Style & Substance – Rampley & Co. – Pocket Squares

Because, for the discerning gentleman that appreciates a polished presentation, the true characterization of personal style is based upon the intimacy of detail. It is the thoughtful approach to coordinating the discreet sartorial elements that comprise one’s ensemble. The separation of thought is clear. There is a defined distinction between a deep consideration for one’s appearance and the act of merely selecting clothing from a nearby clothing basket. Subtle details grant the biggest differences in a gentleman’s outfit. The turquoise imbued shoelaces. The incredible softness of a cashmere necktie. The elaborate motif belonging to a silk pocket square with hand-rolled edges. Or, in other words, a pocket square from the Rampley & Co. collection.

Photo credit: Glen Palmer for The Gentlemen’s Standard

 

Founded with the guiding principles to offer eye-catching designs built on exemplary craftsmanship and superb materials; Rampley & Co. embraces the mission to bring British luxury to the worldwide marketplace. Partnering with prestigious museums, institutions, and artists; Rampley & Co. offers unique patterns and designs on premium fabrics such as linen, silk, and tweed. Because of its distinctive design, the best attribute of a Rampley & Co. pocket square is the varied look each fold presents when housed in the breast pocket.

Photo credit: Glen Palmer for The Gentlemen’s Standard

 

With its undisclosed details known only to the wearer, it is the aforementioned intimacy of detail that grants a gentleman the projection of sly confidence. That is what I desire the most – being proud of an artful ensemble. Trust, a well-coordinated outfit often exudes personality and charm. A silk pocket square adorned with a large hummingbird in the center with a smaller identical motif sprinkled throughout, well, this square screams nothing but personality. It’s light. It’s vibrant with color. And it’s large enough so it does not feel paltry in a gentleman’s breast pocket. The only downside: It’s going to cost you. Most times, being stylish does carry a monetary requirement – the scope of financial strain varying from gentleman to gentleman. A pocket square from Rampley & Co. will cost approximately between $64.00 and $97.00. I humbly suggest you take a look at their offerings, as their collection is quite striking.

Photo credit: Glen Palmer for The Gentlemen’s Standard

https://www.rampleyandco.com/

Lincoln Motor Company – Lincoln First Listen – NE-YO at Chene Park

Ne-Yo for Lincoln First Listen

 

The challenging life of being married with children – and yes, the challenges exist in abundance – does not afford the luxury of uninterrupted adult activities often. Nevertheless, when those precious opportunities reveal themselves to be seized, those precious opportunities cannot be wasted. And when that precious opportunity entails covering dual award-winning artists from your prime adult years, one would be insane to decline offer and not embrace the moment. Partnering with Lincoln Motor Company for the 6th installment of their Lincoln First Listen series, NE-YO- along with the incomparable Brandy, performed at the Chene Park Amphitheater – Detroit, Michigan July 20th for some sizzling summer tunes, both old and new material. And bonus: My beautiful wife Stephanie was also extended an invitation to join me for the event. Therfore, a gracious thank you to Randy L. Jones, APR, Director, Media Communications and Event Operations with UWG. And so, without any further delay, allow me to dive into the intimate details from the evening’s activities.

Photo credit: Glen Palmer for The Gentlemen’s Standard

 

The aforementioned, critically acclaimed music series, featuring the all-new 2018 Lincoln Navigator with brand partner NE-YO, is an amalgam of both quiet sophistication and impeccable style, representing the contemporary gentleman that appreciates understated elegance and inimitable grace. The event itself was a perfectly classy affair, commencing early evening with a VIP reception in the Lincoln Lounge. I was pleasantly surprised to see an old college classmate – Rajoielle Register – who is currently Head of Brand Strategy and Growth Audience Marketing for Ford Motor Company. And better still, I was also pleasantly surprised to see yet another former college classmate – Eniso Ngwenya – who is currently Body Interior Appearance Leader with Ford Motor Company. I am proud to see both of these dynamic women exemplifying success in their respective fields.

