Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Incorporated. Just like that.

2014
07.18

imageSigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Incorporated. The words ring in my ear like it was yesterday. Before I went to college, I didn’t know anything about Greek Life.  My mom went to college but mostly focused on home and career. My dad went to the Army but had no time for the college GI bill.

I didn’t have any immediate family members in the area who went to college so it was something that sat in the back of my mind along with a faint memory of a movie called, Animal House.

When I got to SUNY New Paltz, Greek Life was like an early version of the Universoul Circus. I’d never seen so much Blue, White, Pink, Green, Black, Gold and Red in my life. There were lines of people pledging every where you looked and it seemed like the whole campus was singing all the time!

I admit, while entertaining, they all seemed like a little clique and all of that rubbed me the wrong way. I’d just left a bunch of cliques in Manhattan at Murry Bergtraum High School so I was well versed in the art of telling girls where to go and how to get there.  I was a Bronx chick with a chip on her shoulder and the unrelenting desire to be herself.

It may sound cliche but college really is a place and time to find yourself. After two semesters on campus, I found myself disconnected from the friends I knew from Freshman Orientation and wondering just what was it that I wanted to do with myself? Then I met a young woman rocking a royal blue and gold track suit with a matching bag. She had a gold tooth in her mouth and before she could tell me, I knew she was from Brooklyn. Slick Rick had a gold tooth and I was a Hip Hop homegirl so that meant she was alright with me.

I mentioned that I’d never seen her colors on campus before. She simply stated, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Incorporated. Just like that. I’m not sure how the rest of the conversations went over the next few weeks but I recall feeling confident that this organization had room for me. When offered the opportunity to become a founding member of a chapter, I took it. I joined two Latinas from the Bronx and a sistah girl from the Polo Grounds in Harlem to form the first pledge line on campus; Precedence, Kappa Omicron.

But even after pledging, I still didn’t feel fulfilled on campus. Most of the time, I was happy running around with my new royal blue/gold outfits and new responsibilities. Yeah…it ain’t just a slogan…Greater Service, Greater Progress is real people! But honestly, at that time I’d dreamt of a career in the music industry. As luck would have it, I returned home and landed my first job with MC Lyte. She’s now an honorary SG Rho. I find that so funny because I never really talked about the sorority when we worked together so many years ago. Any-hoo…it would have been a blast to have Lyte on a pledge line trooping through New York City, Aurora hat and all!

Through the years, I fell in and out of the organization brushing it aside when I got too busy or too caught up. I’d meet women on trains, planes and automobiles who were active and encouraged me to “come back.” When not writing, I held positions that focused on community relations and youth development. I developed a passion for early college awareness and for getting girls off the block and onto college campuses. As a teacher and then later as an Assistant Principal, I saw how so many children of color find it impossible to dream past the next weekend. After many years I reconnected with my line sisters and along with that came a re-newed interest in community service and mentoring. When I launched my blog last year, my Sistah Girls embraced me with one big royal blue and gold hug via cyberspace.

So here I am on a sunny Friday afternoon in July, typing away as the Amtrak train speeds toward the national conference; The Boule. A wife, a mom, an entrepreneur and yes….a financially active member of Sigma Gamma Rho, Sorority, Incorporated. Just like that.

Stay fly, stay fabulous and rock on !

LA Drye is a workstyle specialist currently blogging about women in the workplace. When not ranting and raving here she’s on Facebook or you can find her on Twitter @washndrye

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sistah Girl Alert: Don’t Let Stupidity Rule

2014
07.08

 

Nothing VIP About It

Nothing VIP About It

Jeyonce and Philadelphia are two words that will haunt me for the rest of the summer. Ah but what’s a Sistah Girl to do? I created this blog as an outlet for me to blow up the spot whenever I feel like it so here goes.

My homegirl and I took ourselves to Philly this weekend to check out Mr. and Mrs. Carter and their On the Run show. It all went down hill when we got to our very pricey seats in the VIP Diamond Club section. It seems that overnight a huge and obnoxious production tent was put up and it now obstructed our VIP view. To add insult to injury….the Diamond Club was closed due to a private party so we had no access. Some poor schmuck in a grey T-shirt handed me 2 tickets to the seating area slightly above my head, looked me in the eye and said “Well, here’s two seats on the aisle…whadareyagonnado?”

