Friday, September 30, 2011
People of Honor
This week was a very keen reminder of a scence from the movie Men of Honor, a story about the first Black Navy Diver. If you're ever seen the movie, you know it's a wonderful story but sad commentary on how directly racism effected the career choices of Black folks in the 1940's, espeically those in the military. And as much as I'd like to say things have changed, I really can't say that at all which is why I always have a very difficult time encouraging mimoirty students to enter career fields where they're not well represented.
Of course, the incident I'm referring to at work involves the interview killer. And the scene I'm referring to in the movie is the one where the main character played by Cuba Godding Jr. is many feet under bone chilling water and has to assemble a tool while there, wearing a 100 pound diving unit. After he has had a few minutes to get situated under water, a bag with tools and the parts that make up the more complex tool is lowered to him and he has the difficult task of putting it together in a certain amount of time. In some freezing cold water!!! The problem occurs when his bag is cut just before it's lowered into the water (NOT part of the test!!!), which then requires he search the bottom of a muddy body of water for the tools and the parts to make the bigger assembly. IN DARK COLD WATER!!!!
Unfortunately, he almost almost dies from hypothermia trying to put the complex tool together, but he does it knowing that he'll be kicked out of diving school if he doesn't. And that's exactly what the interview killer is doing to me, making it extrememly dificult to do my job by purposely not giving me what I need to get my job done. For example, I tell her I'm doing IHC which requires charged slides and what does she give me, uncharged slides. I tell her I need 10 images from her database, she gives me 6 and I have to scour 283 pages of images to find what I need. I tell her I need a kidney cancer tissue block to use as a positive control, she gives me normal then pretends to act suprised when my stains don't work. Now the word is that she's extrememly intimidated by my skill level and work ethic. Whatever! Personally, I think anyone who would work for a company 15+ years yet be too lazy to get a BS degree that the company would have paid for is IMHO, a royal idiot!
Now I wish I could say this is the first time I've ever been in this situation either at work or in school, but it isn't. In fact, I'm an expert in dealing with this and overcoming being set up to fail, is a skill I've mastered. But I do have to admit that at age 45, I'm sick as hell with dealing with it.
Moving on, this was a VERY productive week at work for me obstacles aside, and I also realize that for the most part, I work around a pretty cool and smart group of Scientists. And THAT, along with the other positives of this gig are what I'm going to do my best to focus on!