Enjoying a picturesque setting directly on the Detroit River; Stephanie and I were treated to some delicious hors d’oeuvres and cocktails which included roast beef sliders, lettuce chicken wraps, shrimp cocktail, stuffed mushrooms, chicken & waffles on a skewer, and Moët & Chandon for spirits. I had a simple glass of Sprite. It is very rare that I partake in an adult beverage; perhaps only on wedding anniversaries. But I digress, the location (adjacent to the main stage) was simply gorgeous with a small assembly of boats dropping anchor nearby to capture some tunes emanating from the main stage. And as good fortune would have it, under the ominous specter of thunderstorms, the final outcome was a beautiful evening with a soft breeze rolling off the river, resulting in a cool summer night that rivaled the hot performances to come.

Photo credit: Glen Palmer for The Gentlemen’s Standard

Photo credit: Glen Palmer for The Gentlemen’s Standard

Photo credit: Aaron J. for Lincoln Motor Co.

 

Keeping crowd engaged until Brandy was set to hit the stage, the DJ spun some classic R & B jams to elicit a slow build to the first musical act. After a reverent and passionate introduction from Local 4 News team reporter/anchor Evrod Cassimy, Brandy launched onto the stage with an energy that transported me back to late 1994. Performing her classic up-tempo tracks that had the crowd jumping to beloved slow jams that had bodies gently swaying, Brandy poured her all into her performance even though her voice was not 100%. Spoiler alert: Her vocals were not at full strength because she has been in the studio recording a new album! From engaging the audience with a funny story about winning her first Grammy to a heartening tribute to the late, great Whitney Houston (Brandy’s last album – Two Eleven – is a reference to her birthday, which is also the same day Houston passed away), the whole performance was steeped in nostalgia and emotion. She even unleashed her alter ego B Rocka and spit a few verses. Favorite moment of the night: Brandy singing and improvising her part from The Boy is Mine while the crowd recited the part for Monica. Classic. Simply classic. I am looking forward to her new material, as I have always loved her raspy, sweet vocals.

Photo credit: Aaron J. for Lincoln Motor Co.

 

After a brief intermission and trip back to the VIP Lincoln Lounge to replenish some fluids, it was time for the second performance to commence. Now, in my humble opinion, NE-YO is probably one of the more underrated live performers on the music scene. I had never watched a NE-YO performance live before, but it is apparent the influence Michael Jackson is prominent. Maybe I can chalk it up to the vegan diet he referenced, but wow, this man did not appear to fatigue at all. Promising to take us back to a period in time “when music was good”, he surely did not disappoint the crowd. All of the hits were on display. So Sick. Sexy Love. Miss Independent. Champagne Life. He also surprised the crowds with renditions of hits that some people probably did not realize he penned, such as hits Let Me Love You (Mario) and Irreplaceable (Beyoncé).

When he wasn’t treating the crowd to classic material, we were introduced to offerings from his seventh and new album  – Good Man (released June 2018). Representing aspirations that every gentleman strives to achieve, the album embraces the many of facets of being a loving husband, devoted father, and selfless servant to society. It is about growth and maturity. It is about self-reflection and honesty; being the model gentleman that one’s family and community deserves. It was truly an honor and blessing to be invited to cover this event, as I feel The Gentlemen’s Standard upholds those ideals. The entire evening was nothing short of spectacular, as a night out as an adult was a welcome change from potty watch, breaking up toddler fights, and cleaning up toys. However, true story, the very next day my daughter caught a nasty bug, so I was back to cleaning up the contents of her nauseated stomach and sleeping on the floor next to her bed to monitor her fever. Such is life. And note to self: I to step up my hat game come autumn because NE-YO has that on lock.

