Written by: Sabrina Townsend
I sign on to the meeting and as people are logging on. I’m scanning all the boxes as they pop up on my screen.
Do I know anyone?
Who is leading this?
Are there any other people that look like me?
Who is in the room now?
Shoot, was I supposed to prepare something for this meeting?
Oh no, I’m on mute. Let me turn my music, tv, cell phone down. Oh no, let me run and grab some water! Did I put lipstick on? Yikes, did I brush my hair??
Meeting is starting. Look at the screen.
Fix your face– the big boss is here! Pretend like you're happy to be here.
Oh no, he likes to ask questions, and of course she is ready to kiss up as usual.
I hate this job and my life.
No, I don’t! It was fine until my old boss left. She has had it out for me since she got here. If I would agree, she would ask me to download my brain on the table so she could have her way with it, and I could just become a part of the furniture where it’s safe.
The conversations in my head have got to stop. Oh yeah, and on my face. I think I have now rolled my eyes twice and looked down at my phone to watch the hilarious TikTok video that just popped up.
Oops! look up.
Just as predicted she calls on me. What do I think?
Like she cares or anyone else on this call.
Midway through my first sentence, he cuts me off and then she cracks a joke, and the next person is called on. I roll my eyes again. Chat beeps with a message from my boss. Can we connect after this call? I instantly feel hot and bothered.
What does she want now?
New meeting with my boss begins.
Ummm, in the meeting just now you looked upset.
I’m going to need you to be more engaged.
Now, can you help your three other coworkers with their projects?
You mean the three that just got bonuses and awards for being innovators in the company, yet they can never, and I mean never, complete a project without my help?
Blank stare, call ended.
I fixed my face.
I’m looking for a new job.
Every time an experience like this happens, I call one of my folks (friends that look like me) and express my irritation with these repetitive episodes. While they are trying to support me, they have three more similar stories to share.
I’m tired of having to fix my face. I would like to fix this experience, so it never happens again.
My face is screaming these feelings yet the only message I give myself is to fix my face and others around me tell me the same thing.
Why can’t someone just ask me if everything is okay?
Feeling unseen, unheard, and not valued except for what I can do to help someone else hurts and makes me often not okay.
Meet the Author
Chief Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging Executive/DEI Strategy Consultant-Trainer-Programs/Professional Speaker