The Access Point : Meet Our Hosts

This is the podcast adaptation of the first episode of The Access Point! Meet the hosts of the first two seasons of The Access Point. Part of the Living Corporate network, The Access Point is a weekly webinar preparing Black and brown college students for the workforce. If you’re looking to jump-start your career, this is content you want to follow. Catch new episodes every Tuesday at 7PM Central! (Note: The Access Point is currently between seasons. More to come in July!)

Check out full episodes of The Access Point, video included.

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Voice-over (00:00): Living Corporate is brought to you by the Liberated Love Notes podcast, part of the Living Corporate network. The Liberated Love Notes podcast is a starting point, integrating self and community affirmations into your daily practices. The Liberated Love Notes podcasts center, the experience of black folks existing in white systems, and speaks to overcoming imposter syndrome, disrupting injected and internalized forms of oppression, embodying an abundance mindset, and building a healthy racial identity. Check out Liberated Love Notes podcasts, where ever you listen to podcasts. Hosted by Brittany Janay Harris.

(00:47): [musical interlude].

Tristan Layfield (00:48): Hello. If you don’t recognize my voice from Living Corporate’s podcast, I’m Tristan Layfield. We’ll get into who I am a little bit later, but first I just really want to do a quick introduction. So, I want to quickly introduce Living Corporate. Living Corporate is a media network that creates content that centers and amplifies black and brown folks in the workplace. Or, in this case, getting ready to enter the workplace. So we are really focused on making sure that we support black and brown people in this space, making sure that we amplify their voices, and making sure that we touch on the topics, the issues that really affect black and brown people in the workplace. That’s simply what Living Corporate does. And Living Corporate does it across multiple platforms. We’ve got all the social media platforms, we’ve got the podcast, we have the webinars, we have tons of different things that we do to really make sure that we’re supporting and elevating those voices. And now, you guys have logged in for The Access Point, which is the new initiative from Living Corporate. And Tiffany, I’m going to pass it over to you to tell the people a little bit about what The Access Point is.

Tiffany (02:03): Thank you, Tristan. So as you all know, and probably have been following on social media the last couple of weeks. We have teamed up with Living Corporate to launch The Access Point. It’s specifically designed for current college students and recent grads who identify as black and brown and are thinking about prepping for and getting ready to launch from college to corporate. So we’ll be hosting guests on this series for the rest of the year. And talking about all issues related to making that transition from college to corporate and how to do that successfully. Tonight, I know we’ll be talking about some of the things we wish we had known when we were in college. And I’m so excited to join this awesome group of co-hosts to talk about some of those gems and career wisdom. And how to maximize your time in college, or that first year or two out of college, to make sure that you are landing and thriving in these workplaces. Because we know that some of the challenges that we face as black and brown people in the workplace are nuanced and unique. And so, we want to dig into it with some real talk. So, thanks for joining us.

Tristan (03:13): Yes, yes. Thanks for joining us. And so, real quick, we want to get into who we are. So you know who you’re going to be meeting every Tuesday from here on out. So Brandon, you want to go ahead and introduce yourself first?

Brandon Gordon (03:26): Yes, sure. For those who do not know me, my name is Brandon Gordon. I’m 33 years old. I graduated from Prairieview A&M University with a Bachelor’s in chemical engineering. I’m a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Incorporated. Graduated college in the summer of 2012 in chemical engineering. And basically, what I do now is I do design for chemical plants, and I do process safety engineering. And so, why am I here? Usually, I don’t talk to people and usually I don’t do these kinds of forum. Usually I do this on more of a smaller scale, more of a personal type thing. So when Living Corporate contacted me and said, Hey, Brian, I want to use you and to talk to these individuals, I said, sure, let’s go, let’s do this.

Brandon (04:20): So, basically, my role in Living Corporate is basically, with The Access Point, is be like the big brother. So, I mentor a lot of kids, especially with our fraternity, and just in my personal life. And I want to ensure that we get the good representation in the workforce, and that we are getting the right salary. We are moving the correct way. Things that we never received when we were coming up. And when I say coming up, as like almost 10 years ago for myself. So just within those 10 years, I’m able to share a lot of wisdom, a lot of ideas, a lot of knowledge to younger individuals to make sure that they are better than me, better than any of the individuals that’s on the show. Better the individuals that came before them. So they could pass that knowledge and wisdom on to others as well. So I’m thankful for Living Corporate, I’m thankful for The Access Point, and these individuals. And to pass on this knowledge and lesson to people like yourself.

Tristan (05:19): That’s what’s up Brandon. So Mike, my friend, you are up next. Tell the people who you are.