2018 Lincoln Navigator

Review – Zirh Platinum – Deep Clean Foaming Cleanser & PM Rescue

 

Sometimes, for a gentleman that works in management, desperate times beg for extreme desperate measures. Employment, especially when a gentleman is on a management team, is never straightforward. Because, no matter how simplistic a task may appear to be, the most influential variable that disrupts that very notion is the worker. Yes, the worker. Stating the painfully obvious: People can complicate matters, particularly when it involves a rudimentary function such as performing one’s job duties. It has been a few years since I stepped into my current role, and as I close in on 42 years of age, by all accounts I should look like a 90-year-old functioning alcoholic. Nevertheless, compared to some of my contemporaries, I look pretty good as I approach middle age. Wow, that last thought is frightening.

Now, it has been quite a long time since I have reviewed an offering from Zirh – approximately over three years in fact. Given my previous experiences with Zirh products, and the positive results yielded from its usage, I was very excited to receive an offer to sample a few grooming selections from their platinum collection – Deep Clean and PM Rescue. Both selections arrive with the promise of mitigating signs of aging and improving skin definition. And so, when faced with the daily stress that arrive with life and the natural aging process, I accepted the invitation to gauge what Zirh Platinum had to offer. So, lets dive into the details below.

Observations

  • Zirh Deep Clean: Luxurious foaming cleanser formulated with a natural fruit acid blend along with papaya and pineapple extracts to deep clean, exfoliate, soothe and hydrate skin. Deep Clean helps remove blackheads and impurities from the skin while providing anti-aging benefits by boosting skin elasticity and stimulating collagen synthesis.
  • Zirh PM Rescue: Immediately firms the appearance of skin and protects against the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Gives an immediate tightening effect on the face and neck. Antioxidants protect against free radicals that are known to accelerate skin aging. Builds collagen to plump up the skin, filling in lines and wrinkles.
  • Both Zirh Deep Clean and PM Rescue are packaged in conservative, black containers – the deep clean housed in a pump bottle, and the pm rescue in a small squeeze bottle.
  • The Zirh Deep Clean produces a very light lather. Humbly, I would estimate a minimum three pump requirement to generate a worthy lather. Regarding its scent, it produces a light, peppery pungent aroma when worked into a lather. It dissipates after a minute or so, but the initial smell is quite unexpected. The cleanser rinses cleans without any oily film or residue. It also does not dry out your skin. Given the amount that must be applied to generate a worthy lather, I would recommend using this cleanser every other day, if not even less. A gentleman will surely use up all of the product before a month is over. Use wisely.
  • The Zirh PM Rescue only requires a small marble sized amount to deliver the proper service. And although, it is presented as a skin serum, the consistency is more akin to a moisturizer. It goes on cleanly and absorbs into skin swiftly. Nonetheless, perhaps a few minutes after its application, I apply facial moisturizer to finish off the regimen. If I were to estimate, if applied daily, one tube should last approximately a month.
  • Zirh Deep Clean retails for approximately $45.00 for a 5.0 fl. oz. bottle. Zirh does offer an auto-replenishment program: monthly, bi-monthly, or quarterly. Any one of these options will net a gentleman a 15% discount off regular retail value.
  • Zirh PM Rescue retails for approximately $125.00 for a 1.6 fl. oz. bottle. Zirh does offer an auto-replenishment program: monthly, bi-monthly, or quarterly. Any one of these options will net a gentleman a 15% discount off regular retail value.
  • Both products boast a substantial price-tag that may grant thoughtful pause for the discerning gentleman. Dependent upon one’s lifestyle, the cost, perhaps, is negligible. Honestly, it is too early for me to assess any redeeming promises from Zirh Platinum, however, claims that arrive with the hope of counteracting Father Time may be worth exploring.

The Standard #47

To be absolutely sure, the world in which we exist is painfully flawed, replete with the best moral and ethical failings that mankind has to offer. Now, the wise gentleman comprehends that unnecessary energy expended toward circumstances that cannot be unconditionally rectified, nor altered is an exercise in futility. Moreover, the wise gentleman also comprehends that he cannot burden himself with the weight of impossibility – indelible moral sins that stain the woven fabric of our humanity. Nevertheless, a gentleman can intelligently wield whatever influence he possesses to assuage challenging and distressing conditions that he may encounter.

