the video to find out what is in store for you this summer.
Tell me: What do you want to learn more about this summer?