January 7, 2007
My Virtual White American Bosses
When the government agency called last week with the emergency order, they begged me to try to convince my hierarchy in the US to allow us to deliver. I told them I would see what I could do but that given all the problems we have had with collecting from clients in this country, it might be difficult. Of course, I have no hierarchy or let's say that I am the hierarchy. But as a Black African woman in the world of technology, I am often faced with similar situations. No matter what my business card says, I cannot possibly be the boss. I try to use it to my advantage as often as I can. In the case of the government agency, our bosses were putting "tremendous pressure" on us to get immediate payment, if not, they would cancel the order and there was nothing I could do. "You know how Americans are. They don't understand all these administrative hurdles." I even got one of my employees in the US to send an email threatening us for having accepted the order... It actually worked. Where payment generally takes 60-90 days, the payment order is ready and we will get paid next week. Never could I have accomplished this without my virtual White American bosses.