Mike Yates (05:26): Yes. Hello everyone. My name is Mike Yates. I am an educator. I work in education from the most innovative points possible. Meaning I’m starting, I’m building a new school, new model of school that doesn’t have classrooms, that doesn’t have teachers. It doesn’t have anything that you would think of as a school. We meet in the old concert venue in downtown Austin. I’m originally from Houston and I’m inching the route back to my hometown which is coming soon. I am also building what’s called a school re-invention lab in the city of Austin. Where we’re partnered with the Teach for America, the City, and hopefully school districts in the Austin surrounding area. So that we can train educators to create models of school that responds specifically to black and brown students. So what we know is that the most innovative education systems in the world are often creative for the wealthy elite. The wealthy elite often happens to be white. So we’re trying to reverse that trend. And that’s basically what I’m up to most of the time. What you’ll hear from me and the lens that you’ll hear from me is from the perspective of your favorite teacher, from the perspective of the educator in the room. What you should do with school and with education through your journey.

Tristan (06:47): Nice. Okay, perfect. Mike. Now Tiffany, we’ve got to hear from the only lady on the team. We’v e got to hear who you are. Tell us about you. I know. Wow, wow, right.

Tiffany Waddell Tate (07:02): Yes. Thanks Justin. So my name’s Tiffany Waddell Tate. And I’ve spent the better part of the last decade in higher education working in the college career development and advising space. So that is a big part of my identity, and why I said yes to the show. I also manage my own career coaching and talent development firm called, Career Maven Consulting. And so, what you’ll get from me here, on The Access Point, I have a lot of identities. I went to a predominantly white undergraduate institution. And so, I bring that lens to the table. I’m the mom of a spirited four year old. So all things working as a parent, you’ll probably hear me talking about that. And I have spent a lot of years and a lot of time in digital spaces and in real life, coaching on things related to that jump from college to career generally. But, I also am definitely going to be here championing for what it means to be, and thrive as a black woman in the workplace. So a lot of those things really color my lens, and I’m excited to be here tonight. Tristan, you want to introduce yourself? Last, but not least.

Tristan (08:14): Last, but not least. Yes. So everybody, I am Tristan Layfield. I’m based in the Metro Detroit area. I’m a career coach and resume writer. I run my own company, Layfield Resume Consulting. I also am one of the hosts on Living Corporate’s podcasts. You might’ve heard me from Tristan’s Tips. And what I like to do is, I like to help people find their voice and leverage their value to transition their careers. And where that comes up for people who are in college and transitioning into the corporate spaces is really figuring out how to advocate for yourself. Oftentimes we see talking about ourselves or really advocating for ourselves as being boastful. Or not what do we want to say boast for, we’re told not to talk about ourselves too much. But in the workplace that can actually be quite detrimental.

(09:08): So for me, you’re going to sort of see, or hear, this lens of self-advocacy, and how we’re able to do that across these corporate spaces. And the reason I really joined this Access Point team is number one, college students are some of my favorite people to work with. I think, it’s sort of, you guys are entering the workforce. So if we can give you some of the tips and tricks and things, you can avoid a lot of the pitfalls that we’ve made inside of our careers, or that we’ve had to learn from. And hopefully you can avoid some of the hardships that we’ve had to go through. So that’s really why I’m here. I think it’s important for us to make everything that we do easier for anyone who comes after us. So that’s why I’ve joined The Access Point.

(09:54): So everybody, I know we’re going to move into something in just a moment here. But we have a question that popped in from none other than Mr. Zach Nunn, himself. And I want to put this question up on the screen. I don’t know who may have attended one of these, but let’s talk a little bit. So the question is for any of you that graduated from HBCU, was there a culture shock at all, transitioning from an all black environment to a majority white one? So know Brandon, you went to an HBCU. Mike, did you go to an HBCU?

Mike (10:31): No, no, no, I did not.

Tristan (10:34): Yes. And I know Tiffany already said she went to a PWI, and I went to the University of Michigan. So Brandon, this is a long question for you, my friend. So tell us about it.

Brandon (10:42): Oh, yes. So just a bit of a backstory. Graduated from [inaudible 00:10:49] Magnet High School in Beaumont, Texas. Paul McKendrick Park and [inaudible 00:10:53]. So I grew up in a predominantly black elementary school, a mixed middle school, and a predominantly black high school. But the way my upbringing came up, I was very versed in both dealing with multicultural people. So, I had the choice to go to University of Texas, University of Houston. So I decided to go to Prairie. And the reason why I decided to go to an HBCU, is because I wanted to be around my people, just a couple more years before I transitioned into the workplace. I knew personally, I was able to transition and just adapt into any environment. But, I noticed that some of my fellow, HBCU colleagues have not transitioned so well.

(11:43): And the reason is because they don’t really understand different cultures and different aspects. As a, as a black individual, we already know that we have a couple of strikes against us, especially being a black male. And now you’re a black male with a degree. And to some people that feels as if it is a threat. So what I’ve learned is to understand the individual, understand more cultures, more aspects of their culture. And then how can I better myself in that process? So the transition from an HBCU to me, wasn’t that hard, but what I’ve noticed is for individuals, they don’t know how to open themselves up. And that’s really what it is when it comes to corporate America. You need to open yourself up. You need to learn how to talk to people and understand how they speak and how they act.

