Unemployed & Broke: Working Smarter, Not Harder



One reason The Melanin Exchange was created was to focus on work/life balance. As a Black woman with post-secondary education I have found there to be many obstacles in the workforce ranging from being underpaid to overworked, and overall, just getting by.


Terms like passive income, residual income, and generational wealth have grown to be hot topics within the last few years. I recall hearing many mentors and/or friends starting business and never understood why until I continued to gain employment experience.


I found myself both overworked and underpaid, despite whether I was fulfilled was besides the point. The point was that I value my work and employers said they valued me, so pay me. Like the old saying goes “put your money where your mouth is”. As you can guess I also hopped on the bandwagon of residual income and began to understand the depth of these hot topics.


Prior to the pandemic, but during the pandemic I have felt like a broken record. Here is the bottom line when it comes to these jobs that we worked diligently to obtain, likely accrued debt, and made many sacrifices for: They will replace you. People laughed at me at work when the pandemic first hit because let us just say I did what I felt was necessary to stay alive and healthy, and get my work completed on time. They laughed because I constantly told myself and others, as if I ran the place, “If you die to tomorrow, they will replace you before you can respectfully have a funeral”. Again, they will replace you. No matter how fulfilled we are, how much money we earn, or the benefits, jobs and careers are fluid. We have seen older generations remain at jobs 20-30 plus years, some of them completely burned out, unfulfilled, and life completely passed them by.


Yes, financial security, benefits, and the other perks to employment are important to meet our basic needs. But they should not be our life.


This pandemic illustrated all of this. Unfortunately, we have seen many people suddenly become unemployed. We've also seen many businesses birthed as a result. Why? Because severance packages, unemployment, and benefits all have expiration dates. This was a wake up call for many! As we have also seen with during the pandemic, the government cannot protect you to provide your needs. People are waiting months for employment and other benefits. While we may want to remain at a job to become vested or tenured, if the doors shut tomorrow, none of those years do not matter. Whether we are at a job 6 months or 60 years we are not guaranteed to be exempt if the doors close. Even if we a have a job that is not our cup of tea, consider that easy money to work on other goals and projects to build passive income. Make money while on the clock. Work towards freedom and being your own BOSS!


It is always best to have a backup plan. We put off our goals, hopes, and dreams because of our “jobs” to be left with nothing or very little. Yes, we may have retirement or a 401K, but that also ends. Imagine if you have these benefits, in addition to other streams of income! You will likely be able to be comfortable at the least. This idea of needing a job, specifically working for someone else is something that is learned. Break the cycle in your families.


Teach generational wealth and passive income strategies early! While hard work and work ethic is crucial, learn to work smarter not harder! I learned this in graduate school. Better late than never but imagine if I had learned this as a teenager versus my 20s. I would likely be much further ahead. Therefore, I am sharing the knowledge here. Each one teach one. Get your money, know your value and worth!


You know you want to do it. Go for it! Pray on it. Manifest it. Chase your dreams! It will work out for your good.

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