Good Networking Skills Are Not Enough (And Other Decolonial Career Lessons from Gabrielle Union)

Healing stories

A few weeks ago while in South Africa on holiday, every time I passed by a bookstore I stopped to check if they had a copy of  “We’re Going to Need More Wine” by Gabrielle Union. But from Johannesburg to Cape Town, the book was sold out. And so, as soon as I was back in Canada, I wasted no time trying to find a copy of it in my local library.

The book did not disappoint. Union describes the relentless advocacy needed when you are trying to support children of colour through the school system, gives advice to get over heartbreak, explores why Hollywood is so white, is honest about the power differentials that arise when you have a different income from your partner,  describes the pain of miscarriage, talks about importance of investing in people and curating gatherings that matter,  shares why you need to find your voice, value yourself,  and be brave, and urges her readers to recognize that comparison and tearing people down does nothing for you in addition to many other topics.  Overall, Union covers a lot of ground in this book, and reading it felt like spending a weekend or several hours with a wise, honest friend who is not going to hold back in her advice. I loved it.

What  stuck with me the most from this book however, is Union’s reflections on career. Over the past two years, I’ve spoken to hundreds of students about building a career of meaningful work, and for me, this book was a reminder that when it comes to finding work as a person of colour, your experiences are not determined solely by what your resume looks like or how good your networking skills are. How employers make space for you and respond to you plays a role in your employment experiences too. And so, given that the average career book does not offer advice on how to navigate the job market as a racialized person, here are five take-aways from the book to help you both navigate the world of work as a racialized person or a co-conspirator trying to support the career journeys of others.

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Bloom Where You Are Planted (An Evening with Rupi Kaur in Vancouver)

Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about persistence.  So often the message we hear about persistence is that we just need to decide to keep going , and what is often missing from the conversation is how to regularly fill our well so that we have something to give to others and to the daily commitments we want to honour in our lives. 

When I take the time to pray calmly for example, prayer fills my well,  when I go for a walk and spend time spaces of greenery I rejuvenate my soul, and in November, rupi kaur’s Vancouver show for her new poetry collection “The Sun and the Flowers” was a source of life-giving water. 

Here are some of the things that I particularly appreciated about the night:

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The Perfect Mother-Daughter Read – Thoughts on “Before We Visit The Goddess” by Chitra Bannerjeee Divakaruni

A magnificent read.

A magnificent read.

I am battling the flu, and a couple of days ago I sat in bed and read Chitra Bannerjee Divakaruni’s AMAZING new book “Before We Visit the Goddess at one sitting. It’s an incredible book about the love that exists between mothers and daughters, the challenges of love, the vulnerability, fierceness and resilience of women, the challenges and solitude of immigration and the legacies we inherit from our mothers, grandmothers and greatgrandparents. It’s a magnificent book and one I highly highly recommend reading. Below are my #booktube reflections on the read.

My Five Favourite Books Featuring Muslim Female Characters

 

My 5 Favourite Books with Muslim Women Characters

My 5 Favourite Books with Muslim Women Characters

If you’ve ever wanted to read a book with amazing female Muslim characters and felt frustrated that you can’t find a good book to read, Episode 3 of the Seriously Planning ‪#‎booktube‬ show is for you. In this episode,I discuss my 5 favourite books featuring Muslim women. Please do watch, share and subscribe!

On “Sofia Khan is Not Obliged” and the Joy of Books With Muslim Characters

Sofia Khan is Not Obliged, by Ayisha Malik

Sofia Khan is Not Obliged, by Ayisha Malik

Greetings friends! Seriously Planning has a new YouTube show about books, and this week’s episode is a review of a new UK release called “Sofia Khan is Not Obliged by Ayisha Malik.”  In this episode I talk about how this book introduced to the Youtube book/reading community, why I started a channel,  the importance of good cover art, and discuss my favourite and not so favourite parts of this book. It’s a book that would be a fun holiday/relaxing read or a book that would be good company if you’re stuck in bed with the flu during Joburg’s cold cold winter. This book will only be available in Canada in October 2016 I believe (not sure about the US release date), but it is available here in Johannesburg. If you’re read this book, what are your thoughts? I’d love to hear from you.

You can find the video below.