Observations of an Invisible Woman

Rules of Survival While at Work

Awhile back, a commenter, HunglikeJesus, asked me to formulate a post on survival in the white world. I had just done the 3 D’s of White Supremacy and he wanted a follow-up post…but just for us. So I did the best I could:

Rule #1. Never speak any thought out loud around the supremacist. Anything you say can and will be used against you.

Rule #2. Never discuss your personal life. This is BIG. Whites are always in our faces. Especially at work. “Oh! Where did you get your training? Do you live around here? Wow! You speak so well! Did you go to Harvard?” This is known as psychological interviewing…where you sum up your enemy to see “what you’re up against.” Also, resist the urge to share about your new car, your husband’s promotion, your kitchen remodel. ANY indication that you’re doing well will inflame them.

I’ve learned to simply say, “Why do you want to know?” That throws them because now they must answer…which puts them on the spot. If they come back at you, which they probably will, say: “Listen, not to be rude but I don’t like discussing my personal life at work.” Remember to keep your voice even-toned so they can’t claim that you became “aggressive.”

Rule #3. Tell your family members not to call or email you using the COMPANY TELEPHONE OR INTERNET. Why? I.T. can trace all calls and messages and it can be used against you. My boss did that to me once and I was caught off guard. Now, when I make calls, it’s from my cell phone only.

Rule #4. I CANNOT SAY THIS ENOUGH: DON’T GOSSIP!!!!! Have you ever been in this situation:

White woman: I can’t stand the new supervisor.

You: Yeah…I know…she’s seems a little out of touch.

White woman: Out of touch? How?

You: You know…she tells us about how we need to cut the budget, yet she buys a new car.

White woman: Ohhhhhh…yes, yes, yes…exactly.

Two days later, you are brought into the office…and reprimanded! Don’t gossip! It leads no where, except the unemployment line.

Rule #5. Some of you may be required to attend company picnics, parties, ice cream socials, etc…If liquor is served, don’t drink any! Stick to water and say that alcohol gives you diarrhea, heartburn, the hives, dizziness…whatever…just don’t drink any. When you are intoxicated, you leave yourself open to suggestion, if you know what I’m saying.

Rule #6. Most whites at work will feel threatened by any intelligent black person. This is a fact. My own co-worker put this one patient in harms way just to spite me with a Vascular procedure called a A-V Fistula scan for dialysis. Without getting too technical, a fistula is created when a patient has something called end stage renal failure or ESRD. This fistula is utilized to clean the blood and essentially keep the patient alive. My co-worker pretended not to know about a particular fistula, when I asked for a consult, to make me look foolish in front of the Nephrologist. If possible, do your own research on that machine, that protocol, that new rule…anything…except go to them. Or simply ask for help with Human Resources.

Rule #7. Black men, hear my plea, do not for any reason, be alone with a white woman unsupervised. When I was working in New Jersey at this wealthy hospital, we had a black man as the Chief Nuclear Medicine Tech. With his tall and strapping good looks and 3, yes…3 degrees, administration had no choice but to elevate him to Chief status. That meant that doctors went to him for advice…Now, there is a rule with our male staff: All male practitioners must have a female chaperone while with a female patient. So, having said that, listen to this short story:

One morning, around 2 am, X was called in for an emergency. The surgeon wanted quick answers so he wrote the order and X got to work. Not thinking that anything was going to happen, he never thought to call the floors to get a female chaperone. He performed the test, dictated the results and sent the patient back to her room. A few days later, he was called in to H.R. with accusations of “misconduct.” He was fired. Went on unemployment and his record, tarnished.

Black men, if you are doctors, nurses, construction workers…don’t be alone with a white woman period.

Rule #8. Write it down. If someone says something to you…and that funny voice in your head says, “Hmmmmm……” write down names, time and dates. Keep a log so if shit hits the fan, you have backup.

Rule #9. Communicate by email. Words can be twisted. Email is tangible. Keep your email short and to the point.

Rule #10. If you suspect that you are being sabotaged, run to H.R. with a typed and NOTARIZED letter. Keep it factual, not emotional and have a copy for yourself. This paper trail will maybe save your job.

Anything else I missed?

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28 thoughts on “Rules of Survival While at Work

  1. mary burrell on said:

    It’s important to watch what you do and say. You have to cover your back at all times. Even the most benign thing can be used against you. You even have to watch your back with POC and some black people. Their is one kerchief head or two who will always operate in slave mentality.

