Growing up, I always knew that I was different, extraordinary, and destined for greatness due to my stubbornness. I was a rebel who hated rules. The thought of always answering to a boss and being under their control was like being in prison with no chance of escape. Since I hated confinement, the only answer was to fulfill my destiny and become my own boss, but I coped with my situation until that happened. Some workplaces are toxic, filled with politics, jealousy, and resentment. It’s almost impossible to excel beyond the debilitating limitations of others.
My breaking point came when on two occasions, I was verbally abused at work. I complained and expected an apology, but instead, I was humiliated in front of the entire team by my boss. He attacked me stating I had no talent for customer service. I was livid with this abuse in the workplace.
Regardless of gender or ethnicity, no employee should be treated in such an abusive manner. My employer was supposed to have my back and support me as a human being. I refused to put up with being disrespected by anyone or defeated by an employer’s unacceptable mistreatment. I had standards and integrity, even if they showed none. Sometimes, however, awesome gifts come in humiliating packages.
When I decided to live my dream of being an entrepreneur, I had no knowledge of the corrugated industry. I knew about boxes for storage and shipping, but that was the extent of my basic understanding. Being in this particular business was not something I was passionate about, but I knew being my own boss would bring me inner peace.
During my first week into training, a customer walked in inquiring about the new owner. He said to the staff that the new owner must be an old white man. When an employee pointed to me as the owner, his jaw dropped, and his blood left his body. The man was as white as a ghost, but I wasn’t offended at all.
As the new owner, I started meeting with sales associates and other owners from the local sheet plants and corrugated mills. This new endeavor was uncharted territory, not only as a woman, but as the only black woman in a man’s world, but I never felt intimated.
When I got a position as a warehouse manager at a previous company, the CEO was furious with my manager. The CEO felt I had no place in the warehouse because, in his mind, this was a man’s place. He started off by saying to me, “no offense, I have daughters, sisters, and a mother, but this position is not for a woman.” He had his opinion, but this didn’t bother me at all.
It was never my intention to break the glass ceiling in this industry or any other. I never put any limitations on who I am or what type of profession to pursue. I like being in a man’s world because it brings out my competitiveness. I shattered the glass with no boundaries of failure or intimidation. I have been fearless my entire professional life, and I refused to let anyone dictate my future.
Whatever your glass ceiling is that you’re trying to shatter, don’t be afraid to break through it. In the process, you might be building a house with a brighter future. Your dreams and achievements are possible, but you must be willing to take a risk. I am basking in the glory of my bravery.