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Black Conscious

Black At Work: Stop Asking Me How Bad Do I Need The Hours?

Black At Work provides real world narratives of Black bodies in the work place. 
Each story shares the experiences, challenges and triumphs of our identity. 
To share your story email info@brokeblackbougie.com with 
the subject line Black At Work Submission.

Working in the not-for-profit sector is nothing short of intriguing. It’s excellent when you work in advocacy but, it requires tough skin. Back in the day, I was often told, "when you are starting in a non-for-profit don’t work for the money."

The money will come, maybe just not with an entry-level position. That’s okay if you are lucky enough to land an entry-level job with a good salary, kudos to you! However, for those who do start at the entry level, serve as interns or fellows they may be working with a limited number of hours, benefits, vacation time, etc. In these scenarios, I can almost bet someone is stretchhhhhhhhhhhing their paycheck.

So, when the office closes early for the holidays or the head boss tells folks to “close up shop” your face may scream NOOOOOOOOOOO.

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Whether your hours are cut, or the only time you may be allowed to stay in the office is when a full-time staffer is present (yes these rules exist at some establishments) your livelihood is impacted.

For the full-time employee who is eager to go home early instead of ensuring their “insert non-exempt position” can get their hours in, they may ask the cringe-worthy, but a straightforward question: Hey, how bad do you need the hours?

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I remember when this happened to me. It was the month of December, holiday season and I was trying to get my coins in order not to begin the New Year BROOOOOOOOOOOOOOKE. I was not in the holiday spirit, nor was I feeling geeked about going on vacation because I was in grind mode. If I remember correctly that December was rough because the office was consistently closing down and as a student employee I wasn’t a full-time staffer.

I also was only allowed to work a maximum number of hours each week. So let’s say if I maxed my hours working Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, the rest of the week I was off. Miss a day or two because the office was closed, I couldn’t go over that maximum number of hours the following week to make up time.

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On one gloomy Tuesday when it was just one full-time staffer and me in the office, I was popped the question. My co-worker was interested in leaving work early and wanted to see how bad I "needed" the hours to decide whether or not he would leave early.

I wanted to tell him:

"As bad as you need to breathe."

"It must be nice to make $140,000 a year and not be a broke grad student."

"My rent is due on Friday, I’ll have about $0.10 until then." (My sarcasm is crazy.)

"Ohhhhh, you don’t want to stay an extra hour to support the intern in the office, FINNNNNNNE."

"Black women make $0.67 on the dollar to White men, you as a White man asking me how bad do I need the hours is the perfect example of the intersectionality between race, gender, and socio-economic status. Not to mention this goes against the diversity and inclusion our not-for-profit prides itself on."

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Instead, I remained cool and said “I need them. Is there a time you’re looking to leave?”

He turns with guilt and says “Well, you know, it’s just that I’m looking to leave early….how about 4:00 pm?”

At this moment I realized it was clear my plight and needs to him didn’t matter. On that note, I was ready to go, irritated and frustrated simply because if someone were to ask him, “how bad do you need the hours?” I’m sure he wouldn’t want food taken out of his mouth.

That day I left work early with an important note to self. Questions like how bad do I need the hours, only exacerbate the challenges of Black bodies in the workplace. As collectively in the workplace we work on issues relevant to the masses, we must assess how our individual behavior in the workplace may contribute the exact disparities we are seeking to disrupt. 

Nevertheless, the moment someone asks you "how bad do you need the hours?" remind them what needing it means.

Why Black Women Don’t Trust You

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It wasn’t uncommon to hear R. Kelly labeled as a “freak” or “pedophile” as a youngster. Even for those who knew of his rumored predatory nature and jammed along to his 90s classics. And that was the thing; we never stopped listening to him. 

I’ll admit, as a 90s R&B fan, R. Kelly songs were frequently played in rotation in my household. I remember my local radio station at the time 103.9 WDKX would have his songs playing in the Quiet Storm segment. At college parties, we jammed the night away to some of Kelly’s biggest hits. 

It was the typical relationship, most of us had regarding his artistry. Amongst the legacy that Kelly has had as a musician, conversations in my community would often highlight his talent first, over his predatory behavior.

We knew some shit wasn't right but we didn’t realize how DEEP that shit was or maybe it’s because, for some, we strategically chose to ignore it.

