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May 17, 2012

How To Rise Up In The Company

I'm always weary of giving advice for something I'm not quite qualified to give, but I definitely wanted to share some helpful tips on how to move up in your current position with your company or organization, as I've had mucho success with these few tactics put into action.  As I said in a previous post about my mother, she taught me life skills like essay writing, interview tips, how to dress for success and how to move up in your company or current position.  If there is anyone who can show you the ropes of how to move up quickly in a company, its her and I would like to share some of her many tips for success, along with a few I've picked up along the way, with you all, my BornTooBlog readers.

First things first, you MUST dress for success.  Always be mindful of the dress code and culture of your company, but dress UP, not down.  Just because your peers rock t-shirts and chucks does not mean you can't wear a dress shirt with khakis or slacks.  Yes, you might get teased or ridiculed for dressing better than your peers, but believe me when I say, the higher ups will take notice.  I'm sure we've all heard that saying, "Dress for the job you want, not the job you have."

Secondly, when you first begin your position, you must realize that the word "No" shouldn't be in your vocabulary for at least 6 months to a year or more.  Remember, this is your time to prove yourself.  Everyone is watching you and seeing if you will sink or swim, so never turn down a task because it is out of your purview or job description.  Managers love employees that are dependable and will accomplish a task that no one wanted, with a smile.  Look at it this way, if you are able to complete tasks that are above and beyond your call of duty, your boss will be even more inclined to give you tasks and responsibilities that are more and more distinguished, which can transition into a promotion.  Also, being a "complainer" is a no no.  No one wants to deal with a whistle blower so choose your battles wisely.

Never go the caddy route and talk or gossip with your peers.  Believe me, the higher ups know who are the troublemakers and who is spreading rumors or gossip.  These people are the last ones to get promoted.  Its always cool to have friends throughout the organization, as it can benefit you in many ways, but don't get labeled as a troublemaker just because you hang with one.  Be mindful of who you spend your time with and never vent to your peers about your boss or any other people in positions of power because it can and will come back to bite you.

Respect the chain of command at all times.  Going over someone's head to the wrong person in regards to a sticky issue can be career suicide.  Always be mindful of the proper channels to resolve issues, accomplish tasks and what to communicate to whom.  Confidentiality is of utmost importance in many organizations.  If your boss sees that you can keep a secret, he/she will likely tell you more and more secrets, which ultimately will increase your worth in the company.

Make yourself as indispensable as possible.  The more tasks you take on that nobody wants, the more you increase your job security.  If you are the only one with the code to an account or the only one who knows how to perform a certain task, your odds of getting canned lessen significantly.

Getting involved with the company outside of work can do wonders for relations between you and high-level managers.  If the CEO loves to play tennis or the company has a softball team and the top manager just so happens to be the coach or team captain, get involved and forge those relationships outside of work.  This type of initiative can help tremendously when you are up for a certain position against another colleague that might not have forged the same relationships that you have.  If push comes to shove, they will think of the person they are closest to, get along with, or share the same goals/mission for the company.

All of the aforementioned techniques are very important, but nothing screams "I want to move up in this company" more than being in the know about what positions are coming up for hire or restructuring and applying for those positions that you know you will be a great fit for.  If you want to move up, you have to be serious about where you want to go and how you want to get there.  If you know you would be good for a certain position, do your research about the requirements for that position and what skills, degrees or certifications are necessary to even be considered.

Being a self-advocate can be one of your greatest strengths.  Whenever necessary, let those in positions of power know what skills you have outside of your current position.  If you mentioned in passing that you have a background in marketing, managers will keep this in mind and pull you in when they need your expertise.  When this moment comes, it is truly your time to shine.

Applying these tactics are almost sure to lead you to upward mobility, but remember, your skills and what you bring to the table must be more valuable than the position you are currently in, in order to move up.  It takes time, dedication and steadfastness and also a company that encourages promoting from within.  Building and harnessing relationships with key individuals and managers is priceless on your quest to moving up the ladder.  Stay confident while consistently increasing your personal and professional worth.

Were any of the tips helpful to you?
Have you had experience with some of the techniques mentioned above? Did these tactics hurt or help you in your quest to move up in your company?
What advice would you add to the tips above?