Brandon (12:33): Because if you don’t, you always confine yourself in a small little box, and go to what you’re comfortable with. It’s just being around your own people. It’s nothing, that’s not a bad thing, but if you want to excel yourself, extend your brand, and pull others that are struggling by the wayside. To pull them up as well, you need to understand these aspects. So like I said, I’ve never had an issue. I’ve excelled in corporate America, but sometimes corporate America doesn’t accept you sometimes. Especially coming from an HBCU, because they feel that HBCUs don’t have the certain credentials as the PWIs. And I know the guys that’s on the panel today. I know that you attended PWI. So what is your perspective of going from a PWI to the workforce?

Tristan (13:27): Yes. I’ll start off. I went to a school where, actually, the black population was only about, I think it was four or 5% when, when I went there. So it was really low and we were a tight knit community. But as far as the workplace, I feel like it was fairly representative of what I experienced when I got into corporate America. I’ve worked in a couple of different offices where I was one of the only black people. Or when I was in regional management for a biotech company, I was the youngest and the only. No I was the youngest and one of two regional supervisors in the entire country that were black. So it sort of was representative of what I experienced. Do I think that it fully prepared me for a workforce? I don’t think that college actually does that. I don’t think whether that’s HBCU, PWI, or anything. I don’t think it actually fully prepares anyone for the workforce. But I think as far as demographics wise, it was fairly representative of what I experienced.

(14:39): Even though I went to a predominantly white institution for undergrad, and grad school, and launched my career at my alma mater. Prior to college, I went to a predominantly black high school and I was a Navy brat. My dad is actually an immigrant from Guyana. And so, prior to college, I always lived in very multi-cultural mixed communities, but have the very clear message from my parents that as a black person, you’re going to have to really put in work. Three times as hard, no matter where you are. And your job as a student is to master, to seek mastery. And so, having a really hardcore I would say international parent influence on that regard. My mom was also, you know, all about working hard and from the Southeast originally. I started my college journey with that in my back pocket.

(15:29): It didn’t really occur to me until college, that ethnicity is a big part of the challenge. But I’ll be frank, I went to a top 30 PWI, and the sort of wealth gap is something that I hadn’t thought about prior to that time. And so, for me, I think college really did help me in a lot of ways, understand this other sort of [inaudible 00:15:55] layers, if you will. I had lived, and worked, and gone to school around a lot of different types of people. So being around white people, wasn’t really a challenge. It was being around white people that are the same age as me, and driving a Benz. I wasn’t used to that. I was wait a minute. I was used to working class, lower middle-class, middle-class families. This was a very different experience.

(16:19): And so, what I experienced in the classroom, what I experienced socially, I would say in some ways helped me for work, because I started working at my Alma mater after. And that experience and those relationships were deeply powerful in terms of the mentorship, and sponsorship, and resources I have for professional development. That I would say catapulted my career in some ways. But I think that I’m definitely still learning, still experiencing. And I’ve seen a lot in the last 10 years. I certainly don’t think I am the ultimate expert on all of it, but what I can say, having been partnered to, a man who attended an HBCU, and being the parent of a black child. There are things that hit us differently, simply because we are black. I’m a career coach and a learning and development professional by trade.

(17:08): I love to read a book about like business development. I love to read a book about corporate speak and the rules. I consume that like water, and there are still opportunities in that space to turn those playbooks on their head. Because the way that we communicate, the way that we move, and shape, and influence culture, and community, as people. It’s still very much not the standard operating procedure when you’re thinking about a traditional workplace. And so, I think even when you know all of those rules, and you can code switch with the best of them. It’s something that we can take off and it’s something we can’t put down. So the way that we have to operate in the workplace, I think does come with, or I know comes with a lot of emotional labor. And that stuff that I didn’t really know as a college student. I know we’re going to get into that. But I think it’s heavy, it’s nuanced, and it’s very complex when it comes to how we show up at work.

Mike (18:10): Yes. That’s good Tiffany. I went to the university I went to, because it was free. I knew one thing about college and that it was a formality, before I got to what I wanted to do in life. I always have seen through the school system. I’m the son of a teacher I’ve hated school since I was six years old. And so, I knew that college was just one of those things that I had to do. I was on the speech and debate team. I was really good at it. I was one of the best in the nation. And so I had scholarship offers to go to these places. And I didn’t know anything about George Mason University or Western Kentucky University, but I knew that Texas state was close, and I knew that it was free. They were paying for me to go to school.

(19:00): I really wanted to go to Howard, but Howard didn’t give me the scholarship Texas State did. So, I went to Texas State. What I would tell you about my experience as a professional, is that my career has been built on sheer hustle and grit. I knew one thing about college when I went to college, and that’s Texas State University is different than Harvard, and that Harvard and Princeton, and University of Pennsylvania are kind of the same, but they say that they’re really different. But they’re all Ivys. And now that I have a direct line of communication to several billionaires, who look at you in your face and say, you should get into Stanford, and drop out in your freshman year. I take this very, almost cynical view of university in general, but when we talk about HBCUs, as I’m a parent as well. I have four kids, six and under, so my life is hard right now.