It was like many things we pick and choose to ignore. 

Perhaps it's the father or mother who is manipulative and abusive. 

The creepy brother, uncle or cousin who molested a family member or makes an individual feel uncomfortable — the aunt who doesn’t know the meaning of boundaries.

Although many are cognizant of their behavior, we still invite them to the cookout, force their victims to show their family some love and give hugs.  

This is precisely what watching Surviving R. Kelly reminded me of.

Surviving R. Kelly was an in-depth reminder of the sick twisted fantasy, of a man who continues to prey on and abuss Black women. He has never faced the demons of his past. No justice (not “settlements”) has been served for his victims. The abuse of R. Kelly and his victims is encompassed with money, power, and manipulation. With Black women the primary targets of Kelly’s behavior, no one cares to reprimand him. I guess that's a preference *insert eye roll here.

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After watching the series, I had many emotions, as a sexual assault survivor and Black woman examining the commentary many viewers had to offer. I realized that because of the conversations held, and the perception surrounding Black women, and their plights, this is why Black Women lack so much trust in our community. This Is Why Black Women Don’t Trust You. 

If the shoe fits YOU, wear it accordingly. 

You believe Black women can only be sexually assaulted unless we are aesthetically attractive. Tarana Burke, the founder of the #MeToo movement, was speaking in the docu-series, from her experience as a Sexual Assault Survivor. She provided commentary about how manipulative abusers operate and what R. Kelly as an artist represents in Black Culture. A Black man screenshotted footage of Burke speaking with the caption alluding to that Burke was too ugly to be touch by R.Kelly, unfortunately it went viral. It was one of the most dehumanizing to witness. Burke was speaking on behalf of her experience as a survivor, and it was torn to shreds because she was labeled as too ugly to be touched by Kelly. We don’t trust you because our pain and struggle are only valid if we look appealing to you. #DISPICABLEYOU

You think it’s the survivor's fault. You blame the women for the experience instead of the predator. “Well, they should have known.” “Their young ass had no business being around him.” “You know young girls, like old men.” This is precisely why we can’t come to you and be open about our experiences; you blame us.

You think Surviving R.Kelly merely is about people trying to Bring the Black man down. Yes. Black people and their narratives are treated differently in the lens of the media in comparison to Whites. In this case, the truth is bitter. Have you not assessed the validity of the stories shared in the docu-series? Or is that you can’t separate the artistry from the Monster? I mean, if it was your family would you still be stepping in the name of the predator. If you want to say bring him down we bring them all down, hell, Robert Kelly, every other predator like him can all burn. 

Black women are devalued, and you’re a part of the problem. Black women go to the bat for Black Lives periodt. The moment a Black woman says “this experienced happened to me, there is EVIDENCE and you don’t care about it, stop claiming you give a fuck about Black people until you have more remorse for the women who bring life into your community. Black boy dies, and Black girls scream HELP. US. Black girls dies, and Black boys and some “sistas” say WHAT. DID. YOU. DO? I’m honestly scared for your family.

This conversation has left a big ass spotlight on the work we need to do within to strengthen our community, love and support our Black women survivors and most importantly listen to them. Our liberation depends on it. 

7 Money-Saving Tips To Try This Year

No this is not a get rich quick scheme for saving money. If you entered the New Year with a bag half-way empty, this post might be useful to you. The New Year can be particularly brutal for those who are trying to figure out how to keep their coins in check. These 7 money saving tips below are sure to be useful for you this year.

Try A ‘No Spend Money Challenge’

Ever heard of a no spend month, week, or season? No spend challenges are the perfect detox for individuals looking to save. The great thing about this challenge is you can determine the length of the detox as well as your intended financial goals. To prepare for a Challenge like this, you may want to ensure you have funds for your upcoming expenses before you begin the challenge. Although No Spend Challenges can be scary, they teach you restraint, commitment and give you power over your finances.

Say No

Do you feel pressured to attend every function you are invited to? Is your inability to say no impacting your finances? It’s about time you learn to tell No. to the No. No. No. No. The best thing about saying no is that it's a complete sentence. Not only is it empowering to say no but, your wallet will appreciate it too.