May 15, 2012

L.A. Based All Female Hip Hop Collective: The (SIS)TEM Stakes Claim To The Throne

Ya'll aint ready! When I found out that there was an all female Hip Hop collective performing throughout Los Angeles a couple years ago I immediately got excited.  I mean its not as if I don't constantly hear people complaining about the lack of REAL female MCs in the game.  Whether you've heard of them or not, the fact is they are REAL female MCs and they go hard.  The (SIS)TEM is a collective of female emcees, producers, vocalist, and Djs, co-founded by Aceyalone, Badru, and DVS-1, from the legendary Project Blowed in Los Angeles.

Comprised of some of L.A.'s most official female lyricists that have been performing, touring and spitting for years, even long before they joined forces (a la the Justice League), The (SIS)TEM is full of hard-hitting, grab your nuts and AK flavor music that is reminiscent of the West Coast rap groups of the past.  DVS-1 had a vision for the group that did not include Nicki Minaj Barbie flows, nor did it require any help from the fellas.  All that was mandatory of the collective were hardcore, take no prisoner flows, surely to make their toughest male counterparts take notice.

What the L.A. Hip Hop scene needs now more than anything is unity and The (Sis)Tem proves that point by enlisting the Hip Hop powers of DVS-1, Oracle, Miss Bliss, Brandi Kane, JiJi Sweet, Kandi Cole and Dawn Gun on The Treatment Mixtape.  Each member has her own style and brand of flows sure to identify with every listener's musical wants and needs.  These women have paved their own path, silenced the critics and have gained the respect of legendary MCs like KRS-1 and Chubb Rock just to name a few, as well as garnering several awards and accolades from their esteemed peers in the industry.   Two of my personal favorites are Brandi Kane aka The Dopeman's Daughter and Queen Kandi Cole.  Not only because they are personal friends of mine, but also because I've been seeing them do this rap stuff for years and their rhymes personally speak to me.

In April of this year they released The Treatment Mixtape that boasts beats and lyrics that are for the most part, clearly West Coast bred, yet evolve to tell a story that will resonate across the country.  With tracks like "Gimme That", "Don't Judge Me" and "Mic Check", the sistas of The (SIS)TEM are sure to please even the most harsh critics that believe there is no female Hip Hop presence on the west side of the globe.

For a free download of The Treatment Mixtape go here:
Follow The (SIS)TEM on Twitter:!/TheSISTEM
and Facebook:

Here are a few pics of the ladies in action via their performances and tours across the country:

Happy Listening!!!!

Have you heard of The (SIS)TEM before?
What do you think about The Treatment Mixtape?
Would you like to see these ladies perform live?
Who is your favorite MC of the group?

May 14, 2012

A Tribute To My Mother

I know I am a day late, but I definitely wanted to honor my mother for all that she has done.  My mother, Lizzetta Lebeau Douglas, has always been an inspiration to me.  As far back as I can remember, I wanted to be just like her.  She was the most beautiful woman in the world to me and also the smartest.  I could always catch her smiling, laughing, dancing and singing.  Always vibrant and on point. Always striving to be a better person.

There are so many positive things about my personality and the person I am that I can contribute to her.  As I often say, "I get it from my mama." My class, style, confidence, big heart and passionate persona has so much to do with her and the person she raised me to be.  There are so many things that my mother taught me throughout my 32 years on this earth and it would only be right for me to reiterate a few pivotal points, just to let her know I was listening. *smile*

She always taught me to do the best in everything I did and to finish what I started.  She taught me humility, the importance of speaking your mind, yet always respecting elders and people of authority.  School was always a priority and ever since I could remember, I knew my destiny was college.  In fact, living in Mrs. Douglas' household, you really didn't have a choice on whether you were going to college.  The plans had already been drawn up for you.  She taught me how to cook, clean, and take care of myself and she always stressed the importance of good hygiene and looking my best each and every day.

Throughout the years I've learned that its not only what you "teach" your children, but the example that you set for them through your actions that often determines which way they will go in life.  Along with my mother's strong faith and spirituality, she not only talked the talk, but walked the walk.  My mother always strived for personal achievement in her career as she was never satisfied with the status quo.  Every position she took she worked long, hard hours, did the necessary studying and whatever else was required to move up.  She taught me how to conduct myself on interviews, how to study and take tests and how to dress for success.  She taught me that it is never too late to live out your dreams as she went back to school to complete her undergraduate degree years after dropping out of UCLA before we were born.