One gentleman may not be able to resolve the issue of homelessness, however, he can donate to a local shelter or champion a clothing drive. One gentleman may not be able to eradicate racial workplace bias, however, he can smartly utilize his voice to challenge preexisting discrimination and prejudice. One gentleman may not be able to mend the broken spirits of every at-risk youth, however, he can dedicate much-needed time to mentor or volunteer with a local charity. A wise gentleman does not become discouraged or disenchanted due to the seemingly enormous effort required to confront the difficult complexities that society presents. Regardless of what the problem may be, he simply does what is righteous and just because that is what an honorable and principled gentleman is called to do.

Style & Substance – Duffle Bags, Briefcases, Backpacks & More

Duffle bag. Briefcase. Messenger bag. Backpack. Generally, this assortment of gentlemanly accessories would be categorized under leather goods & travel bags, and they would be dignified with their appropriate name. However, since the public seems to believe that only a woman can own a stylish travel companion, it is necessary to differentiate a bag being carried by a woman versus one being carried by a man. And that is accomplished by simple attaching the word “man” as a prefix to the word “bag“. I don’t know which word I hate more, man-bag or metrosexual, but both are equally ridiculous. So, why am I exploring this topic today? Well, after JR Smith’s monumental mental collapse in the waning seconds of regulation in the NBA Finals (Game 1), the only other topic that has garnered more lattention is Lebron James’ post-game attire – specifically his alligator man-bag (Thom Brown bag, pictured above) that accompanied his ensemble.

Gay. Homosexual. Fag. Those are some of the words I read around the Internet used to describe James’ presentation. To be sure, I am not a fan of gentlemanly interpretations of style that go above and beyond to appear effeminate, but upholding the ever-enduring trope of being sartorially masculine can sometimes border on foolishness. In a desperate attempt to eschew the slightest hint of homosexuality, we practice behavior that is downright stupid and has nothing to do with sexuality. Holding an umbrella – what, are you afraid of getting wet from a few raindrops? Wearing a coat – what, a few drops in the temperature have you shivering? Rocking a man-purse – what, you can’t carry your lipstick in your pocket?

So, let us have a discussion about the “man-bag”. Selecting one is simply a means of function. Yes, a gentleman needs a carryall to house some of his odds & ends that he cannot carry on his person. Sure, a gentleman may possess less small accessories that require storage than a woman, but he still requires storage nonetheless. Prime example: I purchased a lunch bag from Target to carry, you know, my lunch. Over time that lunch bag has transformed into a storage space for my wallet, checkbook, car keys, cell phone, cell phone charger, eyeglass cleaner, eyeglass cloth, Bayer aspirin, Motrin, various vitamins, hand lotion, lip balm, and whatever else finds its way into the Bermuda Triangle of lunch space. And before you ask – no I am not stuffing my coat pockets with all those items, and I would have no luck in the summer anyway. And no, all those items (varying shape the items being a contributing factor) cannot fit into my briefcase. Therefore, for my lifestyle, I need a bag of some sort to provide refuge for my accessories.

Alternatively, I can walk around with low energy, smudged eyeglasses, chapped lips, ashy knuckles, a stiff back, and a headache – because damned if I look gay walking around with a bag to hold all my stuff. But I do – it’s just a lunch bag that does the heavy lifting because I’ve just been too lazy to invest in a smooth, stylish bag. Again, it all depends on lifestyle, but as I have grown older, I find myself carrying those little odds & ends that I choose not to stuff into my outerwear or pants’ pockets – which distorts the shape of the clothing over time anyway. Trust, there is nothing gay about Lebron James. So, man-up and go get a man-bag. Just kidding. Whether it is a medium duffle, messenger, tote, or just a stylish carryall; I believe every gentleman could benefit from owning one. I’ll be sure to post a picture of mine when I scrap together enough coins to do so. Although it won’t be anywhere near the $41K James dropped on his alligator companion. Respect.

