In the job market there are unemployed people and unemployable people. What’s the difference? An unemployed person is someone who has education, skills, and can bring a wealth of experience with them. It’s these tools that make them valuable in the job market.
An unemployable person is someone who brings absolutely nothing to an employers’ table. If anything, they carry a series of liabilities with them that make employers avoid them. And Black people already have one strike against them for the color of their skin. When they add these extra strikes to their resume it’s game over in the job market.
How do people render themselves unemployable? In most cases, by making a series of stupid mistakes when they’re young. It’s these bad decisions that come back to haunt them when they try to go out in the world or move up in it.
Dropping out of high school. Most jobs that pay a living wage today require a minimum of an Associates’ degree, a certification or a license in a skill trade. And the gateway to these areas of higher learning is getting a high school diploma.
Even the U.S. Military requires that its soldiers have a minimum of a High School diploma. All of these avenues for employment are cut off the day a brother or a sista decides to drop out of high school.
Too many brothers and sisters listen to people like Lil’ Wayne and the late Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls who stated that they dropped out of high school and still became millionaires.
Not understanding that these entertainers got a million-to-one shot in life, one most brothers and sisters will never achieve.
What most Brothers and sisters don’t understand is that the road to success for a rap star leads to a dead end in the real world. The average Black person has even LESS opportunity than these entertainers when they drop out of high school. Without a high school diploma the best a brother or a sista can do is low-wage work like working the counter taking orders in a fast-food restaurant or stocking shelves at a big box store.
Getting a tattoo. Lots of teens and twentysomethings love to get tattoos as a way to “express themselves”. But in the job market that skin art can cost them employment, promotions, and connections with key players in the business world in the future.
And some tattoos like facial and neck tattoos can permanently take a person of the job market. These kinds of tattoos are associated with mental illness or criminal activity, and automatically lead to a rejection in the job market.
When you work for someone else you represent their business. And most tattoos in America when it relates to Black men are associated with Prison or gangs. Most businesses don’t want their businesses associated with criminal activity.
So when a brotha calls himself copying a rapper like Rick Ross or an NBA player like Lebron James, he all but destroys his chances of finding a job anywhere but low-wage retail and fast food for the rest of his life.
Remember, you dress for where you want to go. And the only people who get tattoos all over their bodies in the real world are gang members and prison guys doing long sentences. If you want to dress for success you have no skin art, wear suits, ties and dress shirts every day.
Getting a Felony conviction. Ex-offenders can get back into the job market. However those with felony convictions have next to no chance of finding full-time work. This is why that dude in the gang at 18 doing stick ups of grocery stores winds up stuck in his mama’s house at 38. No employer will touch him because he has a felony on his record like armed robbery, first-degree assault or murder.
Once a person gets a felony on their record many doors close for them in the job market. They can’t get financial aid for college like Pell Grants. They can’t apply for Civil Service jobs. And they wind up with their resumes tossed in the circular files of private employers who fear they will try to commit crimes in their company.
Dressing like a thug. Thug culture may work on the street but not in the business world. Some brothas can’t stop with the saggin pants and big shirts and go out and buy saggin slacks, and dress shirts that are too big for them. Letting clothes sag lets employers know that they’re not ready for prime-time.
Brothers you dress for where you want to go, not where you are currently. When you buy business clothes you have to buy a correct sized shirt slacks and tie.
Dressing like a Hood Rat. Some sistas think coming to work in low-cut blouses, short skirts, slinky dresses and skintight pants is the business. But what they don’t know is that it takes them out of the game. Again, these sistas like the brothas show an employer they’re not ready for prime time by dressing like they’re going to the club and not for work.
Again, Sistas, you dress for where you want to go, not where you are. When you buy dress clothes for work you have to buy skirts that go to the knee, slacks that drape across the legs, blouses that provide full coverage, and earrings no smaller than a quarter. You want an employer and clients looking at your face, not your body.
Be a Drug user or have a history of drug addiction. Drug users are notorious for being unreliable. Which is why employers avoid them like disease. What most brothers don’t understand is that even the most casual drug use like smoking weed on the weekends can show up on a drug test for a job six months to a year later.
Most businesses regularly test for drug use, especially in the case of new hires. And that weed some brothers and sisters like to smoke on the weekend will eventually show up in one of those tests. And when it does…there go the chances of getting that job.
Have a history of thefts on the job. Some brothers and sistas who manage to find jobs in places like retail like to take cases things off the truck and put them to the side for themselves or their friends. Or they like to order more merchandise than what is needed and skim off the top. They think they’re going to make a little extra cash selling stuff on the street in the neighborhood. What they don’t know is that they’re on the fast track to… a felony conviction.
What most brothers and sisters who work in retail or warehoused don’t know is that in this computer age is that every package is tracked. On top of it, most employers have digital cameras with hard drives connected to networks inside their stock rooms and the sales floors. So every action they take is being recorded and there’s a clear trail of evidence that can be used to prosecute a brotha if he decides to take something that isn’t his.
Have a history of unprofessional behavior. In White Supremacist America, it’s hard for a Black Man and a Black woman to get a job. And harder to keep it. And when irresponsible brothers do dumb stuff like coming into work late on a regular basis, being absent all the time, not showing up for work, and quitting after a week or two it makes it ruins their chances of finding work with another employer. Hopping from job to job gives a Black man a spotty work history and no real work experience.
Worse, it makes it that much harder for the next Black man or that Black woman to find a job at that employer. Having the previous brotha or sista reinforce all the racist stereotypes about Black people makes that employer not want to take a chance on a brother who could have been a decent worker.
Have a history of spoiled rotten™ Behavior. Some brothers and sistas expect the job to be like their house. When they’re told to do something by a supervisor they don’t like they have a tendency to throw a tempertantrum. And in those adult tantrums some will curse out a boss. Others will just refuse to do anything. And a few will just quit on the spot. Then they’ll put this employer down as a reference for another position they find out about their unprofessional behavior.
Brothers and sisters we already have one strike against us just for being Black. Adding extra strikes against yourself by doing dumb stuff only makes it that much harder for you to make a living in America. Don’t take yourself out of the game before you get a chance to play!