I wasn’t the first person in my family to finish college, but I was the…
If there’s one lesson most Latinxs learn early in their lives it’s that hard times are meant to be kept behind closed doors. We’ve talked before on CHCI’s blog about the importance of finding Latinxs who will understand your lived experiences as you build your career, but once you’ve found them the first step in being able to actively turn to them is to unlearn some of the things you were taught at home.
The greatest part about having such a diverse and active Latinx community is that you have so many touch-points and so many people to turn to who can offer perspective, advice, or just comforting words as you navigate a harder moment in your career.
When I was first starting my career, my Latinx squad was mostly nonexistent, but through interviewing Latina trailblazers it started to expand from a professional level and as I started going to more networking events focused on Latinxs in my industry, I started meeting peers who were actively also searching for someone to turn to in tough times.
Unlearning starts with acknowledging
Being able to offer (and receive) the support of those outside of your family who have your best interest at heart starts with unlearning that the only mode of support available to you is your family. While our families are amazing, they sometimes don’t have the lived experiences to understand what we need support on in our careers or how major an event may be. Making our peace with the reality that there can be different support groups for different seasons of our lives is a healthy place to start building the habits that will allow us to seek out that support.
Practice asking for support
This seems redundant, but after acknowledging that you may have a hard time turning to others for help, the best way to start undoing that belief is to start finding those you can trust and ask of. The practice of asking for support won’t be easy and it won’t come without some discomfort, but as you do it, notice how much easier it gets with each try, how much you gain from the answers or advice that are offered, and how happy your network is to support you in any way they can.
Pay it forward
We have an entire post on how paying it forward is a pivotal part of so many Latinxs stories and one of the main reasons is because it helps ground. Being able to help support someone else as they navigate a hard time or just a season with a lot of questions can also help you find solutions to your own mountains and understand that you do have the power to effectively move forward.
On the days when asking your community for help feels the hardest, please remember that you’re not alone in learning how to do it. There are many Latinxs, at different moments in their own careers, who are navigating how to build, activate, and support their own networks.
By Vivian Nunez