Family and friends were always a big part of our lives.  We grew up with so many uncles, aunts, cousins, friends of the family, etc., that there was never a lack of love in the home, nor a lack of excitement. I would watch my mother in awe as she would play hostess to her many guests.  My mother's magnetic personality drew lots of characters to our house, many of whom I have learned so much from and have impacted my life in a profound way.  If anything, my party girl spirit definitely comes from her.  She could whip up the food and the drinks, play the music and lure everyone to the dance floor so effortlessly.  I just remembered being a little girl and wanting to be like her in so many ways.

I am just so thankful that the Lord blessed me with a mother like mine.  She was always loving and forgiving and one of the most giving people I know.  She would literally give you the shirt off her back, although she may have 30 more at home, its always the thought that counts {lol}.  I just hope she knows how much she's inspired me and how grateful I am to have her in my life.  She also did much of the things I speak of, on her own with little to no help. I love her dearly and nothing can ever come between a mother and her daughter and nothing ever will.

Did you spend Mother's Day with your mother?
Do you  routinely thank your mother for everything she's done for you?
If you are a mother yourself, what do you most want your children to learn before they reach adulthood?

May 3, 2012

Snoop Dogg and Friends Document the 20th Anniversary of the L.A. Riots via Vh1's Rock Docs

Looking back 20 years ago to the week, all sorts of emotions came up when I watched VH1's latest Rock Docs film, Uprising: Hip Hop and The L.A. Riots, which premiered on May 1st on Vh1.  As West Coast representer Snoop Dogg narrated the documentary, he explained the social and economical triggers that led up to that fateful day on April 29, 1992, which lasted 4 days.  The documentary also highlighted how our new age civil rights leaders aka Hip Hop artists like KRS-1, Nas, Tupac, N.W.A. and Ice T, spoke on the growing rage and living conditions that were occurring in the ghetto prior to the uprising, yet why was no one listening? Instead they were trying to ban them from the airwaves because they were speaking the truth about the trials and tribulations that were occurring in the ghetto every day.

I was 11 years old and was not allowed to leave the house when all of the fires and looting were taking place.  53 people were left dead, while countless Los Angelenos were injured and billions of dollars of damage was done in the streets of South Los Angeles and abroad.  While watching the documentary I think a lot of myths about the riots were dispelled as they showed races other than African Americans looting and causing mayhem.  Furthermore, they also portrayed how many individuals who didn't even live in the area that came by to participate in the debauchery...SMH (Shaking My Head)

I understand the anger and rage that the people of my community felt on that day where the (4) LAPD Officers were acquitted for the brutal beating of Rodney King that was caught on videotape.  Seeing an injustice like that first hand changed my view of this country and the world I lived in forever.  However, the aftermath of the rage and violence left us with little to show for, other than a few pairs of Jordans, some electronic equipment, diapers, burned cars and buildings, and an infrastructure that would take years to rebuild.

I recall my parents taking us around on a tour of the devastation in the aftermath.  We rode around South Los Angeles and saw all of the destruction first hand for the first time and not from the news channel's camera lense or perspective.  Depression and activism followed shortly thereafter as black folks came together for what had seemed like the first time in my young life.

The documentary really brought some things to light that my young mind was not able to process at the time, yet in hindsight makes so much sense.  Hearing the story told from the eyes of the musically artistic heroes of then and now really gave me a new perspective on this tragic incident in our history.

Below are some pictures to remind us all of the devastation 20 years ago:

As the country is yet again polarized on incidents of brutality and the mistreatment of people of color, such as in the Trayvon Martin case, many people have alluded to the 1992 riots reoccurring, if his killer, George Zimmerman is acquitted.  Although it is not a situation of Police brutality, it shines the light on the realization that not much has changed when it comes to race relations and perceptions in this country, as well as, law enforcement's proclivity to protect their own, bury evidence and block the shade from tragedies such as Martin's unjust murder.  Regardless, I urge us all across the country to think twice before we burn our own communities down, again, in a fit of rage and violence, because as we look back to the worse riots in our country's history, it doesnt change things.
Check your local listings and the link below to see when the Rock Docs will air again on Vh1:
Were you old enough to live through and remember the L.A. riots of 1992?
Do you think anything has changed from then to now?
Do you think people will riot if George Zimmerman is acquitted?
Were you one of the ones looting and burning?
If we could respond differently then, what would you say we should've done?