From The Melanin Man:
It’s been about four months since the incident I went through in reference to my endeavors to sit for the Professional Engineering exam, which I discussed in detail in Having a Moment- Black is Not Valid (Part 1). Alot has happened in that time frame from a personal perspective. I had planned a followup even before I posted Part 1, wanting Part 2 posted no more than a week after Part 1. I had many, many premises and ideas I could have gone with (that would have been good!) just to have Part 2 posted within that time frame. I put it on the back-burner in lieu of other tasks (i.e. my memoir), and I totally forgotten about it.
But I’m glad I did.
Recent developments and experiences in my life have given Part 2 new life, and I feel it is the perfect time to post it.
If you remember, for those of you who have read Part 1, I was denied the opportunity to sit for the Professional Engineering (PE) license in Alabama, due to the “insufficient experience” I received through my employer, an small Black civil engineering consultant firm. I detailed my feelings and thoughts thoroughly on the fact that Blacks, no matter the career, must be validated and approved through the lens of white supremacy in some capacity before, recalling The Jeffersons theme song, “move on up!”
It seemed following that unfortunate experience I was done, so to speak. Not that I couldn’t continue working in the field, more than likely change employers, and get the remaining 18 months I needed to sit for the PE exam. Deep down, though, I didn’t want to play that game. I believed my previous work experience was, is, valid and should have been afforded the opportunity to take the exam, in spite of the fact I had no references of the Caucasian persuasion to give me the seal of approval to their fellow brethren who dominate the Board.
“Why must I be validated even though I fulfilled their requirements?” I asked myself.
Tough titty! It’s their system, their rules. Deal with it, my subconscious responded.
I was exploring the possibility of giving up civil engineering. It wasn’t just because of being to denied to take the exam either. In the last four years though, I never got any bite from other companies in my field to hire me when I would apply from time to time. The incident with the Board was just the straw that broke the camel’s back.
Maybe I wasn’t cut out for this engineering thing, I would think time to time. Plus, I knew I had more to offer besides practicing civil engineering. Undergoing my transformation, I realized that working in the civil engineering field was now only an option amongst the many skills/talents I had but neglected to develop in my adolescence (e.g. writing.)
At the same time, I have a family to take of even if my wife (whose in the eight months of medical residency, thank goodness!) can support me and my daughters without financial assistance from me.
What if she has to stop working for whatever reason? WHOSE gonna have to pick up the slack???
My girls are getting older and smarter by the day, and I’m realizing they don’t need me like they used to as newborns and budding toddlers ( I’m boohooing inside!!!) Plus, for any man’s mental and spiritual stability, especially Black Melanin-Dominant men, it’s IMPERATIVE that he knows that he has the ability to take care of himself and family in a financial capacity. And at this current stage in my life, my degree and background in civil engineering is my most stable and feasible option to do just that.
I just wasn’t getting any bites from other companies who had the ability to pay me a living wage! It got to the point where I was entertaining the idea of truck driving to accomplish this. Then out of nowhere, the “perfect” opportunity, within my field no doubt, fell flat in my lap.
A recruiter came across an old resume of mine I had posted on her company’s website a couple years prior. She had matched it with a job opening for a large consultant firm (albeit majority ran by those of the Caucasian, European flavor of course), in conjunction with the Georgia DOT, that offered everything that I wanted:
-an opportunity to work with the Georgia DOT located smack-dabbed in Downtown Atlanta,
–the opportunity to be a part of a roadway design team…
and last but not least…
…a paying salary!!! And a decent one at that! I threw my name in the hat, and needless to say, the firm and the DOT representative I interviewed were thoroughly impressed with me and the skills I brought to the table and…
…you know the rest. It is on a six-month to hire contract, so I have to come correct to stay on a permanent basis.
Life is funny. As I kid from Mobile, Alabama, it was my ambition, my dream, to live and work in a city like Atlanta, building and designing highways and byways with/for the DOT. After everything I’ve been through, to almost succumb to the idea of giving up that dream, I making another step toward that reality. I still in shock.
