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Have you ever wondered…?

Have you ever wondered about the ridicule of corporate life, where one person - or a small group of individuals - is considered competent enough to judge another’s performance and bring out a report as to whether this other one meets the criteria for pursuing this or that?

Oh yes, it may be that the examiner has particular credentials that justify his or her authority to do the selecting, but how do we deal with the age-old problem of chemistry? As you know, chemistry is not just something that determines the success rate in a love affair. It works just as well in the business world. People determine at first sight whether they like someone or not. And sometimes, unfortunately, they are influenced by historical or personal views about members of other ethnic groups or sexes. It may be an accent, a color, a way of dressing, or anything else that makes this other person different from them. And, even more unfortunate, it is not written on recruiters’ foreheads whether they are influenced by biases of any kind. Many of these recruiters or scrutinizers are wise enough never to admit or show their prejudices. Actually, some of them even make it their specialty to conceal or abnegate this shortcoming.

But the above described phenomenon is the exact reason why inequality will remain for a long time in the work environment: people just have an ingrained preference for the ones that resemble them most, either in looks or ways. Besides, let’s be honest, hiring one who comes from your own culture and background is so much easier. Think of the time you will save in training and familiarizing! Think of the speed with which decisions will be made due to homogeneous perspectives!

Yes, this is what goes on in our world today, and perhaps tomorrow as well. Maybe even forever. It’s a sad truth, as the solutions enforced by the government have not proven their effectiveness so far. Preaching diversity and executing affirmative action? They have long demonstrated their flaws: If you force an institution to maintain certain minimum percentages of under-represented groups in their work- or study force, they may just go for achieving those percentages without caring for the quality. Some even do it deliberately. Why? Because enrolling or hiring the weaker members from minority groups will prove in the end that these groups really have intellectual and performance flaws!

It’s all about strategies and politics. And business, whether we like to admit it or not, thrives on politics. Only the strong survive.

So, how do YOU go about achieving anything if YOU happen to be an outsider with no support group to turn to? I guess the solution lies in a combination of behaviors: 1. Always, always, always perform to your very best. Be alert, and never slack. Practice ten, no, hundred times harder than your counterparts who were privileged by their very appearance. 2. Try to find a job that limits your exposure to a political climate. And since every environment with more than two people is a politically laden one, there is not too much else to consider than working from home. However, working from home brings to the surface a number of other requirements, of which self-discipline is the most important. 3. Participate in as much educational endeavors as you can. Of course you should determine your focus and your area of interest first. But obtaining education and attempting to broaden your capabilities as much as possible, may make it harder to have you turned down, simply because you don’t meet the appearance standards that certain recruiters seem to have in mind. 4. Follow the news and, whenever possible, do some traveling. The message here is, that you should make yourself familiar with other environments than the one you are currently in. No one said that your future should be established per definition in the country where you happen to be at the moment. Besides, there is much you could do for other countries from the safe environment of your home as well. The Internet may just be the place for you to search – and find. 5. Never, ever let rejection get the best of you. See through it. Who are those people anyway to reject something as powerful and talented as you? They could only do so because they are meager, shortsighted ants with little or no depth. But they are in the position to do it, so you are allowed to be down for a few days, but make sure you get up again, and continue looking. Always! Remember, no one can keep a good thing down. Be a cork: Pop up every time they release their thumb from you. It’s all about vigor, self-confidence, and perseverance. And the resilience to get up one more time than you fall.

The 5 tips above are not the points of salvation, for salvation lies within you. They are just hints for you to keep in mind, and to try. However, they will be worthless if you do not believe in yourself; if you have never wondered; and if, subsequently, you have not developed a healthy perspective of the subjectivity that goes around in the world.

But if you have, you know the ridicule, and you will learn to laugh it off…and be successful anyway!


Joan Marques, Ed.D. Burbank, May 10, 2004
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About the Author: Joan Marques emigrated from Suriname, South America, to California, U.S., in 1998. She holds a doctorate in Organizational Leadership, a Master’s in Business Administration, and is currently a university instructor in Business and Management in Burbank, California. You may visit her web sites at http://www.joanmarques.com and http://www.spiritcounts.com/ Joan's manual "Feel Good About Yourself," a six part series to get you over the bumps in life and onto success, can be purchased and downloaded at: http://www.non-books.com/FeelGoodSeries.html
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It is better to live in serene poverty than in hectic affluence. Everything has a price. The price for nurturing your soul is turning away from excessive stress, destruction of self-respect, and the constant strive in lifestyle with the Joneses. But it’s worth it.

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