Workplace Woes

by K.M. McMullen

Not a level playing field,
Seeming virtually invisible.
A slight there, a slight here,
On the front lines for real.
Yeah, it's a race thing alright.

I'm given one break,
Reverse-discrimination you cry!
You've got the whole loaf,
Yet you begrudge me a slice.

No, I won't let you define me,
You who don't look as I do.
I know who I am,
And what I can do.
Know what I'm worth,
And what I'm due.

Parade all you like, graduate squad -
An MBA won't help on this job.
Try to pick my brain, will you?
Soak it up like a sponge?
Why would I show you the ropes?
In over your head, noose around your throat.
Why would I train you to look as good as I do?
While you count your Benjamins, and label me the fool.
If knowledge is power, how absurd I give it to you.

Now who before my disappointed eyes could appear?
Who in the workplace should I most fear?
Why it's a brown-nosing brotha or sistuh in my midst!
Desperate for inclusion into the clique.
Shiver in the cold with Mr. Big for a smoke.
Only I notice you're not even puffing.
Snicker in the cubicle behind my back.
Be the eyes and ears when he's not around.

Account for my time.
But just know one thing -
Karma is never blind.
 low cut blouse, a view to behold.
 short tight skirt, a well crossed leg.
Wise up girlfriend,
Mr. Big isn't as big as you thought.
Passed over for promotion,
Can't even get what he wants.

Player, let this not be your playground.
My sistuhs in Legal and then in Accounting,
Quoted verbatim the same line you gave them.
You can't do what they do, don't try it.
A sex harass charge can be
Such a nasty little thing.
An unplanned offspring,
The abrupt end to a fling.
Remember your Blond brother escorted down the hall,
Wingtips, Brooks Brothers, briefcase and all.
As he drooled and chased,
They built their case.

Greetings, Mr. New Head of...
Big money, big title,
All the pretty trimmings.
 spot you coveted,
 job you were sure you could do.
Made to look easy,
By the one who came before you.
With contempt and deceit,
You orchestrated him out.
 well timed trap,
 well placed bait.
Forever more keep one eye over your shoulder,
The other behind your back.
Lest you experience a similar fate.

Don't worry Mr. Token
Wouldn't think of going
Without letting you have your say:

"Don't depend on me,
just cause I look as you do.
I'm accountable for your work performance,
Not responsible for you.
Doesn't fall on me
To keep you entertained,
Inspired or otherwise enthused.
Your career is your concern.
Paid my dues, now taking my turn.
Besides, too busy balancing up here on my tightrope.
Pretending not to notice I'm alone at the top.
Pretending beyond earshot of all the sell-out remarks."

Yeah, it's a race thing aln'ght.

Workplace Woes by K.M. McMullen

© Copyright 2003. All rights reserved. No portion of this work may be duplicated or copied without the expressed written consent of the author.

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