(20:03): But anyway, when I think about HBCUs and when I think about college. If my children choose to go to college because I’m going to throw a bomb in this college situation. The college system is going to implode in the next five years. But if my children choose to go to college, I really do hope they choose to go to an HBCU. I hope they make that choice that I didn’t make. Because I chose free school over being with my people. And, Texas State University was five to 7% black or something. But the experience I had there was great. People cared for me. The black faculty and staff surrounded me, lifted me up, mentored me. And a large part of who I am today is a credit to those people, Vincent Morton, Terrance Parker at that university. So it’s kind of a mixed bag for me, but that’s it.

Tristan (21:01): Perfect. So I wanted to get that question in because I thought it was a really good one. We do have another question that came in, but I’m going to pause for a second. I’m gonna pause. We’re going to get to that question towards the end here. So, real quick, one of the things that we want from you, all. We have some planned topics that we’re going to speak about, coming up, starting next week. I believe Tiffany, you’re stuck with me next week. We talking about jobs, next week. Applying for jobs. But we have a list of topics that we thought would be good to bring to you all. But if you have any particular topics that you’re interested in, drop them in the chat right now. We want to hear from you guys.

(21:43): We want to know what do you want to hear about? And don’t be surprised if we pull that topic and it is something that we do one of these webinars on. Because we want to make sure this is a resource for all of you. This is something that you’re able to come to and get the answers that you’re looking for. So, yes, at least two of us will be on each call, but we’re also looking for people who are leaders in an industry, leaders in the things that you guys are trying to actually uncover the questions that you guys have. And bringing those people on to help answer them too. So you’re not just going to get our opinions. Granted you will. And a lot of our opinions are based in fact and experience. But you’re also going to be seeing a lot of guests that we bring on to just make sure that you guys are getting what you need, and what you want.

(22:33): So I know one of the things that we were planning on talking about, were some of the things that we wish we would have known before we actually got into the workforce. But Peyton is asking a really, really good question here. So maybe we should hop in with that first. Just because I think it’s a really, really good question that I think is on a lot of college students’ mind. And the question is, how do you guys think the current climate of America right now, will affect our transition? So for our current college students, how do you guys think that where we’re at now, is going to affect them? Anybody want to start?

Mike (23:14): I’ll start. I just got done talking about it. I just built a plan for this, for my job today. So listen, I think that where we are is a unique place, and I think is a very interesting place. America’s original sin is being exposed every day, through the media. But as a result, there is something that I think is interesting that it’s happening. There’s a shift. The example I’ll give right now. My favorite coffee brand, which is where I almost get my coffee from it’s called, Dope Coffee Company. I’m sure somebody on here, drinks, Dope. I see Tiffany shot now. Dope Coffee’s awesome. I love Mike Lloyd, the founder. He and the team there are doing some amazing stuff. I don’t know the exact number, but their sales went through the roof over the summer. And it was not necessarily, Oh look at that, Tiff!

(24:08): [inaudible 00:24:08]. Mike Lloyd is awesome. But their sales went through the roof over the summer. They launched an accelerator program and they’re doing some amazing stuff. But one of the things that Mike and I, the founder of Dope Coffee Company, when we talk, we always say this phrase, «the revolution is going to be economic». It’s going to happen, and it’s going to be economic for us. And that’s the thing I think that in this political climate that’s what you should be focused on. How can you build and create wealth for yourself as a college student, and when you graduate from college? And we’ll get to know what I wish I had known when I was in college that connects to this. But I think your focus should squarely be on building wealth.

(24:55): And that does mean getting a job. It might mean becoming an entrepreneur and starting your own business. But you need to tap into the voices that are giving you the real. Because there’s a lot of content on the internet. There’s a lot of influencers who are trying to make their life seem more glamorous than they are, so that you can buy their online course. You don’t need to do all that. Legitimately, I have not used a resume to land a job in the last eight years, but I’ll tell you this. I’m not kidding. I listened to every single Career Tip Tuesday, from Tristan. And when I met Tristan for the first time, it was like being a celebrity. Because I had been listening to this dude for so long. Just because it doesn’t matter who the person is. If I feel like they’re giving me real advice, that can help me better my career, as a 30 year old man, I’m still taking it. So you should be consuming the content that’s out there with the focus and a goal on building wealth, in this political climate.

Tiffany (25:55): Yo, I just want to say Dope Coffee is good. Mike is my college classmate. And he’s from my city, literally, same city, but I want to hop on and also echo something you said, Mike. Consuming content is key. I think one of the biggest risks that people in leadership, we talk about it in a leadership context, but people in general, once you believe you have nothing else to learn, you have already lost. We are always learning. We should always be growing, and changing, and consuming. And I think how that relates to the original question. How does this climate impact the trajectory of y’all post-grad? It’s everything. People talking about fake news, if you are not spending time figuring out how to filter through the information that’s coming at you from every channel.