It was all downhill from there. Not gonna drag this post out and hi light all the idiots we met along the way but I will pause to rant about the Sistah girl in the Guest Services window. Why? Because that’s all that really matters to me. When I saw her, I thought for sure she would bring some law and order to the situation. It seems that instead of treating people with respect and dignity…the good fools at Citizens Bank Park had folks running around the arena looking for dudes in grey shirts hoping to score better replacement seats. Sistah Girl seemed like a supervisor as her moronic team kept looking to her when each irate customer appeared.

When it was my turn…I asked homegirl if the Box Office/Will Call had released all of the tickets that were being held at since it was already 8:30. She looked at me like she hadn’t thought of that. I’ve seen hundreds of shows and worked for Madison Square Garden so I have some sense of how performances/ games work. Then I asked her why she didn’t have her staff handing out replacement tickets at the Guest Services window instead of asking us to run around the arena. She hung her head and said, “That’s how we do it here.”      Good lawd I wanted jump over that counter!!! This was a classic case of letting stupidity rule. She knew darn well that their protocols were ass backwards but she went down with the sinking ship anyway. No can do Sistah Girls. When surrounded by stupidity you have to rise up and take charge even if it’s not your “Official” title or even if you don’t believe you have the authority to do so.

Sistah Girls tend to get criticized for appearing firm, direct, blunt and even bossy. So What?!? When swimming in mediocrity…you have to use those skills to get the job done. It just is what it is.  Philly…the mayor is Michael Nutter and the natives are Nuttier!!!

Ugh!

Stay Fly, Stay Fabulous and Rock On!

LA Drye is a workstyle specialist with a passion for all things related to Sistah Girls in the workplace. When not ranting and raving here, she can be found on Twitter @washndrye or on FaceBook at www.facebook.com/washndrye

Who You Calling a Froot Loop? My 5 Most Hated Interview Questions

2014
06.13
Photo Credit: www.diannej.com

Photo Credit: www.diannej.com

Job interviews can drive some of us to the brink of insanity. Between choosing an outfit and making sure our hair is permed, braided or naturally hooked up, we practice and role play over and over trying to ensure that we can answer whatever question is thrown at us.  In a recent survey for Everest College, 15% of employed adult men and women said their biggest fear was being stumped by the employer’s questions. The survey also found that women specifically are most afraid of not being able to answer a specific question (19%).

Most interview questions are harmless. Go ahead and tell them why you are qualified for the job. Take some time to share successes from your previous position. Heck, why not tell them about the time that you took the lead on a project and saw it through completion causing a homerun for the team. Toot your own horn…you deserve it.

This post is not about the average questions. I’m focused on companies who are using strange and outrageous interview questions to figure out who belongs on the team. Sistah Girls beware…you don’t wanna find yourself looking crazy just because you need a new gig. I once interviewed with the marketing team at WE TV (home of hit reality shows Tamar & Vince and Mary Mary) and they asked me to pretend I was a tour guide describing my last vacation spot. I did it and felt ridiculous. It was only later that I realized that they were playing me and that I was never going to be a “good fit” and they knew it.  A more informed me would have declined the invitation to “perform” and ended the interview.

Most questions are designed to see if you can think quickly on your feet or if you can think creatively in any situation. As a woman of color, I’m always deeply concerned with how we are portrayed, thought of and categorized so I’m not down with any of the following:

  1. If you were an animal what would it be? (Asked by Apple)
  2. If you were a box of cereal what would it be and why? (Asked by Bed Bath and Beyond)
  3. Are you a hunter or a gatherer? (Asked by Dell)
  4. What’s your favorite song? Perform it for us now. (Asked by Living Social)
  5. What superhero would you be and would you dress up given the chance? (Asked by Zappos)

Visit www.glassdoor.com to view their extensive list of questions. If you decide to answer any bizarre questions, beware of your reputation after you get the job. Nothing is a secret in the office. You don’t want people singing your favorite song every time you enter the room or leaving boxes of Froot Loops on your desk because they remembered what you said in your interview.  On my next interview I hope they ask me, a question like, “Are you a high heel or a pair of loafers?” Wouldn’t you like to hear my answer !?!  What would you say?

