Is Your Foreign Name Keeping You From Getting a Job?

I’m reading Chimamanda’s novel Americanah and somewhere in chapter 30-something, her characters start talking about Obama’s election campaign.

It brought back memories of the early 2000’s in which people would ask “Is America ready for a black president?”

At the time, I thought that question was insane — a self-limiting belief for a nation to hold. That racism was so blatant and ubiquitous that it would prevent us from having a president darker than a paper lunch bag.

Why would you look so poorly on yourself, America? Why would you tell yourself something that doesn’t need to be true? And even if it is true, why should that stop you, America?

I almost didn’t apply the same logic to myself.

When I first graduated I was seeking work, but very specifically I was seeking PRN work. That meant that I would be called into work only on an “as-needed” basis. It’s typically less hours than working part-time. I wanted to have multiple PRN jobs to get a wide variety of experiences. As a dietitian, the job market was full of openings that were full time. I lounged at any chance to work part-time or PRN.

3 months went by and I was jobless. I was utterly depressed and didn’t know what to think of myself. Especially when it felt like half my classmates already had jobs, and two of them had jobs at the same places I applied to. I kept wanting to know what it meant about me.

I went online to rant and I was told “It’s your name”.

I thought (and posted) “No, it can’t be my name. Half my class also has foreign names and they got jobs right away.” “I work in a medical profession. Foreign-ness doesn’t matter in health care like other industries.”

But the well-intended comments went on. “It’s your name.” “Change your name to something less threatening.” “You know, Americans hate things they cannot pronounce.” “Your classmates may have foreign names, but I bet yours looks even more foreign.”

For a week, I actually let that get to me. I bought into it, somehow. I was desperate for an answer that made sense to me — so I latched on to the stupid name thing.

The problem was that having this psuedo-explanation didn’t help me feel any better. In fact, I felt 10 times WORSE. I stopped applying for jobs. I lost the vigor I once had.

Other friends came in for support, urging me to throw out this name-business. That it has nothing to do with my name. That some of them were employers and would look at my resume first BECAUSE my name was unique. I didn’t believe them. Nothing could make me believe them because then I’d be back to “Okay, then why do I feel like a failure? What other explanation is there?”

It wasn’t until I got called in for a series of successful interviews and finally landed (my first among a few others now) A JOB.

As more and more offers came into my e-mail inbox and voicemail, the lie (or — if it is true — an unproductive belief) I chose to believe shattered. I realized how useless believing that made me. “How many more job offers would be coming in now if I had kept going that week I let that thought put me into a paralyzing depression?”

I was ashamed that I had let OTHER PEOPLE’S negative beliefs get to me and limit myself. I threw it out like molded bread.

And learned of other reasons why the job prospects were looking slow in the beginning:

  • Lots of competition with other new dietitians in the same area
  • Sometimes companies realize they cannot afford hiring a new person
  • Hiring staff was using up the rest of their PTO and thusly, unresponsive
  • Competition between a new grad with 0 years experience vs. someone with 30 years experience
  • Some people became friends with the right people at the right time
  • I was NOT applying to full-time positions that would have been more willing to have a fresh graduate
  • etc, etc, multiitude of reasons that you may never really find out until you walk a day in the company’s shoes

Self-limiting beliefs, any thought in which you give yourself the reasons you cannot succeed at something, are powerful. And utterly unproductive. But I was able to rise above it and Barack Obama is our president.

//<3 Udo.

Natural Hair without the Wait

Natural Hair Extension

A few weekends ago, there was a Natural Hair expo here in Dallas, TX that really blew my mind. I learned that in the 90s that 80+% of black women used chemical relaxers in their hair. Today, in the 2010’s that number has dropped to 27%. Whoa. The natural hair movement has come back full force.

However, I remember even as late as 2014, it was a struggle for me to find hair extensions, weaves, or wigs that matched my hair texture. I was natural and the world knew it. But I wanted to be all #longhairdontcare. At the natural hair expo, I met the creators of some awesome brands. Check out this list below (hopefully in time for black friday and cyber monday ;D):

Her Given Hair

A photo posted by hergivenhair (@hergivenhair) on

This line is awesome. The hair textures truly look like our tight type 3 and type 4 hair texture (even us 4C chicks). Human hair. She sells weft hair, clip in hair, and CLOSURES (praise the lawd). However, I wish she sold wigs, too. However, I think this line has the best quality of kinky type 4 textures out there. http://hergivenhair.com

Kinky Curly Yaki

This line was the first human hair line I found that catered to our hair texture. They have more variety in that they have different textures of afro-textured straight hair, type 3 and type 4. Same options as HGH — weft hair, clip ins, and closures. Unfortunately, no pre-made wigs. http://kinkycurlyyaki.com

Heat Free Hair

This one is also a quality human hair company, just like the previous two. What makes this company stand out is that they… have… WIGS! However, the wigs are quite pricey. But if you’re a woman who must have quality, this is the place. http://heatfreehair.com