(26:47): If you are not questioning things, if you don’t know, or I shouldn’t say know, but practice questioning things ferociously. I mean that in terms of what you’re consuming, how you’re consuming it. How you lean into difficult conversations with people you know, love, trust and people that you don’t know love or trust. I mean at work. Because, I hate to say it, but when you’re at work, they’re not your friends. You might make friends at work. We’ll talk about that, but they’re not your friends. And so, learning how to have a difficult conversation, filter through information. In this climate in 2020, what we are seeing is not only, I think Mike phrased it as the country’s original name, basically, being on front street every single day, in a new and wild way. But we’re also seeing the breakdown of people, knowing how to think critically. The fact that other people can infiltrate and spread conspiracy theory on Facebook.

(27:48): I remember when Facebook was just a place where you could go and post photos, you didn’t want anybody to see in four years. Today, even my own family members…. Listen, even my own family members will be out here sharing videos. And I’m, y’all, this is not real. And so, I worry so much about what the next five, 10 years are gonna look like, when you have folks trying to upskill on technology right now. When you have people not knowing how to facilitate dialogue that is constructive, and moves everybody forward. And I really worry about right now it’s like trending to be cool, and woke, and down, and all this and that, but what happens when that’s not cool anymore? And what happens when you don’t get brownie points for supporting black people, and saying black lives matter, and posting a square? The real work is not that.

(28:43): And I worry a lot about what that means for myself, my children, my colleagues, my family, and y’all, quite frankly. Because I think about the year after I graduated from college, the economy tanked. And we talked about that, oh my gosh, that was so horrible. That was nothing compared to what we are seeing right now. And what we are going to see over the next few years, in terms of the future of work, wealth distribution in this country. And the way that we talk about readiness to just have a job, forget a career. And I worry a lot about what that means, and what that looks like, and how we’re going to navigate that.

Tristan (29:22): Tiffany, my friend, you are hitting on the points.

Brandon (29:27): That was so eloquently put.

Tristan (29:28): I’m going to take it up. I’m going to take it from a different lens here. When I hear that question, I’m thinking about specifically what that means for your career. One of things that I think this pandemic, and a lot of things that we have going on. One of the things I think it really showed us is that nothing is guaranteed when it comes to work or your job. So many people lost their job. We saw unemployment numbers higher than the great depression era.

(30:00): I’m interested to see what that means as far as stability. Moving forward as far as people having longevity at companies. A lot of people lost the amount of time that they spent 15, 20, 30 years at a company. And now they’re just out here on the job search as well. So I think it’s going to be very interesting to figure out, to see sort of how you all transitioning into the workforce, also transitioned the workforce. Meaning there was a prediction that by 2060, the majority of the workforce is going to be contractors, rather than full-time employers or full-time employees. Excuse me. So when we’re thinking about that, now with all of this stuff, that’s gone on with the pandemic and everything, I could actually see that becoming more of a reality for a lot of companies. Where they are contracting with people because it’s less expensive for them. It’s less money that they have to come out of.

(30:57): And so, just sort of seeing how we’re able to navigate and figure out how to find you all that stability? How to find that, that economic piece that both Mike and Tiffany talked about. and really just figuring out how the workforce itself is going to change. And see how you guys are going to be able to make your careers from there. Because I had the same situation with Tiffany. I came out in the recession and it was hard for us. And what happened was, a lot of us, we got screwed, to be honest. There’s no better way to put it. And here we are about 10, 12 years later, most of us, we’re just now getting ourselves back on track. Only for many people to lose it again.

(31:40): And so, you guys are being put in a very similar, as Mike said, or Tiffany said, an even worse predicament. And so, are you guys going to rebound? Absolutely. I don’t think that you guys are going to be stuck, but what that means right now, particularly in this moment for your career, you’re entering a very tough job market. And you’re going to have to figure out how to differentiate yourself from all the rest of the people that are out there searching for roles. And you’re going to have to figure out how to actually put a job search strategy in place. Mike mentioned it. He hasn’t used a resume in eight years to get a job. Well, that’s because the most effective way to get a job is not through applying online. That’s actually through networking and referrals, but who teaches you that?

(32:25): When we came out of college, nobody taught us that. What we knew is to go and apply. That’s it. No one taught us how to network. No one taught us how to build that network to get referrals. Referrals make you 15 times more likely to land the role. But did you know that? No, because they’re not teaching you that in school. They’re sending you, hopefully sending you, to a career center. But the career centers are creating resumes for you that aren’t that great. They aren’t teaching you how to network. They’re connecting you with your alumni base. And so, I think you guys are gonna have to figure out how to develop a strategy that works in this atmosphere. To really get the jobs that you want, but then, also, build a professional brand around yourself to create stability, and create a pipeline of opportunities. So you are not beholden to any one company, or any one situation. Excellent.

Mike (33:18): Can I just jump in real quick and just echo what Tristan said? I think one of the most important things that you should take away from what you just heard Tristan and Tiffany say. Is that you have to be creative about the way that you approach the job market. Because this job market is a beast and it’s different than anything we’ve ever seen. Honestly, a lot of entrepreneurs and social media influencers are on there bashing people for being on Netflix, for five hours a day or whatever. But if you spending more time on TikTok than you are on LinkedIn right now, you’re doing yourself a disservice. My challenge to you guys is to spend the next year posting three times a day on LinkedIn, about what you’re learning, what you’re failing at, what you’re hoping to do in the future.