 

 

_

Supervisor as Home Girl: 5 Things to Remember

2014
06.02

Supervisor as Home Girl is kinda like having a HomieLoverFriend. She can become everything to you as you blend your professional life and personal life into one big smoothie. For Sistah Girls, finding another female in the office with similar energy, sense of humor and sense of fashion is often delightful. It makes going to work fun.

www.madamenoire.com

www.madamenoire.com

Meetings are less boring, the shift seems shorter and lunch hour sessions are filled with giggles and gossip. When that new connection comes in the form of your female supervisor, there a few things to remember.

Don’t say anything that could come back to haunt you later.

Now that you are friends, don’t regale your new homie with stories about how you once wanted her job or how you once thought she was a loser.

Don’t become too relaxed and casual in the office.

I once had a SAHG (Supervisor as Home Girl) and we hung out all the time. We went to all the clubs, had 4am breakfasts at the diner and often stayed over at each other’s apartment. One day she came to me frantic about a report that was due. I brushed her off casually and said something about the fact that she had all weekend to complete the report. This caused her to raise an eyebrow as we’d both been at a weekend party in the Hamptons. Oops!

Don’t get judgmental about her.

So now that you have spent sometime with your SAHG, you realize that she’s not very organized or that she’s not as smart as you thought she was. You may gain some insight to how she manages her emotions or how she deals with her love life. Don’t transfer your opinions about how she gets down at home to what’s happening at work. Women are masters of being Super Heroes in the office and no so heroic at home.

Don’t gossip about her.

It’s tempting to fill your co-workers in on the life and times of your SAHG but that’s not cool. It’s like being the mean girl from High School. You are just pretending to be friends so you can look cool to your other friends. The difference between High School and now is that your co-workers don’t care. In fact, you might pay attention to them gossiping about you. Do they think you’re you a brown noser? Do they think you overly ambitious or even lame for hanging out with her?

Don’t forget….She is the boss!

At the end of the day, it is what it is. You can say what you will about her but whenever she feels like it, she will remind you that you report to her. When that day comes, you will be in your feelings because it will hurt. It won’t matter that you nursed her through the flu, consoled her when her dude left, or picked her kids up from school so she could work late.

Stay Fly, Stay Fabulous and Rock On!

LA Drye is a workstyle specialist with a passion for all things related to Sistah Girls in the workplace. When not ranting and raving here, she can be found on Twitter @washndrye or on FaceBook at www.facebook.com/washndrye

Mother Maya Angelou: The Caged Bird is Free

2014
05.28

Quote_MayaAngelou_Phenomenal

My Heart Hurts. I haven’t blogged in three weeks because I was not focused and caught off balance. I let a whole lotta stuff get in the way of my creative flow. Solange and Jeyonce, Kimye, Donald Sterling, Stephen A. Smith, The NBA Playoffs, Allergies, bad hair days and hell just plain ‘ol whiny behavior.

Mother Maya is the reason why my little 12-year-old self had the nerve to begin calling herself a writer. I read ” I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” and heard my own voice. No, not in the story of racism, rape and re-birth but in the tone that said that I could flow and that I could speak naturally as writer to engage my readers. Her writing made me feel like I could “keep it one hundred” even though we didn’t talk like that back then.

People who visit the blog say, “Girl you keep it real” or ” It feels like I’m sitting next to you”. That would not be happening if I’d not been influenced so early in life to simply tell the story. Today, I write a lot of things but this blog is dear to my heart because it allows me to speak frankly and directly to Sistah Girls. Sistah Girls in the workplace who are navigating all of the pitfalls of Corporate, Non-Profit and Education America.

My Sistah Girls who are figuring out how to be heard at work, who to sit next to at meetings and what they need to do in order to get to the next level in their lives. My Sistah Girls who are falling in and out of love, raising children with or without a partner and yes….like me going back to school for yet one more credential in the hopes that staying qualified will mean staying employed. To better understand my definition of a Sistah Girl, I encourage you to revisit my first post from September 2013.