The Standard #46

Because, upon discovering himself in the midst of uncertainty and disquiet, the confident gentleman understands that indecision cannot be an absolute decision. This is exactly where I discovered myself, as a supervisor, this month at my place of employment. Over the course of two years, it has been an enlightening, humbling experience wrought with anxiety, stress, and self-doubt. At times, finally feeling a self-assured comfort with my leadership abilities, and other times, arrested by a sense of failure and inadequacy within my profession. However, when confronted with extenuating circumstances on a myriad of fronts, the definitive, resolute decision-making of a leader was required, and I would either excel or succumb to my professional fears. As reason and logic stood in ambiguous contrast with emotion and empathy, only prayer and deep meditation could grant sound thinking and measured action. And in the end, I was the leader that I had difficulty embracing. Sometimes, the Lord allows tribulation to have a season to reveal self-assured abilities, integrity, and character within oneself in the face of debilitating self-doubt. Faith is trusting the Lord even when life’s challenges are perplexing and burdens appear too heavy to bear. You are the leader that you know you are; trust in Him and fortify yourself in His strength.

The Standard #1

An honorable gentleman fully comprehends the concept of exhibiting class, sympathy, and compassion. During episodes of great tragedy or human misery, the humane gentleman believes in charity and generosity. It is second nature. The considerate gentleman does not greedily seize upon the opportunity to criticize, politicize, or monetize unfortunate realities. His moral fiber is fortified with virtue and humility. He understands that the weight of life may prove too great for some individuals to bear. Alas, he has been blessed with robust shoulders that can bear life’s burdens, and that fact is not lost on him. He is blessed to be a blessing to those in need. Because, benevolence is a character trait that is not foreign to him, nor is it casually minimized. It is far too easy, agonizingly too simple to take what life has pleasantly afforded us for granted. Sometimes, perspective becomes distorted when the lens has become clouded with prosperity. Allow your wisdom to correct your focus. Your current situation could be dramatically different-and not in a good way. Be thankful. And always remember to assist others who may be in need. It could be you that requires the empathetic generosity of a stranger one day.

Striving While Black – Navigating the Corporate World as a Gentleman of Color

I’ve been in this game for years, corporate life is an animal, it’s rules to the game, so I wrote me a manual. It’s a step by step e-booklet for you to get your job on track – not your career pushed back. Yes, the corporate world can present quite the challenge for anyone, but for the gentleman of color, this world can be an entirely different animal. And for the uninitiated, the wrong moves can render a career stuck in neutral, or worst yet, gifted a box of your belongings and shown the exit.

Trust, there will be landmines that must be expertly navigated if career success is the objective. Your patience and resolve will be tested. There are so many times you can be confused with the other black guy in the office before it starts to wear on your nerves. You can only hear black slang from 1985 resurrected in 2018 as if it is brand new so many times before you want to scream. You can only hear the expressed fear from your non-melaninated colleagues about venturing into an urban area (which they never visit anyway) before your eyes roll out of the sockets. Never mind that you go to work everyday where a mass shooting could pop off at any moment by a disgruntled, middle-aged white male. Oh yes, I’ve had active shooter training, and law enforcement confirmed the standard profile of said gunman. You bite your tongue. You grind your teeth. But I digress, to survive the corporate office, you have to learn how the game is played. And then you must play it effectively.

I’ve checked in with some of my black brethren in the corporate hemisphere and solicited some opinions and guidance. Far too often, we sit in isolation and suffer in silence with no outlet. There is a generation of men of color entering the workforce for the first time with absolutely no idea what to expect or how to conduct themselves. This list is far from exhaustive, but there are some good directives that could prove to be helpful to someone. I have 20+ years in the workplace, and I have learned through trial and error. So, let’s get to it. So, first off…

