I just finished Lean In- the NY Times Bestselling book by Sheryl Sandberg. This was a great book. Sandberg is the COO for Facebook and she writes very candidly about the perils and promise of her career that started with Google and has taken off at Facebook. Although a lot of what was in the book may not have related to me as an African American women, (because historically we have had less of a choice about whether or not to enter the workforce and the implications of what that means for our families is vastly different than it is for white women) this book still helped to frame for me some things that are relevant for me at this point in my career.
As far as being a lawyer is concerned, I am taking a much needed hiatus. My last three year divorce case just wiped me out. However, I am committed to making enough money as a lawyer that I can afford to keep my license current and take the continuing legal education credits necessary biannually. Rather than continue to represent clients in contentious divorce cases, my thought is that I revamp my legal practice to focus solely on mediation and negotiation. I will only do divorces, child support and child custody cases for couples who are at a point that they want to sit down and work out an amicable arrangement that is in the best interest of one another. The spitefulness and bitterness of traditional divorces is just too stressful. I thought for many years that I would allow my license to lapse. However, I am very proud of becoming an Attorney. And should I ever get a call that I needed to serve my country (or Oprah for that matter) as legal counsel, I would want to be ready!
Community Health Educator:
I love educating women about how to be healthy. This is especially an issue for African American women who are dying at epidemic rates from preventable diseases. This is my calling. This is my life's work. I want to write and publish more papers over the next year and also speak more in Ohio and around the country on the benefit of social and emotional support during pregnancy on preventing poor birth outcomes. I also want to become more of a support for the women who work on my team. Sandberg pointed out how contentious the work environment can be and certainly it is not always easy dealing with different people who have different personalities, however, I have a gift for being able to deal with everyone and I want to utilize that to prevent isolation among the people at my job. I will continue to mentor the women in my program, Moms2B, and also attempt to motivate women to continue their education and employment, in essence taking the principals of Lean In and paying it forward.
I was in 5th Grade writing about Unicorns in my journal when I decided I wanted to be a writer. I was in Ms. S's class at Indianola Informal Elementary. I still have that journal. I love writing. It is so therapeutic. I also love reading. I have not been reading or writing for the past few years. I tend to be the kind of person who writes more when I am upset or going through because I NEED to write during those times. It is much harder for me to write when I am happy or when things are stable. If you read my diaries, you would think my life it horrible because all you'd see are tear stained pages. It is much more difficult for me to pick up the pen during the good time. so my goal for this year is to write. I have so many projects on my computer that are started so my goal is to start a writing collective, write consistently, relaunch my Love Letters book and work on my children's book and my Love Stories Book. I also want to finish the research on my Granny's book. I am so excited. Just like at the Dead Sea, I am the only thing holding me back from making a successful livelihood as a writer. I will continue to write and treat it as a career, not a hobby.
I'm not sure where I want to go with my music. I love to rap and I'm sure that I will be rapping all the way until I'm elderly. It is part of who I am. I rarely get motivated to write rhymes these days but my girls have been talking about getting in the studio and writing and performing. We will see how that goes. For right now I have a lot of old material that I can polish up and release. My Black Girl Song books all have CDs/albums (both those terms seem obsolete in the age of Apple Music and Tidal) to accompany them. I don't have any plans or expectations but I am open to whatever happens.
I'm ready. This is a great year. 2015 was about getting my home life together to support my career and public life. I think that has happened (still in progress) so I am ready to venture out into more areas and see where they take me. In addition to the above ventures, I will also continue to support my husband in his locksmith and property management business and I will continue to teach and learn (earning my EdD in a few years). What are your professional goals and what are you doing this year to move towards those goals? Share with me!