(34:09): What you know, and see if you can’t build at least 10,000 followers on LinkedIn in one calendar year. I guarantee you at the end of that calendar year, you will be pulling in five, six job offers a month. You’ll be turning down stuff that you never imagined. I’m talking, you’ll be getting book deals, television show offers, that platform has more organic reach right now than any other platform, except for TikTok. But don’t be fooled by TikToks organic reach. Nobody’s giving you jobs from TikTok just yet. Use that platform because it is powerful. As best you can, think about what the job search is going to be like five years from now, 10 years from now, and be ahead of that curve because that’s, what’s going to make you successful.

Brandon (35:00): Look, why is Mike reading me? I don’t even post on LinkedIn three times. [over-talk 00:35:03]

Brandon (35:06): Absolutely. Absolutely [inaudible 00:35:07] And also, speaking about social media, make sure you keep a squeaky, clean social media as well too. Try to make sure that your social media of your work life, in your professional life doesn’t show who you are. It’s great to show personality, of course, but to make sure that you are not posting things that you shouldn’t be posting professionally. Because those things matter, those things carry with you, especially in the digital age. You’d be surprised at how much you can search, just based off your email address that you use to search on Twitter or Instagram, TikTok, on various social media platforms. Searching your phone number. Also keep a digital search of your phone numbers, your names, the things that you do online as well, because those things track. And if people, especially they’re coming into the workforce are savvy to the social media platforms.

Brandon (35:59): If they get a hold of this information, they get to know you, and the things that you post. That’s why you see people, a lot of them, they getting fired from their jobs. Or they are getting reprimanded from that work because of the things that they post on social media. For example, on my Facebook, it says that I’m a CNC dance instructor. Sweet people. And it’s like, why you chose that? I love to Jake Sweeney music. So that’s why I chose to do that kind of thing. Somebody have, I’ve played my actual work on there or what I do. If somebody searches that they can say, oh, well he works at such and such. I can go talk to them and try to get him fired for X, Y, and Z reason. You know, people are very predictive like that. So just be prepared to keep a clean social media. If you post something on social media, make sure it’s okay for your boss to see it as well. Because they may eventually see it. So just keep both a clean social media profile as well.

Tristan (36:51): Okay. So I think we touched sufficiently on that topic. So let’s transition to what we were going to talk about here. And I’m going to add a little twist on it, because Zach put a really good question to the chat too. So let’s talk a little bit about what [inaudible 00:37:07], and the biggest ill we took early in our career? So I’m gonna start off here because I already touched on one of the things that I wished I knew. I wished I knew how to efficiently build a network, and how to actually land a job. But even back when we were initially entering the workforce, applying online was actually a lot better than it is now. And even, still, was not the best way of finding a job.

(37:35): And then one of the things that puts us at a disadvantage from many of our white counterparts is the lack of network that we’re starting off with. A lot of our white counterparts have sort of a legacy of networks with with their family, and friends, and friends of the family that we don’t often have. Many of us tend to be first or second generation professionals. And so I wish I knew how to accurately or efficiently find a job. Efficiently, put together a job search plan and strategy, to really get to where I’m trying to go. And the other thing I wish I knew was that brands were not just for companies and organizations,. Having a professional brand or a personal brand, whatever you want to call it, is so imperative for every single professional to have at this point in time.

(38:35): And I wished that was something I knew immediately, even before I got up. It’s something that you can start building right away while you’re in school. And I’ve seen plenty of successful college students start this, and end up with amazing jobs after college. Because they started building this professional brand already around themselves. And they’ve had literal pipelines of opportunities coming their way. They’ve had so many offers, they’ve had to choose from, just simply because there was so many things on the table. So I think it’s imperative for you guys to know that. Build a professional brand and really figure out how to job search. Which is applying online is not a job search strategy, it is a piece of a job search strategy.

(39:21): Now, the biggest ill that I took early on in my career? I was fired, my first job, directly out of college. That was the biggest ill I took directly out of my career. I was doing research for a university. I actually had a boss who I still to this day I believe was slightly racist and had a vendetta out for me. And I gave her a reason to do what she wanted to do, was get rid of me. But one of the things that I’ve learned, is that everything works out how it’s supposed to. Every everything is perfect the way it is. Even if it seems terrible in the moment. Did that set me back from where I wanted to go? Yes. But what it did is it forced me to, number one, humble myself. And realize that I’m not too good for any job. So I immediately went into retail, because I needed to pay some bills.

(40:18): But what it did from there, is it really taught me how to advocate for myself, from that point on. One of the things I was really regretting at that point in time was, that I didn’t speak up for myself in the meeting with them in HR. I just sort of let things happen. I didn’t feel like I could. I didn’t know how to do it. I felt like I’d come off as the angry black man. And I didn’t want to be that, even though I was that, in that moment, to be quite honest. But, I really was angry with myself for not advocating. And that’s why I really talk about this self advocacy piece now. Because, once I found my voice inside of my career, that’s when things started to take off for me.

