You’ve probably heard that Gabrielle Union was recently fired from America’s Got Talent. Amongst a few other reasons, she was more than likely labeled as a trouble maker after reporting Jay Leno (Jay Leno!!) to the human resources department.
In my video commentary, I discuss how and why this was a major error in workplace politics. Human resources is generally toothless. It is in place to make sure the companies are in compliance with state and federal laws. They are not responsible for getting you hired, unless you’re applying to work in that actual department. They are charged with fielding candidates, but the decision happen at the executive level. What a good example? If the vice president of marketing meets someone on a plane and wants to hire her, that’s going to happen. Human resources can’t make such a call.
Instead of tattling to HR, a better (an more Machiavellian) way of getting things done is by creating strategic alliances with people who make the decisions. Once you have sufficiently “greased the wheels,” a few well-placed insinuations go a lot further than enlisting a tiger with no teeth.
People have criticized criticized Terry Crews for not going hard on the paint in defense of Gabrielle, who only said on Twitter, “You will be missed.” Julianne Hough gave the most non-controversial comment to the controversy, and said a whole paragraph of nothing:
“I would just say that – my goodness. I just believe and value at the highest regard that everybody has a voice and should be heard, first and foremost,” she said. “And then I believe that the paradigm of the workplace and how you do business and work with people now, it’s shifting, and I think that the people that really want to see change happen are going to authentically and positively… do that. And so that’s all I really have to say about that.”
Honestly, they’re just being smart and knows how to play the politics. Honestly, you can’t ask people who are at the same level as you are to go to bat for your cause and risk their own careers. It’s an unfair request and you should never, ever expect it.
Before you decide to take up any kind of crusade–whether on your own behalf or that of others–ask yourself if it is worth risking your career. If you answer is not a resounding YES, then the answer is always, always NO.
While Gabrielle Union is in no danger of becoming destitute over this event. She got millions in severance and is married to a man worth $95 million. This little kitty will land on her feet. However, the average black women is not so lucky. We lower, non-celestial beings have to navigate the politics and play the game–or else.
This is why I dedicated so much time to addressing workplace politics in The Pink Pill. It is absolutely essential to understand the machinations of corporate so you can maintain an upward trajectory in your career.
Christelyn Karazin is the creator of The Pink Pill and publisher of Beyond Black & White.