State of Baltimore

As we all know, Baltimore hit the news worldwide. A week ago, Freddie Gray died of spinal injuries. Not until Saturday, 4/25/2015, during an Orioles game, did I come across a violent protest on Pratt St near Camden Yards in downtown Baltimore. It felt like I was there, but I was at home watching it on one of the major news channels. I didn’t pay attention to which one it was. I was in state of shock.

Three days later, I found out that a peaceful protest was held on the same day, 4/25/2015. Why must I found this out much later? No news channel covered this story. Several photos of the peaceful protest at City Hall were taken by Baltimoreans and were circulated on social media. Before the discovery of the photos, on Monday, 4/27/2015, a riot broke out near my place of employment (Mondawmin Mall). I was even more in state of shock. I was mortified. My anxiety began to creep.

Yesterday, the National Guard and other law enforcers showed up. This morning I woke up not long after curfew ended and said to myself, “I am in a real life purge.” I knew that I shouldn’t have seen neither movie.

Most of my life I have ran from Baltimore City. I made stupid decisions in my life, because I didn’t want to face the truth about me and where I was born. Today, I chose to stay. Despite colorism, I chose to stay. Despite the sexual abuse, I chose to stay. Despite the ridicule against disability, I still chose to stay. All these experiences because of living in urban communities came from anger. I tried to escape anger but took anger with me.

No program or leadership exists to manage this type of anger. This is spiritual anger. It is now rooted in the soul. Though, not all causes are lost. We all have just forgotten who we all are. The good news is, despite poor media coverage, we have the power to remember who we all are and put forth positive change in our communities. The concept of autarky needs to be taught in urban communities—not concepts such as reforming, which pretty much means “dumbing down.” Make the A.

Business Epiphany

As I read and re-read my business plan, I cannot seem to fathom why it is not working. I follow the exact instructions from my business textbook that I purchased, a long time ago, in college and a guide to writing business plans. After countless research on my business models and market and modifying strategies, I finally f**king get it!!

Now, why must I mentally drain myself over something so damn simple? No matter how much sales I received, I am still coming out a loss and/ or debt based on how much I have spent on operational costs and marketing. Marketing is such a huge expense that angers me by the character as I type this statement. None of the free internet marketing resources really works. Of course, not! It’s free!

So, I have abandoned all the marketing hype and focused on what works. What works is paying for it to work. Set-ups will always be free; driving the sales will not. Hence, I cannot b*tch and complain about how much marketing actually costs. Instead, I must restructure my business plan to accept a loss and/ debt which makes it look like my online boutique is not making money—maybe, to the investor, since it is in the beginning stages of operating.

In actuality, my online boutique is making money. Since it is starting off, the loss and/ or debt gives the boutique direction. I know it sounds weird, but the loss and/ or debt pushes the boutique to make income and teaches it how to manage a loss and/ or debt. If my online boutique cannot build knowledge, I will lose a lot more income than I have now. Make the A.

Filling in Loopholes

Many avenues exist for helping people in general, but not many can help those fill in the loopholes of their lives. It is solely the person’s responsibility. As I write this blog, I have almost finished filling in the loopholes of my life. There will be no more escaping from absolute responsibility…this time.

Before my next birthday in October, hopefully, I have truly become a grown up. For the last few years, I have examined myself through life’s moments and where I and what-I-think-is-my life are heading. I become much clearer on which direction to take.

Interestingly, finding directions has taken most of my time. Each time I ask for directions from someone other than me to reach a landmark in my life, I am jerked from one point to another—no where near the landmark! I stop and think to myself, “Why am I taking directions from someone about me?” Make the A.

 

Leadership: Your Principles, or Theirs?

In my opinion,  following someone else’s principles does not make you, me, or anyone a leader. Regardless of this type of leadership training, it is still subordination. A true leader learns from his or her trial-and-error—forgive me, if it is cliche to say, but it is the truth.

Unfortunately, no manual or instruction exists in solving personal trial-and-error in a professional setting. That is the beauty of it. You can design your own principles.