I’m a little disappointed. If any of you are familiar with the new me or have read What Sparked My Transformation series, as mentioned a moment ago, I am not the same as I once was in the past. Besides the trying task of dropping over 100 pounds, I have become whole within myself like never before.
I eat the foods that are natural and nutritious to my temple when necessary. I have become disengaged from the hoopla of this material paradigm, choosing to seek what is actually real and THE TRUTH! And now more than ever I have an insatiable love for my Black Melanin-Dominant skin, and my Black Melanin-Dominant peoples, no matter their lot in this life…
…which is why it breaks my heart to leave my employer and the only firm I’ve been associated with for the last seven years.
I’ve learned alot from the founder/my supervisor (aptly named Terry in my memoir), professionally and personally, during my association with his firm. I am indeed very grateful to him. I entered in the beginning stages of this budding black-owned business, and was excited with the potential it could reach. Long story short, (this part is mentioned in the Transformation series and my memoir, which hopefully will be published sometime next year) the firm hit some pretty big speed bumps and it has taken longer than expected to get back on its feet. I stayed attached to the firm, probably longer than I should have from a professional standpoint, on little to no pay, hoping that fortunes would turn back promising once more.
This is a Black civil engineering firm, one of the very few of its kind in this country I’m pretty sure. At times I waffled back in forth with leaving the firm, knowing I had a wife in medical school and two newborn daughters to care for. Yet at the same time, I wanted to fight through the fire with my supervisor Terry. I didn’t want to quit on him or the firm either. Unbelievably, my wife was supportive no matter what direction I chose to walk and I am truly thankful for her being understanding (I love you so much, babe!)
Finally, and unfortunately to some degree, some time after the Board’s decision, it occurred to me that the firm possibly may never reach its true potential. I began to think this in part that Terry began to lack a clear vision and plan for the firm, taking projects on a whim to make ends meet without a certified guarantee that we’d get paid. The other reason is that the environment was/is of course currently constructed against true Black business advancement and sustainable success, especially in the STEM and construction fields. In my opinion it is a insult to be labelled a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) or Minority Business Enterprise (MBE), to settle for the scraps from the larger white, Caucasian firms and contractors who basically have a monopoly on the system because they practically created it that way.
Damn, white supremacy.
But on a whole as a people, that’s what we have resolved ourselves to accepting. And regardless if we owned a business or not, all in all, we’re still perpetuating a existence that is ABNORMAL to our TRUE NATURE. We have no voice, no unity, no true vision collectively as a people. The majority are just doing what we have to do to survive. If we only knew our TRUE HISTORY, maybe, just maybe, things will change for the better. We’ll decide that this current parasitic paradigm is not for us and we’ll seek to destroy it for good. And I believe at some point in the distant, or maybe near, future that will happen.
But I know I have to take care of my own personal affairs. Ultimately it is my responsibility to take care of my family at the end of the day. I wasn’t able to do that working for Terry, and like so many other of my ilk have said…
“I gotta to do what gotta do.”
But trust, I will continue to do my part to educate my Black brothers and sisters through my blog and other means necessary so one day our current reality can truly change. Besides, I don’t envision myself continuing in the engineering field exclusively too much longer; I am just taking advantage of an opportunity to fulfill this childhood dream of mine. I have bigger ideas and plans that are more beneficial to my newfound goal of freeing the physical, mental, and spiritual shackles from my people.
And if I was able to visualize myself at a young age becoming a civil engineer designing highways and byways, I’m pretty sure I can do the same with
…possibly owning a farmers market selling reasonably-priced healthy foods grown from my farm to the peoples I wish to help…
Or starting a publishing company that promotes authors and material who seek to enlighten the Black Melanin-Dominant masses…
Or…I have countless ideas. I’m just vetting a few of them.
I truly understand that dreams can come true if you set your MIND TO IT!
I DREAM OF A RETURN TRUE BLACK MELANIN-DOMINANT GLORY!!!
Let’s make it happen, fam!
Peace and Love to my melanated family,
The Melanin Man