  • Allow me to point out the obvious, as you are reading through this post, you may think these points are applicable to any ethnicity. And that is possibly true. However, in some circumstances, there is a racial double standard pervading the corporate world. You will not be afforded the benefit of any doubt my friend. The hypocrisy is thick. Most folk just don’t want to acknowledge it. How do I know? Look at it on a grand scale. Politics aside, the current president carries himself in a, well, ungentlemanly manner. His supporters largely ignore his flaws in decorum and etiquette. However, President Obama caught hell for wearing a tan suit and kicking his feet up on the desk in the Oval Office. Yes, the outrage was pretty damn ridiculous. So, there is a mighty good chance you are going to run into those same people in the office. Be cognizant of that fact.
  • Don’t be astonished when your colleagues are astonished. I was assigned a task by a doctor. He was so surprised by the quick turnaround time, he literally looked at me and stated he didn’t expect such efficiency. I once got a promotion and a fellow colleague expressed his surprise that someone else didn’t get the position I got – then he congratulated me. Well, thanks.
  • Hey, superman lover – yes, I’m talking to you. Stop being a player around the office. You are asking for trouble. Best case scenario: You get shut down, your feelings get hurt, and your image is branded as a hound dog or dirty old man. Worst case scenario: You get fired and find yourself a part of a hash tag movement.
  • To be sure, there are varying social and professional constructs that a gentleman must properly evaluate and then conduct himself accordingly. Your behavior outside of the corporate environment may not have a smooth transition to your office or cubicle. For example, I hold an affinity for classic hip-hop, and I can even recite the lyrics for Ice Cube’s Gangsta, Gangsta seamlessly. However, common sense dictates I would not recite said gangsta lyrics in front of my young children. Your place of employment is no different. There is a time and place for everything; business is business and the streets are the streets. A misguided attempt to “keep it real” in corporate America can go woefully awry – you’ve seen the Dave Chappelle skits.
  • However, a gentleman of color must remain “real” to his identity. Now, this statement may appear as a direct contradiction to the statement above, so allow me to explain. While it is paramount for a gentleman to embrace and understand the culture of his company – and every company has a particular culture – a gentleman should not adopt an unnatural façade that compromises his integrity and comfort level. There is an episode from HBO’s television series Insecure where a character, Molly Carter, tries to join the “boy’s club” at her firm in an attempt to blend in. The results are unfavorable, as she is still socially excluded from the unofficial club. I don’t pretend at work. I don’t pretend to like or dislike things just to fit in. A gentleman should not go along just to get along.
  • If you begin a statement with – I cannot because I am black – you’ve already defeated yourself all by yourself. Don’t be a cynic. Sure, the road may be paved with setback and disappointment, but you have to believe in the possibility of success with hard work and discipline.
  • Contrary to some prevailing assumptions, everything is not a conspiracy against the black race. Does racism and prejudice exist in the workplace – of course, absolutely. However, every single uncomfortable circumstance or general unfavorable topic does not have to fall back on racial inequality. Seriously, it really does not. Under-representation of minorities in the workplace could be a result of the dearth of qualified applicants. Perhaps a certain promotion was not attained due to a better candidate also applied. A gentleman cannot fight every battle. Trying to achieve success in your field is exhausting by itself; a gentleman will burn himself out mentally & physically by taking on additional battles. Sometimes you have to take a moment to educate and other times you have to walk away.