  2. I had one of those…she was a super lightskinned Negro who thought she was “one of them.”

    Not only did she annoy me, but when she realized that I wasn’t on her side, she turned…like a vampire. Sometimes blacks who hate themselves can be our own worst enemy.

  3. Reflection on said:

    Nice advice, but you did leave out one important rule. You kind of insinuated it but didn’t state it directly. Black people need to increasingly become entrepreneurs, more self sufficient, self-employed and much less dependent on white people for their employment, financial well being and security.

    We also need to figure out a way to love and trust each other more … and learn to put aside our petty jealousies and differences that keep us from attaining meaningful solidarity as a cohesive and formidable Black community at local, national and global levels.

  4. Black sovereignty is always number one.

  5. FANTASTIC post Truth!!!!

    But I have to disagree with only one thing you said, about going to HR saving your job. In my experience and observation, going to HR only temporarily saves your job, especially if there are Blacks working in HR, who will screw you faster than ANY White person since they’ll claim to have an “inside scoop” about you.

    I think that once you go to HR, the clock on your time at that job starts ticking. So my advice to folks is that once you feel the need to go to HR, start looking for a job as if you don’t have one. And if I had to put a time on it, I’d say you have 2 months tops from the time you go to HR to find another job before they create a reason to fire you.

    One last comment, the EEOC has received a record number of complaints about job discrimination since Prez. Obama’s election. So between that and record unemployment/ recession, Black folks are hard pressed to have good work experiences.

    Again, GREAT post!

  6. My experience has been a little different with “uncle Tom” negroes, in my experience they are usually female, brown skinned, unattractive, and single.

    Word of advice, folks give a LOT of thought for coming at me about mentioning skin color, because personally I could careless about it. But some brown skinned black women DO seem to take pleasure in sticking it to light skinned Black women, and that’s just a FACT!!

  7. Yes, I agree with you. Colourism is alive and well in the workforce. I have a post about that coming soon.

  8. @ The good Dr.

    You know something? I did some digging and the depression, that’s what I call it, was caused by none other than Bernake and the House of Rothschild. Why?

    Because loss of jobs will cause dependency on the system, which is what they want. When you become dependent, they can control you, like with welfare and disability.
    The reason why black unemployment is so darn high is racism and preference for illegals. Why would a black person who has an education, take a job for less money, with twice the duties when an illegal will take the same job, with NO insurance, for 1/4th of the pay?

    My neighbor is from the islands like us. She is Dominican and tells me that they fired a lot of people from her job that are citizens with degrees for illegals who will work for $2.00 an hour.

  9. Right on point again Truth about this country’s depression and the rampant workplace racism!!

    And your comment about immigrants is profound! I feel as a Scientist that immigrants are the primary reason jobs in my field more competitive than they should be!!

    I say send ALL their asses back to where they came from especially those from India, because they are more racist the grand wizards if the KKK!!

  10. @ The good DR.

    I ‘ve done a lot of digging and found out that a lot of these illegals are being denied papers from ICE (immigration) on purpose!

    By denying them the right to a visa and thusly citizenship, you make them dependent on the system. You make them slaves!

    By hiring them for pennies and giving us the pinkslip, you push blacks back 2 generations back into poverty.

    Poverty is the number one precursor for CRIME so the cycle starts all over again.

    It is a well thought out plan to erase blacks and “undesirables” from the earth.

  11. wilson on said:

    1) Never EVER forget that you’ll NEVER be one of them. There is always that risk that no matter how good things get, they could STAB you in the back one day. When the tide turns, it turns.

    2) Don’t give out your personal opinions about STUFF. If someone asks you something that is potentially controversial, it is always best to reflect the question back at them and see where it goes from there…


    White person: “What do you think of Barack Obama?”
    Black person: “Uhmm, am more curious to know what you think?”
    White person: “Why?”
    Black Person:”Am not really into politics, I think there are things he has done right and things he has done wrong, just like any other president. What about you?”


    Try to come out NEUTRAL at the end.

    3) Leave your ego at home when you go to work unless you want to play THERE game.

    4) Come across as non-threatening. Try smiling, take an interest in there personal lives. Ask for there opinions, listen, nod your head, say you sort of see where they are coming from… Be as diplomatic as possible. Just don’t go mouthing off your OPINIONS about the world and the injustice in it. If someone’s view is really offensive, just agree to disagree and move on.

