With 10 years of work experience under my belt, I have had some really great jobs. I’ve also had some really bad ones. The bad ones share one thing in common: the absurd expectations that my colleagues and supervisors had of me as a Latina. If you are a Latina in the workplace, chances are you have experienced some of these things too.
1) Becoming the unofficial translator. Being a translator is a difficult job that requires the ability to move in and out of more than one language with skill. For those of us who don’t have the job title of translator, just because we can translate English and Spanish doesn’t mean that we should have to. Here are just a few reasons why a Latina might not want to be your translator:
- It’s not actually a part of her job description.
- She doesn’t have the extra time.
- A bilingual program makes everything twice as long for everyone.
- There’s an app for that.
- She might not even speak Spanish!
Plus, if you aren’t offering to pay her extra, you shouldn’t even ask.
2) Getting confused for the other Latina in the office. We don’t even look alike! Take the time to learn our names. And I shouldn’t even have to say that you should learn to pronounce them correctly.
3) Being greeted with kisses on the cheek from non-Latino male colleagues. If we aren’t family or besties, a handshake is what I expect at work. Creep!
4) Becoming the token for diversity. I once had a manager who wanted to publish his work under my name (alongside my picture) to make it more relatable to a “diverse” audience. He wanted me to hand over my identity for him to use as he pleased. I refused. I began writing and publishing my own articles for the organization as a result.
5) Keeping a different personality at work. I guarantee that only the smallest handful of my colleagues know that I can rap Cardi B’s hits. Even a smaller amount have seen me do it. The majority wouldn’t be able to imagine me being so “improper” or “unprofessional.” Don’t be fooled.
How many of these can you relate to? Share in the comments.