I’ve thought a lot about how to write this letter. No matter how I spun it, the vile words spewed. It was impossible to present what had happened in any silver lining. My last year at work was toxic. Simple.
But still, I need to say something. If only because of this responsibility. As I’ve become more senior in the industry, my brethen has shrunk. All my friends who would be WoC managers or highly influential contributors have quit the tech industry. And I sure as hell don’t blame them.
Alas, I’ve figured out how to draw the lines. And I figure you’re able to read between them.
In my last letter, I mentioned I joined TheKey.Company staff part-time. This was not my intention going into the design of DSA Magic Girl.
Admittedly, DSA Magic Girl was born out of frustration. While venting to my amazing hair stylist during one of our 8 hour affairs, she pointed out through all the things I’ve bitched about, this day job was particularly egregious.
While she stepped away to let the bleach bake in, I pulled out my laptop and illustrated the first rev of what would become icons for my keyset.
At this time, I had done no research nor had any idea what it would entail to make this product a reality. I just knew, I needed a creative project where I can fly freely. This was the commitment I had made to myself.
In my past, I would’ve likely tried to handle the big group pre-order myself. But having run mintlodi.shop (oh yes, I did buy that domain), I knew packaging and shipping would be a huge pain. I was more than happy to team up with a vendor to do this.
I made a list of shops to reach out to and poked around my network to understand what the pay was like. Because let’s face it, none of those folks are doing this for charity, despite what the hobbyist want you to think. I also believe that for all their efforts, anyone who runs a business should aspire to do more than break even! If you want your favorite brands and products to keep existing, think about this. ahem, /rant
Before I could mass cold email all the folks, a creator I admire in the mechanical keyboards world put me in touch with TKC. I knew from our initial conversations, we’d get the hell along.
I do want to write a letter about the actual Magic Girl production process, so I’ll fast forward to the results. I still mean every word I said there.
A few days after I quit my toxic day job, my body finally processed and let out all that was pent up. In short, I was depressed as fuck. I couldn’t answer any messages that day, let alone get out of bed or feed myself.
The next day, I prepared for a scolding. When I told them about what happened and apologized for not being accountable, they were genuinely concerned. I’ve never worked for anyone who expressed concern when I went AWOL. It was incredibly mundane, in a great way.
There was no hard feelings, pressure, and the conversation was not about the work. It was about me. And my wellbeing. Another person was concerned about me, the person.
Let’s end with this, before I get too sentimental. The true test of allyship, is this:
The more senior I am in the my career, the more likely that I will be the first woman of color to stand up to a silver platter privileged “leader.” Thus, the axe is likely to fall on me, when they inevitably decide that my effectiveness is the real deal.
How they react to that first time is telling.
Either, all their platitudes fall to the wayside and they start undermining me, while donning a smile, “I do care about D&I, I swear!” Or, they wake up and come back the next day, apologizing for what transpired with a deeper respect of the a boss bitch that I am.
A friend bought me this Reflection Journal for my 30th birthday. (Thanks Shirley!) And going through it had me find a way to talk about my experiences in a productive way.
TheKey.Company is hiring a Design Intern. Please share in your networks, I’d love to extend this opportunity to someone who is starting out or needs a breather.
Inspired by my friends in the industry, I’ve opened up Talk & Dog Walks for any PoC who’d like to chat in NYC!
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