When I was in college, I got a part-time job at a local bank’s call center where I loved chatting with customers and answering their questions. I had some amusing encounters, like when I asked a woman if her dog was barking in the background and she said it was actually her husband with a really bad cough *FACEPALM*. Or when I got offended thinking a man wanted to order sex when it turned out he was just trying to order checks (Ooooooooopps). The fact that all this happened behind the veil of a phone line made it easy to laugh about it and be myself.
Then I graduated college and parlayed that job into one as a Personal Banker, where I actually had to work with those customers *GULP* face-to-face! The upside was that people were far less likely to be rude when sitting across from me. The downfall was now people could judge me by my appearance, and my 5’0” stature wasn’t helping things!
I quickly realized that as a young minority woman, I needed to fight to be taken seriously, and thus began what you could call, “Operation Determination”. In order to prove myself, I wore business suits when they weren’t required, avoided fraternizing with other young colleagues, used words like “fraternizing”, and stayed off all social media so no tagged pictures, tongue-in-cheek comments, or previous friend requests could come back to haunt me. You may think this sounds a bit too cautious, but the truth was..… ok, it was a bit too cautious.
Meanwhile in my career, I advanced through a management program and rose through the ranks to senior leadership. I was proud of achieving this in my 30s (with collar sufficiently popped!), but remained pretty guarded in terms of expressing myself. Then things changed. No, it wasn’t an epiphany about being myself or some amazing results of my dazzling personality (still waiting for those…). It was that my company was acquired and my job got eliminated.
This gave me the opportunity to think about what I truly wanted to spend time doing. I had always loved putting pen to paper, especially the challenge of finding the right tone, verbiage, and linguistic style for the voice I was representing. This led to the formation of Cognition. The only problem was that without social media, it was kinda hard for a writing agency to showcase its writing.
So herein lies a gigantic step for me. I’m putting myself out there and actually publishing stuff about my life! I’m writing this blog, I’m on social media, and I’m talking about me and my brand – not a company or corporate message. And I’m excited to help other small businesses find their voice too. That’s what Cognition does – we tailor your message for you, like I’ve always done in Corporate America.
So while you’re here and reading this, sign up for this blog, like us on Facebook, and tell all your friends and family. If you do, I can promise you authentic, engaging content that I hope you’ll love to read.