Cake is meant to be eaten.........
I’ve never liked the saying, “You can’t have your cake and eat it, too.” While I understand what the speaker is attempting to communicate, this pessimistic notion can feel demoralizing. What’s the point in having access to my dessert but not being able to enjoy it? What’s worse, I believe many black women have subconsciously succumbed to this adage instead of adamantly pushing back against it.
What do I mean?
In the professional arena, we’ve been socialized to believe there are non-negotiables that accompany elevated positions. For instance, there’s the thought that success requires you to put work above all else; that includes your health and your family. After all, that’s the price you pay when you achieve the title you’ve been working towards. In other words, “You can’t have your cake and eat it too.”
I’m here to tell you: EAT THE CAKE!
There are cases where our majority counterparts have not only achieved these coveted roles, but they did it while maintaining a life beyond their desks. I believe this is possible by implementing these 3 tactics:
Set YOUR non-negotiables
Don’t feel like you must accept the status quo. If the expectations presented to you don’t jive with your beliefs and core values, don’t budge. You decide what you’re willing to budge on and what’s not up for debate.
Communicate your expectations upfront
The keywords in this phrase are “upfront.” Too often we go into jobs and circumstances with expectations in mind we fail to share those on the front end. It’s not until someone violates the expectation or asks something of us that is contrary that we decide to verbalize what’s been sitting in our heads. Let’s do everyone a favor and be open at the onset so we’re all on the same page.
Do Not Settle!
What happens when you’ve set your non-negotiables and you’ve communicated your expectations, but someone still crosses the line? As women, we can feel pressured to lower our standards because we feel it’s necessary to keep the peace or to get the promotion. Negative. Consider these words: “What you permit, you promote. What you allow, you encourage. What you condone, you own. What you tolerate, you deserve.” Stand your ground and set your own precedence. Not just for yourself but for the other black women who will follow in your footsteps.
So, go ahead. Cut you the biggest slice of cake and enjoy every crumb.