    Understand, that until you can be independent and not have to rely on “them” to survive, just collect your pay check and be happy, if possible work your way to winning there trust and move slowly up the promotional ladder. Don’t make work some kind of battle ground to prove your worth as a human being. You’ll be milked dry. Work is just there to provide you with a means to live – Money.

  12. @ Wilson

    Good comments and thank you. I think a lot of folks drop their guard when they feel comfortable.

  13. @Wilson,

    I get your point but IMHO, anyone working at a job that see’s it as just paycheck does MORE damage to themselves than anyone else.

    For me, if on my deathbed AND the only good thing I could say about my employment throughout my life was that I got paid, I’d consider that a HUGE waste of what God has blessed me with. No, a job shouldn’t be everything to a peron, but getting something out of it beyond a paycheck is critical to living a good life to me.

  14. wilson on said:

    Dr Reine, I totally agree with you. Blindly following a paycheck can mean that one is without a conscience. After all some of the most successful people on the Planet could be accused of having no conscience at all, as through there success, everyone else gets to suffer.

    In the context above I meant it to mean “protecting ones conscience” from a pathological world. If in the workplace, as a colored person I forget that I am black and think we are all just humans, then I open myself up to being wounded at some point in the future. Thus to me, work is just a place I go to earn money, gain the necessary skills so maybe I can earn more money in future and maybe get to see the pathological system at Work and gain insight into it. I don’t fool myself that I am somehow contributing to the well being of humanity. Chances are the Corporation you are working for is slowly killing this planet, contributing to social inequality etc. Furthermore, I don’t forget the bottom line, “That I don’t matter to it, I am there because my life has been threatened, by poverty, by homelessness etc” by the very same system that I am working for. I am there to contribute to the continuation of a system that is ultimately bad for society and the natural world for the sake of my own personal survival. In short, I am there for the money. You put up with discrimination, injustice, abuse all day long and you keep going back for more. Why? Because we are wage slaves.

    I think it is pertinent to never forget this. Sure I can connect to my colleagues, to my boss, clients, patients, customers etc we can share moments of real intimacy but that is secondary. At the end of the day, it’s the bottom line that counts: That whiteness reigns supreme.

  15. @ Wilson, thanks for that and bravo for another good post!

    I could write all day long about the pharmaceutical industry (Pharma) and about how private companies are in general, the WORST places for Blacks to work. And I’ve recently been blessed to now have a position in Academia, having been liberated from working in Pharma very recently. And I’m NEVER going back!

    In fact, working there has significantly inspired me to go into business for myself in a BIG way in the future!!!

  16. One last comment, working in “hell holes” has greatly contributed to the high blood pressure/cardiovascular disease in our communities. And for many of us, that need to provide for ourselves and our families is killing us, so we need to be as careful as we can about the environments we spend 8 of our precious hours/day working in.

  17. mary burrell on said:

    Working in the medical field this is one observation I’ve made. Pharmacutical sales representatives, There is a certain type of blackperson you have to be. It dose’nt matter how well dressed said black individual is are how articulate said black person is physician never give them the time of day. It is always some surgically altered bleached blond female they cater to. They are very sexist and racist. That field is not an accomodating field of work for black people.

  18. @ the good Dr.

    I couldn’t agree more! After I’m done with my studies, it’s home employment for me all the way.

    I don’t want to sound insane(er) but I almost think it’s being done on purpose to make our lives as miserable as possible. Then when we leave due to burnout, it’s a justification to call us lazy.

  19. Big Pharma works with the hospitals to get folks sicker. Your health is big business.

  20. Mickey on said:

    I’ve always said that people make money off of the sick, not the healthy. That is why all of these diseases keep popping up and health care is skyrocketing. Not to mention that due to added stress, White people live 8 years longer than Black people on average.

  21. wilson on said:

    The health Industry isn’t there to cure diseases. It is there to MANAGE them, so that in the meantime, they can make as much money as possible.

    Curing diseases is bad for business.

  22. wilson on said:

    For example take dental caries, back in the 30’s it was a real epidemic with the spread of sugary diets and food stuffs combined with lack of adequate dental cover for the masses. Nowadays you’d think the problem has been solved but NO, it has just been managed. We eat more sugar than ever, more processed food than ever, all approved by the appropriate regulatory bodies and in return they get to drill holes into out teeth and fill them up with stuff.

    Take depression, instead of going after the cause, “How modern life is organised” they give people “Pills” that don’t really cure there depression, but rather makes them “Emotionally numb”. Kill there emotions and you solve the problem of depression.


