My Recent Foray into Houston's Own Little Africa, Take This Job & Shove It Edition. Women
UPDATE. Income Inequality for Women is the #1 reason for opening this web page. People are Individuals, but people cannot see my Diversity when I step outside my front door. This is me with my Singaporean MUSLIM boyfriend, Mohammad Fawsi, when I was in College.
As a child of the 60s, raised on Motown & attending Fully-Integrated Schools in Pennsylvania & New Jersey, this was completely normal to me.
When I was in College, my family moved overseas where I was completely immersed in other cultures & World Religions other than Christian.
I was the Minority.
It shaped my personal philosophy of Spirituality - my willingness to see & understand someone's view of the World: to be accepting, inclusive & tolerant of people who are different from me.
Below is what I wrote about yet another instance of what it's like for a White WOMAN to find gainful employment in Houston, Texas without being attacked & harassed on the Job.
I put the best-possible spin on it, because I really liked the young man I was working for.
Now let me tell you what it was REALLY LIKE.
I was TERRIFIED I might be RAPED & MURDERED on the Job.
THIS SPECIFIC JOB is the inspiration for my Blog Piece
The particular Client our Company had that I Repped for, had a Contract to offer Free Phones to the Low Income Community, the so-called Obama Phones.
As a Health Insurance Agent enrolling Senior Citizens in MEDICARE, I have a long history of working in the Low Income Community.
Sales of MEDICARE Plans are "kitchen-table Sales" & I worked in some of Houston's finest neighborhoods: The Cuny Homes outside TSU, Sunnyside, West Orem, Wheatley, all over town - but this was very different.
For MEDICARE, I was helping your Grandmother.
Once inside people's homes, I didn't feel unsafe or in fear for my life.
Getting to & from there was a different matter entirely, but working with Low Income Senior Citizens was OK.
Wanting to get out of Health Insurance & get back into Advertising for any number of reasons, I answered an Ad for an Outside Sales Position in 2019.
Enter the Free Phones - again working in & HELPING the Low Income Community.
After our Daily Pep-talk Sales Meeting, as described below, we were paired-off with a Partner, given our quota of Free Phones & sent on our merry ways to get rid of them in any way we saw fit.
Some Teams went to Homeless Shelters like the Star of Hope.
Some Teams went to Soup Kitchens.
Some Teams went Door to Door in large Apartment Complexes.
Some Teams did Roadside-Presentation Tables with folding chairs & a Tent in Parking Lots the Company had a Contract with, like Wal-Mart & Family Dollar stores.
All in the finest neighborhoods in town.
I had several partners during my short time there & each one had a different ideas of where to prospect for customers. I went to all of those places described above.
To Qualify for a Free Phone, people had to have proof some kind of Public Assistance like, Medicaid, Food Stamps or SSI plus some kind of Government-Issued Photo ID like a Texas Driver's License, a Green Card, or an American Passport.
Imagine sitting outside at your Presentation Table in the wind, in the rain, in the blistering sun & car after car rolls by BLARING music like this:
The absolute final straw for me was going Door to Door in Apartment Complexes.
I cannot count the number of times I was sitting one-on-one with people IN THEIR HOMES & asking for an ID & getting a response like this:
"Well, I don't have a Driver's License, but will my Prison ID work?"
"Well I'm not sure, friend of mine you nice person you - but can I ask 'What were ya in for Buddy'?"
It came to a point where I could not put my Personal Safety At Risk just to do my Job.
Houston is one of the most wonderfully diverse cities in the Nation. From Harwin Street where I first got my Insurance License in 2006 in the heart of the Mahatma Gandhi District to Chinatown & beyond, Houston is home to a massive African Community with immigrants from many African Nations.
Because my fledgling business is not yet self-sustaining with a livable income, I recently took a side-gig here.
Answering an Ad for Marketing Professionals, I quickly found out that the marketing style business model here is Grassroots Marketing.
Grassroots Marketing is a valid legitimate business model & one that has found favor among Political Candidates: Door-to-Door Canvassing neighborhoods, Street Fairs & Community Events with a tent & table-top on the side of the road.
The business model employed here has been wildly successful for them, with major client corporations employing them to be the “Food SampLers & Perfume Sprizters” we see at the mall.
The client I represented offered a product that would be in direct competition with products sold in the stores, so for that reason, I was generally sweating my ass off in a parking lot in the wind, rain & blistering sun.
The man whose marketing firm I worked for is an impressive young man, 10 years younger than me but extremely tall dark & handsome – a regular “Mr GQ.”
Parisian-born of African parents, this young man was raised in London & Scotland & has been in this country for about 10 years.
And did I mention funny? He could seriously be a successful Stand-Up Comedian.
The problem? Beyond the challenging working conditions of working outside, there is always an element among my Co-Workers of “what is SHE doing here?” Even among my female co-workers.
Our daily morning meetings were a Cheerleading-style Pep-Talk to pump up the excitement to get our day going, but were mortifyingly base on Freudian Psychology: Sex & Toilet Training - OMG the basis of my business here at Revolving Door HR.
If anyone is still reading this, if we can send the children out of the room, this is what our morning meetings sounded like:
Mother-fucking Shit, Mother Fucking Shit, Mother Fucking Shit.
Basic Freudian Psychology. While it was actually pretty funny, it was MORTIFYING BEYOND BELIEF, to see gorgeous Mr GQ stand there dressed to the teeth in a 3-piece suit, complete with Vest & Tie saying Mother Fucking Shit 30 times a day!!!
What was worse was the reaction of the Black WOMEN towards me. Misogyny of WOMEN AGAINST OTHER WOMEN. Everyone would laugh & then look at me, just GLARING "Umhum - It's HER fault."
Honestly, if this guy were 10 years older, I would date him. It is age NOT race that would stop me if he were to ask me out.
So I stayed as long as I could.
It was just too much to bear.