For some time, I have been struggling with this concept. Am I truly a leader in someone else’s workplace? Sure, I carry out what it is required of me, but I just do not feel the leader in me rising. Believe me. I stand up for my convictions. At times, I modify them, in order, to integrate with current operations. Still…

Some of these management programs do not inspire me as much as I want them to inspire me. I constantly see errors in those programs. Why would I solve someone else’s errors and not mine? I find it annoying that it comes to this point in professionalism. No longer am I interested in solving someone else’s problems. I have my own!!

Not once have I received a congratulation from someone who sees that I know and do more than average. It is always criticisms that I receive—well, it seems that way. Nothing annoys me more than finding out that former colleagues never knew sh*t, anyway, and continued calling themselves “leaders”. Make the A.

Quantify Resumes

Between functional and chronological resumes, quantifiable resumes must fit somewhere. It seems to be a trend going around in the job interviews. You’d think that quantifiable resumes only pertain to those in financial industries, or numerical data-driven companies. Nope.

In conjunction with my advice on other resumes,  quantifiable resumes will get you in the door faster and/ or hired directly into senior positions. You can talk about your experiences numerically—how much have you improved productivity?

To compute your productivity rate:

tally up the original work you done,

analyze it for any glitches,

develop a plan to fix those glitches if applicable,

implement the plan,

tally up both successes and failures of plan,

and, finally, subtract the tally of plan from tally of original work

and divide the difference into the tally of original work times 100. Wah-lah!

Yes, that’s statistics above. A portfolio plus quantifiable resume will make you the professional that you really are. Make the A.

Reflection on Teaching

At a much, much later date, I plan to enroll in alternatives teaching programs as an extension of my career. Without realizing what these programs really are, this past summer I naively applied to two accelerated and well-known teaching programs for the possibility to have employment by next school year. During that time, I was desperately finding a job just to satisfy the advice of my business advisor. Red flag!

Unfortunately, my applications passed with flying colors. However, the interviews were off…beat. (Then, again, what interview is not off-beat?) Throughout the interview experience, I sensed that something was wrong with each program. For one interview, I would teach a lesson and participate in a group activity. Fine…nothing was out the ordinary. Presentations and panels were common in interviews, but coercing interviewees to agree with your principles before even knowing them was entirely something else. Red flag!

The other interview was over the phone. I partook in a creepy role-playing interview…yuck! The interviewer played the coach and I, the student-teacher. Apparently, I was supposed to sound a bit more commanding when giving instructions. Another red flag! She coached me into it?! I think? In my mind, I was thinking that this was fucking stupid…fucking flat-out fucking stupid. What the hell were the children? Drones?!

Fortunately, I were not selected. After the interviews, I set out to do some research on these type of teaching programs. Be absolutely cautious of  what is called “urban education.” Yes, me, a minority woman said and typed it. Why? Because it would marginalize the low-income communities even more. Make the A.

 

Catch up w/ Me

Happy New Year!!!

Last year, for me, had taught me a tough lesson: letting go. Before, I would hold onto bad memories and grudges apparently for no reason at all. I could not blame anyone else but myself for allowing them to manifest. At that point in my life, I began to fully accept myself—finally! But, that was not what I wanted to tell you.

This past summer I set out to write manuscripts and research literary agents but ended in a writing block. All this content I had led me nothingness. (Currently, I am still in a writer’s block.) Soon, I would be unstuck. However, I wrote my first book proposal on how to style fashion accessories to market my online boutique. It didn’t get picked up, or else I would have heard from a literary agent by now. I submitted it in June! You know that I must start somewhere.

Much earlier in 2014, I attended meetings and seminars about starting and growing small businesses. The information attained from meetings and seminars were no different than the material taught in my former business classes at college. It was great that I received some type of confirmation on what I learned but, not so great, to discover that the information was outdated for my type of business model. I am shocked that there were not much information available about Internet businesses. Plus, another thing, that got on my nerves, was my business advisor telling me to get a job!! Blah. So, I got a job closely related to finances, in order, for me to gain experience in managing and strategizing revenue while I develop and research bioinformatics tools.

None of the venture capitalists would fund-raise my online boutique without me having some income already. Sometimes, I would wonder how did Facebook or Google find the money to back itself without capital during its start up phase.  Successfully, I found a way to lower operation costs—not so much for marketing. I am still learning the ground work for the type of marketing appropriate for my business model. Make the A.