So I’ve scrapped whatever I was going to say today in order to say this. You are all Phenomenal Women. Stay fly, Stay Fabulous and Rock on!

Sisterly,

LA

LA Drye is a workstyle specialist with a passion for all things related to Sistah Girls in the workplace. When not ranting and raving here, she can be found on Twitter @washndrye or on FaceBook at www.facebook.com/washndrye

Sistah Girls! Five Ways to Mind Your Meeting Manners

2014
05.06
www.polyvore.com

www.polyvore.com

If you work for a company or for yourself…you are in the business of attending meetings. They run the gamut from being highly engaging to being highly annoying. It depends on the agenda and who’s leading the meeting. I go to a lot of meetings for work and recently, I’ve been going to a lot of after work meetings. This past weekend, I attended a meeting with my Mother-in-Law, which was designed to be a women’s roundtable regarding the community and Harlem in general. The women who filled the room seemed to have decades of experience and I watched them lay down the law on how to mind your meeting manners.

1. Choose your seat wisely.

As I said months ago in a post about not being a “Third Row Chick”, finding the right spot in a meeting is key. Arrive early and reap the benefit of getting acclimated before everyone else. The women who wanted to ensure that they were heard were up front and center.

2. Ask a question when it’s time to ask a question.

I can’t tell you the amount of eyeballs that rolled around the room every time someone stood up to ask a question and they did not. What they did provide was several statements, opinions and fond memories of days past when the world was a better place. That’s not appropriate and actually, a little rude.

3. Don’t mumble or criticize the person who’s speaking.

My Mother-in-Law had to pinch me on my shoulder a couple of times because I kept having visceral reactions to some of the comments that came out in the room. She must have shushed me a good half-dozen times. I’m a work in progress on this one.

4. Don’t stay out of the room too long.

To get the most out of a meeting; you have to be in the room. This is especially true if you hold some knowledge/information that could help the person who’s leading the meeting, if you are representing a division/department and expected to report back to the team or if your supervisor/rating officer is in the room and may deem that your light presence as slacking off.

5. Don’t forget to contribute!

Sistah girls do not miss the opportunity to contribute a new idea or a new solution. You don’t have to speak up all the time but when you do, be sure that you focus on the three Cs. You must be clear, concise and confident in order to be heard and remembered.

Are you minding your meeting manners or know someone who should be?

Stay Fly, Stay Fabulous and Rock On!

LA Drye is a workstyle specialist with a passion for all things related to Sistah Girls in the workplace. When not ranting and raving here, she can be found on Twitter @washndrye or on FaceBook at www.facebook.com/washndrye

3 Ways NOT to Spend Your Tax Refund!

2014
04.28
www.memetogo.com

www.memetogo.com

 

If my calculations are correct, you should be receiving that big fat income tax return check in a week or so. That’s if you filed electronically before April 15. Some of you did your taxes as soon as those W-2 Forms were ready way back in February so by now…. your cash may be gone. Between January 31 and February 28, the IRS paid out an average return of $3034.  That sounds like a trip to Turks and Caicos with the girls or at the very least a mall crawl that includes the purchase of some shoes and a purse.

For some of us, it might even mean paying some past due rent.  Sistah Girls around the country have done some interesting things with their recent cash windfall. Here are three of the worst ways to spend that tax refund:

Vacation: Spending your return to take yourself somewhere you may not have been able to afford otherwise could backfire. Once you pay for the plane/hotel package, you need money in your pocket or credit on your credit card to do the things you want to do. Jet Skiing, spa services and yes…swimming with dolphins add up. It’s better to use the refund as the beginning of a savings plan for vacation. That way you don’t have to ball out on a budget. Read the rest of this entry »

Shh….Sistah Girls: Here’s How to Lie on Your Resume and Get Away With It

2014
04.21
www.snagajob.com

www.snagajob.com

Hey, I know a whole lotta Sistah Girls gettin’ paid right now but not “officially” full time on the books so their resumes are starting to look a little sketchy.   I have had plenty of part-time work experiences that helped me get from one gig to the next. Yep…that 2 season stint with the marketing team at the NY Knicks looks good and even that one published article for Black Enterprise counts. Did I work for the Knicks? Absolutely!  But seasonally. Did I write for Black Enterprise? Yep…One published piece way back when.