(41:04): Once I started advocating for myself, once I started realizing what value I brought, what results I provided, at these organizations, that’s when I was really then able to leverage that, to get to where I was trying to go. So, don’t be afraid of those ills. Don’t be afraid of those small setbacks in your career. They may suck in the moment, but ultimately they’re working out, in divine order, to get you where you’re supposed to be. Which may not always be in alignment with where you want to be. So yes, that’s my story. Who wants to go next on that one?

Brandon (41:36): Sure. I’ll go next. So my biggest ill I took a few. My biggest ill was I got laid off one time on leap year. That was that was not a fun experience. Like Tristan was saying, being racially profiled, allegedly. And one of my coworkers, I went to college with, we worked together in a contract position. And the atmosphere just wasn’t right sometimes. And they let us go. We were the first black people to be hired. First hired, first fired. So it was just a very troubling experience. You have to pay bills or whatnot. But yes, that was one of the biggest ills. Another ill I accept was trusting managers. I’m not saying that all managers are assholes or whatnot. But if you want to project it and see where your career wants to go, you have to let it be known.

Mike (42:34): Don’t let nobody else dictate your career for you. And that’s one of the things I learned earlier on was, if I put my career in somebody else’s hands, they have the say so to do whatever they want to do. And they gave me a bunch of ideas, how you can come in and move up. We have this good opportunity. So I jumped on board as my first job out of college. And a year and a half later, I realized that, Hey, you talked to me about these positions six months ago, what’s up with the career plan? And they say, oh, we don’t have these open right now. The jobs aren’t coming in, so I left. And what Tristan was saying earlier, about networking was, I reached out to a couple of my colleagues that I went to college with. And they set me up with the career that I have now, and I’m loving every second of it.

(43:17): So one of the things I wished I would have known and written down, was picking somebody’s brain. There will be topics on The Access Point of talking about mentors and finding mentorship. And one thing I wish I would have learned as not just about the work, but how to navigate through the work, work life and the work atmosphere. Because people that look like me, sometimes don’t get to move ahead, or get to learn certain things about their job, or their job in a career, as people of the fairer skin. And I’ve learned, this guy, he’s from India. Super-cool guy, me an him, we still o this day about our careers and stuff. And when [inaudible 00:43:59] was sometimes to keep your head down, work, save everything, save all your emails. Whoever gives you a congratulatory emails make sure you save them. Put them in a PDF somewhere.

(44:10): So when it’s time to come for promotions, and raises you already have all your documents in order. How to talk to people? How to keep your head down sometimes and just work. When it’s time to speak up for yourself, speak up for yourself. And how to in this conference was salary negotiates was a good, another type of thing. We’re going to have on The Access Point. Salary negotiations, it’s one thing to be, especially for black people who really don’t understand that’s a whole different animal in itself. And when you realize your worth, and you realize that these are what you can bring to the table. And, you know for a fact, you should be getting paid X, Y, and Z amount. You can prove it. You show them and you execute. That is one thing I wish I’m learnt early in my career. But now that I know these things, have these these points, I can share this information with others to make sure that you’re getting paid just as well, or if not more, as your counterparts at work.

Tiffany (45:11): I would say an ill that I took early on in my career is also something I wish I would’ve known. I think I mentioned earlier that, I was brought up to work very hard and master anything that I put my hands on. But what came with that was also this like hardcore expectation to be super humble. And there’s nothing wrong with being humble, but it doesn’t serve you well in a college classroom, and it doesn’t serve you well in most work environments. And what I mean by that is ,I thought very early in my career that if I just got the job done, and did what I needed to do, and did a little extra, that that will be enough. And somebody would just hand me a promotion, or a pat on the back, or whatever you’re supposed to get.

(45:57): But something I wish I would’ve known way earlier in both college and in my first job is that, nobody owes you anything. And you’re not going to magically, as much as we wish we lived in a meritocracy, that’s few and far between. And I’m really sorry to hear that y’all had some really traumatic first job experiences. I didn’t have that. I liked my first job, it was it was hardcore. I learned a lot during that time, but I wish I would have known that, we are responsible. We are 100% responsible for activating agency in the workplace, as it relates to like our work, our work product, and [inaudible 00:46:41] where we are headed. The career mapping is not our manager’s jobs, it’s our jobs. When we show up to those one-on-one conversations, we need to show up with a plan in mind ,and talking to them about partnering with us. Because even in the best scenarios where somebody has your back and they’re advocating for you. You’ve got to make it an easy lift. And then in the situations where your manager is not advocating for you, you might have to push up a hill.

(47:07): But if you’ve been building that sort of rapport, and building that that type of muscle in terms of how to talk about what you’re doing. How to talk about your value you add, then it makes it a little bit easier, even in the worst situations. So I took an ill early on because, I worked a job about two and a half years before I realized I was making about 14 cable or market rate, because I didn’t know anything about that.All the things I know now, about career development and all that kind of business, I didn’t know when I was fresh out of college. So when you think about the type of money that people are losing over the life of their career. Just not knowing that, and then knowing and not being, not having enough wherewithal to go for it. Or think you’re not worth it for whatever reason, or you haven’t done enough, that’s trash.

