At acework, we are acutely aware of the lack of diversity in the remote working world. Remote work can involve increased contact between people from diverse racial and cultural backgrounds, but we need to make a continuous effort to foster this. In addition to our collection of resources on allyship and education, we aim to amplify and support diverse voices in our community, starting with Danielle Bullock, a former acework candidate, who lives and works in Berlin. Here is Danielle:
“Being Black means you have to work twice as hard…
Growing up, this was something I’ve always heard but did not fully understand until completing my university studies.
In 2013, I moved to London to finish my Bachelors and then pursue a Masters in Marketing. I felt like I garnered all of the must-haves to launch my career as a digital marketer. I have earned two degrees, went to an internationally ranked university, and had relevant internships to support this endeavor. Overall, London was an eye-opening experience where the competitive environment meant that I was competing for jobs with international talent. Although faced with numerous application rejections and visa restrictions I accepted the challenge with open arms.
Sadly, in 2016, BREXIT votes were in and international students outside of Finance or Technology fields faced additional challenges when searching for work, thus I set my sights on relocating to Berlin, Germany.
Prior to my second relocation, I researched job prospects for native English speakers, created a list of companies I admired, collected entry-level marketing vacancies to dissect job specifications, and attended seasonal job fairs tailored to recent graduates.
What I failed to discover through my research, was the severe lack of diversity within tech startups and professional organizations as a whole.
I spent the year working as an au pair, revamped my German-style CV (which typically includes a headshot image), and took German courses to show initiative in immersing myself into the language and subsequently the culture. I was inexperienced, excited, confident, and yes, naive into thinking that I was living in a post-modern society where my efforts were enough to land an entry-level position.
This was hardly the case.
After sending at least 100 applications and hearing no response, I removed my photo and replaced it with a link to my LinkedIn page. I reached out to potential team members on LinkedIn, many of whom had little or no experience in the titles they currently owned. Oh, did I mention they were all white men?
Berlin’s buzzing international scene does exist but after sending hundreds of applications, and being invited to less than ten interviews I began to realize that at each company I was offered to interview, I was the only Black person, and if I was lucky there was an additional person of color.
Germany has an estimated one million people that identify as Black, I did not expect us to be highly visible.
However, I often consider the largest minority group in Berlin and can recall never having one Turkish colleague in the 2.5 years that I have worked here.
As I navigate my marketing career, I am always thinking about how underrepresented groups can achieve diversity, equity, and inclusion in their organization. I wonder if there is more I could do to see myself reflected in professional spaces.
Following the tragic mass murdering of unarmed Black people by police in the United States, I find it difficult to see paper-thin, Black Lives Matter social media posts from companies that don’t even serve their local, minority non-profit organizations.
I find it difficult when preparing applications to companies I admire, also promote themselves as ‘Champions of Diversity’ while continuing to exclude intersectionality towards people of color, people living with disabilities, the Muslim community, or members of the LGBTQ+ community.
I find it difficult to hear after the third interview that, ‘you were a great candidate but we didn’t feel there was a culture fit’.
What does that even mean? Don’t I deserve more detailed feedback after three, hour-long conversations and a sample assignment?
That’s only during the interview process. Once I am offered the job…
I find it difficult to remain passionate as a digital marketer when Black women are the most educated group in the United States but earn half the amount of White men, for the same job.
I find it difficult to know that many people experience microaggressive behavior at work but struggle to find the words and say, ‘this is not okay’…..amongst other things.
The office, whether it’s physical or remote, does not mean employees leave their biases at home. Encourage your C-Level, Senior, and Junior employees to take a few moments to educate themselves. It is especially important for companies to invest in diversity training, actively hire diverse talent, openly support and donate to social causes with emphasis from the top down.
Because at this day and age, there are no excuses.
Recognizing that from my time at university until now, I’ve had to censor myself, my personality, and even at one point my appearance, to make others feel comfortable and appear to be a ‘company fit’.
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion is not a one-off task for your quarterly goal. It is a never-ending commitment to your company, team, community, and society at large. We all have the resources, let’s finally use them.”
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