Last night I was watching the Miami and LSU game where the head coaches of each team looked very familiar. I couldn’t immediately remember their names or where they coached previously. I haven’t followed sports as closely as I used since I was in school the last three years. Eventually the announcers gave their names and I was like, “oh yeah. Mark Richt is former head coach at UGA and Ed Orgeron was head coach at Ole Miss.” Two teams of the premier conference in college football, the SEC. Yeah, I said it – the SEC rules.
Now they didn’t get their new jobs because their previous teams had outstanding records or had just won their conference or even the national championship. No, they were fired for essentially failing. But what happens to white men when they fail compared to everyone else? They get another job at a comparable level.
Now I’m not suggesting that they should never coach again. But you would expect that after an abysmal performance that led to their firings, they would at the very least start their next head coaching gig at a Division II or III school. No, they just pick up and start over at another Division I School.
What happens to most of us when we have less than a stellar job performance? Well, we certainly are not promoted. Even when we do have a stellar job performance, we’re not getting promoted. We may get more responsibility without a pay raise while some other white guy gets our promotion.
I work in a profession that is 80% women but the men still hold 40% of the management positions. Based on the numbers alone every three out of four management positions should be held by a woman. Where I work the top four positions are held by two men and two women. All of whom are white. This only decreases your opportunities if you are a nonwhite woman.
We talk a lot about diversity but it’s time to progress to equity and inclusion. Not only do we want to be in the room, but we want a chance to be at the table as well as seated at the head of the table. And when we have a misstep, don’t let that negate all of our good works. Like Orgeron and Richt, give us a comparable second chance.