  • However, sometimes circumstances does fall back on racial inequality in the workplace. In those circumstances, the best course of action is to contact human resources or the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission). Best practice: document, document, document any events that pertain to the matter at hand. Given the grave nature of this circumstance, this is not a matter one should address alone. Present your issues and concerns to the appropriate personnel. If you are a witness to racial injustice in the office, your voice must be a tool of measured reason and truth. And don’t engage in office banter regarding the matter; not everyone needs to be privy to your business.
  • And speaking of office banter – please keep it clean and professional. It is important your conversations are based on merit and facts. Gossip and conjecture has no place in the office, but sure enough, every office has some form of gossip. It’s best you avoid it altogether and get to the matter at hand – work. Because, when it is all said and done, you will be thrown under the bus.
  • Because, as much as many individuals will deny it, prejudice and racism is as American as apple pie. It is tightly woven into the fabric of this nation, and some people will demonstrate their actions consciously or subconsciously. So, entering the workplace, a gentleman of color will probably have to work twice as hard as his Caucasian counterpart. Why? Stereotypes. Stereotypes that middle America is continuously exposed to via news and entertainment, and has been since the inception of this country. So, as a black man enters into the corporate world, you bear the weight of every historical, black caricature steeped in America’s racist past – primarily: the brute (angry, dangerous), the coon (lazy, buffoonish), or the Tom (docile, submissive). Sure, we can complain about the system, but these are the cards that have been dealt, so the game has to be played deftly and intelligently. We have to dispel every myth and stereotype just to prove we are on the same level. And even then, you will accused of preferential treatment because you’ve been deemed as “safe” by white management. Haters will hate, but you have to be your own champion and tout your accomplishments and work ethic – haters be damned.
  • Therefore, don’t be surprised by some backlash from other people of color in the office. You’ve worked hard to attain your achievements. You are recognized by white peers and upper management. Congratulations – you can officially be perceived as an Uncle Tom or sell-out. If you dress with elegance, articulate oneself in a professional manner, and exude a measured demeanor; you can possibly be categorized as a “safe” choice that has been elevated as a token. This assumption confuses me, as some of our greatest civil rights leaders possessed the aforementioned characteristics, yet no one would dare label Malcolm X as a Tom. People will formulate opinions about you, but they will never understand how hard you’ve worked to attain your status. Don’t allow anyone to make you feel inferior. And never feel ashamed of your position within the company.
  • And when you attain that status, it is incumbent upon you to give back to minorities entering the workplace behind you. To walk into an office and see no one that resembles you can be intimidating and quite sobering. People are tribal by nature. People will gravitate to those people that they share similar interests and culture. Don’t act brand new. Don’t throw anyone under the bus. Reach out and help someone.
  • However, don’t be surprised if your welcome is rebuffed. I’ve tried to make eye contact and execute the “bro nod”, only to be straight up passed by in the hallway, as if I was as inconsequential as paint on the wall. Lesson: Not every black male will feel the need to join your “tribe”. As much as you want to greet that man with some “Wakanada Forever” dap, he may not reciprocate the same love. Everyone has their own origin story, so don’t take it personal.
  • Loyalty is valued within the black community. However, don’t be afraid to place distance between yourself and someone who has established a reputation as a malcontent. Establish a network of like-minded individuals that are the best in their field so you can learn and grow.
  • If you deem that your current professional environment is not conducive to your growth & development, it may be time to execute an executive decision and move on to another position or company, or maybe even venture out into the world of entrepreneurship. Severing ties with a company where career advancement is not a plausible possibility or the atmosphere is racially insensitive could be beneficial for you mentally and physically.

