Brothas – Enough is Enough!

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Bookmark and Share Discuss This


By P.W. Brown

Selections for partnership had been in deliberation for the past month. Draper’s chances were as good as any of the others. Although from the sound of John’s tone, he wasn’t quite sure. As a manager, he’d been on the other side of the desk before. It was typical management technique—praise before the letdown.

John stroked his goatee. “I sat in on the briefing. The committee felt that your commitment to the company was… well, Uh…questionable.”

As Draper opened his mouth to defend himself, nothing came out. He couldn’t find the right words. John took advantage of Draper’s astonishment. “Wait. Before you say something, let me finish. It’s been noticed that you’ve been cutting back on traveling to clients’ sites. To be frank, you haven’t been putting in the hours like you used to. And I understand the situation with your wife. I told ‘em. In fact, in your defense, I put in a good word for you. I told ‘em you’re one of the best - a top-notch consultant. I was honest, too. I explained that you had some pressures at home, but that hadn’t gotten in your way. For some reason, it didn’t….”

“Come on, John. I deserve that partnership position. You said it yourself. If it wasn’t for me, the company wouldn’t be here today.” Draper, feeling his blood pressure rising, spoke with conviction. He never lost control with any of his bosses, a model consultant and true professional, but he couldn’t hold it back any longer. John wasn’t really to blame. He was just in the line of fire. “With the exception of a few others, I’m the only one here with a working spouse. My wife’s career is as important to her as mine is to me. We do a pretty good job of striking a fair balance in taking care our children and other family obligations, while still maintaining these high stressful jobs.” He said as he raised both arms in the air like a preacher praising the congregation.

John sat back in his chair. He let him vent. Although John had offered him several chances to take some time off, Draper never took it. “Look, Drae. There’s nothing I can do. If I were on the committee, you would’ve gotten my vote, but even that’s only one out of eight. My advice is to talk to Alea and tell her you need to put your best foot forward over the next six months, so you can gain the board’s confidence.” The look in Draper’s eyes was that of a lion before pouncing on its prey. He wanted to leap from his chair and backhand him, but that would only give the company an excuse to fire him.  He imagined the headlines would read:

And another workplace violent crime occurred today, when an employee at Williams Consulting manhandled his boss after being turned down for a promotion.

“That’s bull@#$A%!” Draper said. “Are you saying I have to choose between my family and my job?”

“Drae, you know me better than that. My point is…you and Alea have to make some compromises if you want to get the nod next fall. After that, you can do what you want.”

Draper reluctantly nodded, though he still felt disgusted and irritated. In his mind, he had already pistol whipped John, and he didn’t want to see that acted out—or say something he’d regret later. He shut the door without saying another word.

It was two o’clock. He couldn’t stay at the office any longer. He cleaned his desk, grabbed his briefcase, and walked out. He replayed the conversation in his mind as he strolled past the metro station.  John’s attitude and tone made him even angrier.

As a white man, he doesn’t get it, Draper thought. In today’s work environment, a black man can work all day long among colleagues who strive for a common goal. When the work hat comes off, the bond disappears. Off the field, a large percentage of African-Americans have totally different interests than their white counterparts. It’s like there’s a wall between us. And this barrier can be especially annoying when we’re trying to obtain membership in the all-exclusive Corporate Club.

From a male’s perspective, it’s plausible for white men to perform at a mediocre level and still be considered for partner or vice president because of their inherent membership in the club. Black men just don’t have that luxury. I don’t think there’s been a time when more than three or four blacks have been at a mid-level management meeting. Any level higher, the odds are I’m the only one in the room. Although work is a way of life, and accomplishing the task at hand is the main concern, some days it’s downright depressing to look around and realize there’s no one to relate to, to understand what it feels like to walk down the street and watch women clutch their purses tighter or even cross the street to avoid passing a black man. For us, membership in the club has to be earned. Every second of the day, we have to perform above and beyond the norm. Every project I undertake, I feel like I’m being overly managed. It’s like living life on a tightrope.

Enough is enough job performance should speak for itself…

PW Brown is a profile writer for emPower magazine. The article is an excerpt from his published novel, DRAPER'S PASSION. He can be reached at [email protected] and more information on his book can be found at

Add a Comment   ::   View Comments