King Me Hair

Same deal here. Human hair. She also has wigs! Less expensive than Heat Free and they are full lace! Her wigs are totally on my wish list 😉 Plus, I love that the creator stays up to date with her youtube videos.  http://kingmehair.com

Finger Comber

A photo posted by Fingercomber (@fingercomber) on

This line is not human hair, unfortunately, but it has the largest variety of natural hair wigs I’ve ever seen (including kinky straight, so let me pause and snatch that boo up right now. So about that kinky straight life). I’ve actually bought a couple of wigs from them and it fools EVERYONE. http://fingercomber.com

Curl Kalon

This company sells pre-curled hair for crotchet. I first heard about this at a friend’s baby shower. One of her friends had the MOST AMAZING curls I’d ever seen. I was staring trying to figure out how she did it. Her hairdresser was there and gave me a link to this company. When they came to town, I snatched up my first few boxes and installed it. Stay tuned for a blog post/youtube video review. Let me just tell you up front, the compliments are never ending! This hair is a conversation starter everywhere I go. http://curlkalon.com

Honorable Mentions

The following are links to more natural textured hair websites I know of, but haven’t had any personal experiences with (either with the hair or the creators). But totally worth mentioning so you know they exist! And if you have any other additions, make sure you leave a comment so I can put it in this post! http://www.hautekinkyhair.com/ –http://mynaturalhairextensions.com

Quick Tip: Taking Care of Your Natural Extensions

Most of the companies I shared with you are 100% human hair. Which means you have to take care of it just like real, natural hair. I made the mistake of purchasing type 4C hair and treating it like synthetic. It was a huge, matted, knotted, got-to-cut-it-off mess! At the natural hair expo, I saw the creator of Obia Naturals, a fellow naija business girl who’s products support hair health and hair curl! Take care of your natural hair and the extensions with her products which you can buy at this link.

A photo posted by Obia (@obianaturalhair) on


A trial pack of the products are available at my amazon store, here. If you shop, I’ll earn a commission. :)

xoxo U. Happy Thanksgiving. Everyday alive is another chance to be thankful and be glad in it.

The Art of Taking a Break

Take a break.

I know it sounds so absurd, but you need one.

Take this blog post for example. Notice the complete abandon of proper SEO optimization or use of an eye-catching pinterest-worthy image. Note how many F’s are not given. Because I’m taking a break from doing all the “right things” bloggers “should” do.

Because I need to take a break from the things that are just not that important to me.

And I also need to take a break from the things that feel, at times, TOO important to me. And I highly recommend it for other ‘girls after college’.

I was driving myself insane

I graduated exactly 3 month ago. August 7th. Right after my “graduation”, I drove to my alma mater, Southern Methodist University and walked into the career center. “I graduated today and I need a job.” From day one, I hit the pavement looking for the perfect work situation for me — an ambitious master-degree level educated woman with the world at her finger tips.

I thought this would be easy. I was so so wrong. 3 months later, I landed the jobs I needed. But I was absolutely disheartened every. step. of. the. way.

Everyday, I prepared to have my heart and will broken in one way or another. But I kept going because I had a goal I loved more than my precious ego. And that can take a toll. So it is time for a break.

No more job applications. No more cover letters. I’m taking a break from something that was becoming TOO important to me — I wasn’t sleeping and I wasn’t eating. I was just obsessing over finding a job. I’m taking a break from several other things, as well. Because they are not important ENOUGH. Proper blogging techniques for this website is just not important enough anymore. Going on multiple dates, also on the back burner.

We are not merely resting on our laurels.

Rest is important. Just as your physical body needs a rest day from work outs to grow stronger and just like your mind needs sleep and rest in between study sessions to really learn information — you need a break.

How did I know I needed a break? And from what?

When I finally achieved some of my goal and I didn’t have the drive to push through the exhaustion anymore. When I focused on my ‘felt sense’ and responded to it honestly. When I was inspired by the other things in my life I had been ignoring. When my friend who’s been helping me with the job hunt concurred with “I was just about to tell you to go on a break”

What I’m saying is I knew I needed a break because

  • I had positive results and the motivation that helped me push through exhaustion was gone
  • I had a shift of priorities and other ideas that I felt were becoming more important than the previous priorities
  • I re-focused on what I want. Included how I wanted to feel. Right now, I want to feel like I’ve come back to life.
  • I had a support system who was able to look at me and my situation objectively and provide loving advice from that view point

Okay, we’ll take a break but — is it really okay?

 

Yes. It is okay. In fact, it is now a must for me. It is something I expect. Life ebbs and flows like this. Priorities, events, emotions — your life — comes and goes in seasons. In fact, I am putting this in my calendar so I can start tracking what my life’s natural cycle is like so I can plan for it.

Not convinced that it’s okay to just — not do things that you “could” or “should” do? Watch this gem.

So my friend, take a break.

Cordial blessing,

xoxo Udo

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