Finding purpose outside of work

This blog post is a musing of what happens to Black American professionals in the workplace when they are stuck in toxic work environments.

Taking Steps to Eliminate Racism in the Workplace
Photo Credit to Shrm.org

In the evening when all the hustle and bustle of the day settled, I did a search for “being intellectually fulfilled outside of work” via Google. Nothing that came up was a true match for my search criteria. The reason I felt compelled to do this search is due to the fact that I am reading more and more articles about Black American professionals with amazing ideas and capacity being severely marginalized at work.

What’s even more distressing is that during the 15 month reprieve under COVID, those professionals realized that they are incredibly smart, capable, enterprising, and effective. These epiphanies came because they were no longer imprisoned by toxic work environments, noxious coworkers, and anti-Blackness permeating through management.

Given the unemployment disparities for Black Americans and those not counted due to being “under employed” within the gig economy, keeping a full time job as a Black American is a necessity to survival. Throw in ageism in the job market coupled with employment discrimination for Black Americans that remains almost unchanged since the 70’s and you have many Black American professionals who cannot leave their jobs.

For many Black American professionals, leaving their job (even it is abusive, anti-Black, or full on racist) will be the equivalent of jumping out of the weathering “frying pan” and into a dire financial “fire”.

As the economy opens up full throttle, many Black professionals have to go back to a job and keep treading water in an environment that does not value them because they are Black or diminishes their capacity because they aren’t the type of Black person management finds palatable due to their own unchecked implicit bias.

Many Black American professionals find themselves struck between providing for themselves, their children, their families and quietly being unfulfilled and ignored at work.


For many Black American professionals, they use their intellectual prowess and talents for outside / external volunteer organizations. Not to say there isn’t anti-Blackness and racism in the non-for-profit field, there surely is — but that is another blog post for another day. Many Black professionals fair better and are happier in the volunteer-verse because it is sometimes comprised of people who genuinely want to help others; the work being done is not tied to one’s livelihood; and you can cultivate your skill set in a welcoming and rewarding organization.

The wonderful skills that Black American professionals can contribute to their favorite 501(c)(3) may actually open doors to restart and refresh their careers. For certain, it gives them a place to renew their spirits whilst putting some good into the world, in tandem.