Learn A New Recipe 

Cooking can be hard. However, it’s cheaper to make a meal at home than to throw your money away at a restaurant. Can you imagine paying $12.00 for a B.L.T sandwich you can make at home? Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomatoes are cheap, and if you shop right, you can get these items for less than B.L.T sandwich price at a restaurant.

Sell A Few Items You No Longer Want 

Have a pair of shoes you only wore once, or those fly jeans you can no longer fit-why not sell them? If you don’t end up donating to these items, try selling them on places like eBay, and Poshmark.

Track Your Subscriptions 

If you’re like any human, I’m sure you have charges to subscriptions you may have forgotten. Maybe it's time you hit the cancel button. Is it me or do these subscriptions hit when your bank account funds are meager?

Have a Potluck  

Are you looking to save funds on food? Try having a potluck with your friends! Potlucks are a great way to learn a new recipe and collect a coin through collectively contributing to a meal. Did I mention leftovers?

Use Cashback Apps

Who loves to spend money and get money back? Yeah, me too. Cash Back Apps like Ibotta and Spent are efficient for individuals who want to spend money and reap the rewards later. Although you may not get back all your funds back, these apps help to give cash back on everyday purchases from groceries to entertainment purchases.

Why Speaking Things Into Existence Is Not Enough

Have you ever realized how powerful your words are?  The tongue is powerful!

Like, let’s think about  "speaking things into existence." Whatever "things" may mean for you, the concept of speaking it, believing it and receiving it is focused on if we hypothesize a situation enough, it can come to fruition.

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“What I put into the universe, comes back to me.”

It’s the law of attraction, the concept that what you put into the universe, you will get back out.

For example, if you speak positive affirmations and positive thoughts, you will receive
p-o-s-i-t-i-v-i-t-y and if you are negative, then, well you guessed it.

It's as simple as claiming you want a job position and then you up and walk right into that job.

We love to say SPEAK IT INTO EXISTENCE as if the speaking it and letting the energy that rolls off our tongue is sufficient enough to bring our thoughts into actualization.

I think that’s ludicrous. This is not because I think it’s completely nonsensical to speak things into existence. What I mean is just because we expect something to happen by  “talking” and putting it out there doesn't mean it will automatically happen.

Speaking it into existence is merely not enough. We must not only talk but be willing to do the work to make our goals a reality. That requires us in the words of Migos to “walk it like we talk it.”

To speak it and figure out in what way can I make the things I want to happen a reality.

If it’s saving an emergency fund, what practical steps can I take to grow my fund? Will it be allocating small increments of money in my savings every pay period or me simply talking about how “I gotta get better at saving.”

If I want to nurture my body, will I actively seek wellness products that are GOOD for my temple or will I indulge in things I know my body reacts negatively to?

So many of us rely on the ideas that the universe will bring it to us. Oh, baby bring it all to me!

It’s an insult to expect the universe to do all the work while you just sit there, day dreammmmmmmming (cues in Jill Scott).

We can’t just speak things into the universe without being willing to put the work in. Part of the reason why being able to "speak it" is perceived as powerful is that it initiates a flame under us to create a life we desire.

The power of the tongue comes with great responsibility to fulfill our forecast.

So, the next time you say "I'm going to do XYZ and I'm speaking it into existence." Follow it up by saying  "here is how I'm going to accomplish it."

And remember sometimes succeeding at a task requires you to keep it between you and the universe so that you can speak, believe, DO, and receive .

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20 Something Rants: I'm Not Afraid to Remove Negative Energy

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I have decided there is nothing that can keep me tied down to negative energy.

I mean no friend, foe, family, job, organization, event, or supernatural being.

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I'd rather be isolated and reflecting on my self-growth than to be forced into spaces around people I decided no longer suit me.

I will not be bothered by people who claim “we don’t talk anymore” when a phone works both ways.

I will not be bothered by people who assume they “know” you when their last conversation with you was six months ago. A lot can change in that time frame.

Assumptions are killer.

I will not be bothered by people who try to force commitments, toxic relationships, and bad vibes down my throat because they too need "self-construction."  I will not allow their ideas of what it means to exist in my negative free world force me to open an unwanted door.

Return. To. Sender.

I don't have to be a part of anything that no longer fills my spirit. For some people, that may be hard for them to understand because some are fueled by holding on to a ball of confusion #MESSAGE.