Do you have a story or tip to share? Please share in the comment section.

Standard Recommendations – Wurkin Stiffs – Magnetic Collar Stays

I am old friends with Wurkin Stiffs and their famous magnetic collar stays – we go way back in the day. Well, at least the earliest days of my adventures in blogging, when my preferred blog-publishing service was Blogger. The year was 2008. I spotted an advertisement in Men’s Vogue – yes, that was actually a magazine for gentlemen years 2005-08 – that touted the benefits of securing one’s collar with its power stays. Now, standard collar stays are intended to provide structure and weight via the underside of a gentleman’s shirt collar. Collar stays help keep the gentleman’s collar in place and resists the collar’s unintended nature to curl at the tips. Unruly, wayward collars can be annoying and ruin an otherwise elegant presentation. Finer shirts arrive with simple plastic collar inserts. Some, however, come equipped with metal collar stays providing strength and much-needed longevity.

Wurkn Stiffs stepped up the game by offering magnetic collars – guaranteed to hold a gentleman’s collar neatly in place. The collar stay slides into the collar insert as per usual, and then the collar stay is held in position by a strong magnetic “button” that is placed underneath the shirt. The shirt collar can be adjusted per the gentleman’s preference. Now, perhaps you are thinking: Securing one’s shirt collar with a magnetic accessory is an unnecessary exercise in affectation. However, this small measure of prepping your collar provides a tremendous visual benefit to your appearance. It only takes a few seconds, and adjustments throughout the day is minimal – if any adjustments are required at all. Three lengths are available: 2.0, 2.5, and 2.75 in pairs of one or three.  One pair will retail for $20.00 while 3 pairs retail for a cool $39.50. Ten years later from my first introduction, the Wurkin Stiffs power stays are still a must for a gentleman’s collection of style accessories.

For more purchasing information, please visit https://wurkinstiffs.com/ for details.

Gent Hints – Interviewing for an Internal Position

My current home of employment is quite unique. The opportunity for growth and advancement is wonderfully plentiful. Management offers a fantastic support system to aid and assist with an individual’s learning and development. However, the opportunity for advancement is not absent its share of challenge and adversity; wrought with anxiety and apprehension. The arduous road to career advancement can wind through a series of internal interviews that sometimes result in reward, and other circumstances with disappointment. Often, but not entirely, the outcome is predicated by the preparation and performance of the candidate. Interviewing for an internal position can present a myriad of unaccounted for pitfalls that a candidate fails to properly address.

My position in management has afforded me the opportunity to interview a robust quantity of candidates – both internally and externally. The knowledge that I have gleaned from my experiences has allowed for not only personal, professional growth; but I can confidently dispense guidance to candidates seeking career advancement. Today, I wanted to extend a small offering of wisdom to those individuals that hold a desire to advance within their present employer and must navigate the interview process to accomplish that objective. So, let’s explore what a candidate should and should not do when interviewing for an internal position at their job.

Do’s and Don’ts When Interviewing for an Internal Position

  1. Don’t arrive at the interview too relaxed. Sometimes a candidate can become a victim of comfort and familiarity. A candidate may enter an interview composed of peers or coworkers. Being haphazardly at ease with one’s surroundings can possibly dull a candidate’s sharpness and awareness. A candidate should be cognizant of body language and communication – keep it decidedly professional and formal.
  2. Do Approach an internal interview as if you were an external candidate, but bolstered insider knowledge. Dress professionally for the interview. Bring a resume. And don’t take for granted that the interviewer has predetermined knowledge of how you perform at work – now is the time to sell yourself and highlight noteworthy achievements along with championing your work ethic.
  3. Do the necessary research before applying for the position. A candidate that lacks basic knowledge of the desired position reflects very poorly on the candidate’s interview preparation. Network with colleagues that are currently in that department or on the team. Scheduling an appointment with the hiring manager prior to the interview can provide crucial insight and detail of tremendous benefit.
  4. Don’t torch professional bridges in the office. In the circumstance that you are striving to advance internally, your reputation can certainly travel with you as you apply for positions. Trust – managers speak with other managers. External candidates can be an unknown commodity. However, in the case of an internal candidate, expect the hiring manager to do a little research on their potential new hire.
  5. Don’t end the interview with a wave and goodbye. A prepared candidate should always ask meaningful questions regarding job expectations, challenges that the candidate may face, challenges currently faced by the team/department/company, opportunity for growth & development, and  – well you get the idea. Salary, benefits, and shift assignment are all valid questions to ask, but a candidate should arrive armed with inquiries that project depth and thoughtfulness.
  6. Do express gratitude after the interview. Some people may label this act as a dated practice, but a handwritten thank you note can be the finishing touch that separates two candidates that are running neck & neck for a position. Be aware of certain points during the interview that resonate with the interviewer or panel; craft your thank you card accordingly and take that moment to briefly pitch yourself as an asset, express enthusiasm for position, and offer gratitude for the time & consideration you’ve been granted.

This blog is about sharing knowledge. And I am certain the points above is not an exhaustive list of what to do and not to do. Therefore, please feel free to lend some advice in the comment section. I am sure someone will readily welcome a pointer or two or three.

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