Back in 2012, Tyra Banks tweeted that she’d graduated from Harvard Business School. She actually took a series of classes in order to earn a certificate at a price tag of almost 100K. The course is open to anyone who can afford it.  No college experience required. It’s called the Owner/President Management Program. Hmmm…Proud of Tyra but I can see where she looks a little suspect. So did you go to culinary school or take a series of classes?  Are you a wine expert or do you frequent wine tastings? There’s truth and then there’s Truth Be Told!

A recent survey revealed some top reasons employers won’t hire resume re-mixers:

  • Lied about degree (84%)
  • Lied about reason for leaving last job (62%)
  • Lied about time and job gaps (53%)

Of course I don’t want you to lie but I don’t want you to miss out on the next opportunity because you don’t quite fit the bill.  Here’s a down and dirty guide to stretching the truth and re-mixing your resume:

Education: Don’t make up a college or program. If you’ve just started, list the school and upcoming graduation date or course completion date.

Employment Gap:  Use your volunteering experience here. Work at a friend’s business for free so that you can honestly say you were an assistant. Providing advice, coaching, etc.? I like the sound of consultant.

Job Titles: So you were the receptionist but dealt directly with the sales reps? You worked retail but ended up decorating the store windows? Share your real title and bullet out the extra job responsibilities.

Technical Skills: If you can learn it in a couple of sessions….add it. I’m talking about creating spreadsheets or presentations. Don’t say you can build a website if you can’t code.

Language Proficiency:  Your 2 years of Spanish in High School don’t count. You will not get anywhere with “Donde es la biblioteca?” Instead, be truthful as to whether or not you can read, write or speak a foreign language at any level.

Ever have to stretch the truth on your resume?

Stay Fly, Stay Fabulous and Rock On!

LA Drye is a workstyle specialist with a passion for all things related to Sistah Girls in the workplace. When not ranting and raving here, she can be found on Twitter @washndrye or on FaceBook at www.facebook.com/washndrye

 

 

5 Things You Don’t Know About Sistah Girls in the Office

2014
04.14

Sistah Girl Aunjanue Ellis, courtesty of www.rottentomatoes.com Sistah Girl Aunjanue Ellis

You probably can’t believe it but some folks really do scratch their heads at the end of the day wondering how we pull off the things that we do. Statistically, Sistah Girls are not even supposed to be on the scoreboard in many arenas but somehow we always manage come out on top even when the odds are against us. It’s in our nature. We are fly, fabulous and full of potential. Here’s why Sistah Girls Rock in the Office:


1. We are Socially Aware

We are keenly aware of how society views us as women and as Sistah Girls. Every time there’s a Halle, Lupita, or Kandi on the screen or on the radio, we get the side eye. We do our thing in the office because on some level, we understand that we represent the whole sisterhood and we can’t let them down.

2. We are Down with OS
No not the Operating System on your IPad or desktop but the OS (Other Staff-Other System) that works behind the scenes to keep a company running. Truthfully that’s how we get things done. We know all the custodians, security guards, cafeteria workers, mail room clerks and delivery guys. Those are our peeps and they go the extra mile for us because we see them when others don’t.

Read the rest of this entry »

Hey Sistah Girls! 3 Reasons Why You’re Not Being Heard At Work

2014
04.05

You know, when I start thinking of the things that crack me up about being a Sistah Girl in the workplace, I almost always fall out laughing about the way that we phrase things. It’s just something about our delivery that makes all the difference. It doesn’t matter if the hands are not on the hips or even if the eyes are not rolling. Some of us Sistah Girls almost always distance people with the way we start the conversation. Have you ever experienced this? Ever notice a blank stare or even a physical step back because of the way words came out of your mouth? Hey Sistah Girls! Here are 3 reasons why you’re not being heard at work. Well, I’m sure there are more but I think this is a good start :-)

First Of All

Ah yes…”First of All”. Now you know that when you start a conversation this way, it’s gonna go down hill fast. It’s like saying, “I’m about to break you down and all the ways I’m not feeling you (this project, this work, your input).”

photo-6 Read the rest of this entry »