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Some individuals seek negativity because it is the only way they have remained current in their lives. Positivity is foreign to them.

As the great Joey Badass once said:

"Truth is, if it ain't real, I don't feel it. If it doesn't hit my spirit, I don't get near it · And that's point blank period".

Shoot, to the window, to the walls as long as the f*ckery passes me I’m good.

I’m not afraid of doing what makes me feel better and soothes my soul. At the end of my journey on earth, I have to be content with the way my soul will exit and that my friend is not contingent on the energy of anyone else other than the soul that exists in this body.

5 Apps to Organize Your Finances This Year

Apps don’t just have to drain your money or your time. If you want to get better at organizing your finances, this year, check out these five apps to help jump start your money goals. 

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Acorns is an investment app that focuses on investing spare change. With a new approach to an old school saving practice, Acorn rounds up purchases to linked credit and debit cards and invests it into your investment portfolio. Acorn is excellent for college students, and individuals who struggle to save. It’s a great app to get your feet wet for beginner investors. If you think you’ll automatically get rich by using this app, and investing small, think again. Personally, this app has been beneficial to me because there are no minimums to invest, it’s easy to use, and I don’t feel intimidated by learning as invest. Signing up for Acorns is relatively easy, one can sign up in four steps: 

  1. Signing up on the web or downloading the app for free from iTunes, Amazon or Google Play stores.
  2. Choose a Round Up account 
  3. Connect your checking account 
  4. Create an investment account (based on the account that is most fitting for you current needs) 


Formerly called Active Hours, Earnin is an app that provides alternatives to expensive payday loans. Realizing the struggle of people who have lived on a bi-weekly pay cycle, Earnin provides workers access to their money before pay-day.  Here is how the app works:

  1. You share details about where you bank and work. 
  2. Earnin uses your work location to note how long you’re at work. 
  3. When you cash out (based on your cash out limits), your earnings go straight into the bank. 

When you get paid a Direct Deposit, Earnin, deducts the amount of cash you cashed out. 

Its focus is on building a community of people who look out for each other, and giving people access to their funds when they need them. In my experience of Earnin, it has been helpful to assist me when I need access to my money in an emergency. I will admit, It's hard not to depend on the app when you are a struggling millennial. Although it has unique features to protect you against things like overdraft fees, Earnin should not substitute an Emergency Fund.

Every Dollar

Every Dollar helps to create a budget where every penny you earn is assigned to your budget category. This app takes the zero-based dollar budget approach where your income minus all your expenses equals ZERO. Every dollar has a function, including the dollars you allocate to your savings. This budgeting tactic is useful for me because it prevents me from wasting coins when I have money left over and feel the need to get into a spending frenzy. Zero-based budgeting is not for everyone. It can be time-consuming to allocate every dollar but useful if you’re an individual who needs to see and assign where every dollar in your life.


I bet you weren’t expecting to see a Consumer reporting agency here, but, hear me out. Experian provides a monthly overview of your Credit Summary, Credit Reports and FICO Score from all 3 Credit Bureaus. You not only have access to your credit score rating but the ingredients that make up your number. This information is precious because they also provide an action plan and score simulator to assist you in reaching your credit goals. Although it cost $24.99 a month, I receive tons of benefits and know that the cost is worth it because I’m investing in a better financial future. Plus, I’m not shocked about my credit score.

True Bill 

This app has been beneficial in providing me with an overview of my spending habits. By using my data to create graphs that visually help me see how much I’ve spent, where I need to improve and examining my spending habits from month-to-month, I can see what "holes" exist in my financial habits. 

My favorite tool provided by this app are the spending reports. Each month, the spending reports layouts my expenses and income. I can look at bar graphs, numbers, and a spending breakdown. Here, I can see what areas I've frequently spent my funds, my most significant purchases, fees, and interest. 

I can also organize my purchases if I need to. However, because the interface is user-friendly and, usually categorizes my purchases correctly, I don't have to consistency categorize my spending categories.

Imagine if you’d started saving an extra $100 this next month? Or, saved $5K in one year, using apps to help you achieve your goals? Although it’s hard to imagine, I believe its D-O-A-B-L-E.

Take a moment see what app may be useful to you this year. What are you waiting for? Go and start saving getting your coins together, now is the time to stack.