(47:56): We should be making comp rates for the jobs that we’re doing. It’s not about what we’ve accomplished. It’s about the job that you’re doing,a nd I didn’t know that. So things like that. I took some early, L’s not knowing I was not making the right amount of money. And waiting for managers and other people to just see how good I was. When in reality, I should have had a lot more confidence and the ability to speak up for myself. And say, Hey, I did that thing over there y’all hired me to do, and I did 10 other things too. Let’s talk about how that has moved the needle on the outcomes here, and what that means, before annual review time. So I know we’re going to talk about that stuff. But hardcore L’s y’all. Hardcore L’s over here.

Brandon (48:37): You’ve got to preach Deaconess [inaudible 00:48:37].

Tristan (48:41): Okay. Look, that is serious. We were taught that to let the work speak for itself, but the work doesn’t always speak for itself. Sometimes you have to speak for the work. And you really have to understand that that base salary, bruh, that can be the difference between you; the difference between a 40,000 and a 45,000 base salary over the course of a career is $750,000. That’s $5,000 and you could literally lose out on $750,000. So, I’m gonna shut up because Mike, we want to hear your stuff too. But it’s just you are preaching tonight.

Mike (49:26): Yes. I’m with you on that same thing. My biggest L is taking the first salary that was offered to me. I went into education almost immediately after graduating from college. And the thing about education is that, and if there’s anybody that’s thinking about going into education, that is on this webinar, listen to me right now. You are sold a lie from the get. And that’s that education is altruistic, and you are doing it for the greater good, and that you supposed to live like a peasant because you’re choosing to educate the next generation. That is a lie. Do not accept that. I accepted a salary that was $28,000 a year. And I walked onto that campus and I busted my butt. I was the assistant athletic director. I was a coach.

(50:12): I was the head of the speech department. I rebuilt their speaker program. I was teaching, I was doing all these things, working from 4:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. For $28,000 a year, because I thought that’s what education was supposed to be about. And after that year, I said, oh, hell no, never again. This is never going to be me again. I actually wrote this article. And I formulated this theory that teachers and almost everybody in the workplace, you need to start treating your employer like LeBron James treats these NBA teams. Number one, I wish I would have known that you never ever give your employer the security that you are coming back. You always make them believe, because your personal brand is so big and so strong. You make them believe that you can always walk out that door, for some more money or for a better situation.

(51:10): Number two, you always recruit other talented people to work with you. There is not a single school year that has gone by in my career, that I have not tried to siphon another talented person over from another school, or even from another career. And then the last thing that I learned is that when it’s time to go, because there’s a better offer. Go. I will listen to any offer, at any point in time. And so, I think treat these jobs and these companies like LeBron James treats, these NBA teams, especially if you’re in education. And then the other thing that I’ve learned that I think is so important. And I really wish I would’ve known this from the jump. Is about all the things that, black people, we know we have to work two and three times as hard. But the strategy of doing work outside of your job, even if temporarily for free. You will find that you will make almost exponentially more money. Not just from your side hustle, but what you can command from your job.

(52:17): So one of the things that I knew was, I have a public speaking background. I was on the speech and debate team in high school and in college. And so, I knew that I could get a Ted Talk like that. So I did my first Ted Talk and I used that video, that YouTube video that they produced, I used it as a bargaining chip for every single job I’ve ever taken. When they asked me, why are you so special? I say, look, what the world thinks. Look how many views I have on this Ted Talk. And now I’ve been able to use that and other pieces of my personal brand, to command that my job treats me with respect. Because they know that at any given time, I really can go somewhere better.

(52:58): And so I think it’s all the, the, the things that you’re doing outside of work, like, like Tiffany and Brandon and Kristin, and I like, we’re on this webinar, you’re on this webinar, right? All these things, it might seem like it’s not worth it, but the buildup, the people that you meet, the things that you learn, you will be able to command, respect more money negotiate things into your contract that nobody else has. Like, I wasn’t negotiating things into public school teacher contracts that people didn’t even know, you can negotiate. Like I had a scar, I was like, buy me 28 iPads, or I will go to another school and they did it. Right. So, so, so you have to be really strategic about what you’re doing and who you’re doing it with outside of your job, but it is almost required that you are doing things to create influence outside of your job.

(53:46): I believe that unless you work for Google or Oracle, or you work for a big, big company, you should be posting so much content on the internet about what you’re doing at work. That people should think that they should mistake you for the founder. I cannot tell you how many times people come in my school that I work at, right now, they visit. And they say, oh, is that the guy that founded the school? No, but they see the content coming from me. So everything you’re doing outside, that stuff is literally gold.

Tristan (54:21): Perfect. Well, I think that is the one to drive us home there y’all. So, as you can see, we’ve got four really passionate professionals here, who are really excited about hosting these conversations, facilitating these conversations. So we really want to thank you all for joining us today. Peace y’all.

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