  23. Great analogy!

    One other thing about cavities, the amalgam is made with mercury, no? What does that do to your liver and kidneys over time? Perhaps that’s why we have such high rates of renal failure, etc…

  24. Nice post here Truth.

  25. Wilson, the advice you gave is entirely correct! Do not get into any political conversations which are about race. I was talking to a white woman at work about Barack Obama. For some reason she detested him and was enamored with Ron Paul. Why she felt she had to make mention of this, I don’t know. For some reason these clowns seem to have an almost pathological compulsion to bring ‘racial’ matters up. I asked her to qualify what she said(knowing she was too dumb to, but entertaining nonetheless). Needless to say all she could offer was vague “he’s an asshole’, or some other stupid quote. Needless to say, she couldn’t give me a coherent reply. Keep in mind, she approached me unsolicited. When I kept asking her to ‘qualify’ what she said using policies etc., she got progressively angrier. Realizing that this woman was a lunatic, I hemmed in my sadistic nature, and informed her that whilst enjoying her lunatic ramblings, I mean conversation, I had to go.

    These bizarre ‘conversation have occurred many time over the course of my employment at this particular job. Always it is the white person who approaches me. If you want to piss them off, always ask them to qualify what they mean, that is if you are in the mood for some comedic relief whilst at work. I did not understand why she was talking about the American President when we were in Canada. She would have been better concerned with the clown running Canada. I concluded that she was really telling me that she hated him because he was black. Anywho, I didn’t want to bring on the white woman’s tears syndrome, so I quit while I was still ahead. I saw the dumb broad later in the day and it was like the conversation never happened! She was bright, friendly, in short her crazy self.

    Work is just there to provide you with a means to live – Money.

    More apt words were never spoken! Working is a means to an end not an ends to a means! I will admit though, that I find them comical!

    White supremacy reigns supreme as you say. At my work site, The black staff have been bombarded with letters containing threats of genocide, rape, dismemberment, being lynched, having our homes burnt, families threatened, not knowing when you will ‘get it’ etc. Had they called the police at the onset of these letters, they may have apprehended the miscreant(s) writing them. Seven years later and they are still coming. One woman got a letter with a picture of a naked woman lying in a fetal position with a gun pointed to her genitals threatening rape and “disappearing off the face of the earth’. I am now in the midst of a Human Rights complaint since other racist incidents have occurred. They have just today informed me of their willingness to ‘settle’. I play them at their own game. Should I settle, they will be paying the piper. I have, had, a slam dunk complaint and they know it. These motherfuckers threatened me at the outset of my complaint,and, knowing how they are, I was not surprised. Also pick your battles, something you can prove.

    I will be thinking long and hard as to how I will settle. A word of advice, document, correspond via email, do not make any verbal agreements(they tend to ‘forget’ what was said), save any documents(memos, missives etc,), however innocuous, they may be important!, scan and email them to your online email account for future reference plus you will be able to download them later as proof at any hearing. Sign up for an email account for this purpose, do not use your work or personal account. There are many free email accounts available. Oh yeah, if in doubt, seek out advice here you can, if all else fails, get a lawyer!

  26. Ron Thomas on said:

    Working in the Federal Sector, it is interesting in the extreme to see HOW MANY of our people don’t have a CLUE what is going on around them. I understand completely how the game is played, but sometimes you have to vary the rules a bit, to suit the circumstances.
    I’m not the “smiler” type, nor am I interested in conversing with them.
    About anything.
    Unless it suits my purposes. And then, my opinion is the raw, uncut version.
    I rarely get asked anything foolish more than once.
    After 4+ decades in uniform (both my wife and I are retired), our approach is that we have EARNED the right to say whatever we damned well please, and screw em’ if their feelings get hurt by the truth. True, our being already retired from the Fed gives us a flexibility that many do not have. This is not to say that we walk around with chips on our shoulders, or “attitudes, etc… Quite the contrary. We are both highly educated in our respective fields, easy to talk to, live a quiet lifestyle with no drama, and mind our own business.
    But we never drop our guard, never let them get close enough to know ANYTHING, and treat the job as just that: a JOB; a way to keep the lights on, and the cars gassed.

  27. @ Ron

    Good comment. I’m in my thirties now and my tongue has gotten pretty loose. I told my former boss exactly what I thought of her right to her face and she did not enjoy that.

    Oh well..

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