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Beyond job security.

The return from your work must be the satisfaction which that work brings you and the worlds need of that work. With this, life is heaven, or as near heaven as you can get. Without this--with work which you despise, which bores you, and which the world does not need--this life is hell.

These words, spoken by William E.B. Du Bois nearly 40 years ago, ring with a telling clarity even as we approach the beginning of a new millennium. In today's job market, as several stories in our latest Careers & Business Opportunities Issue illustrate, gaining professional satisfaction has become an increasingly difficult proposition, particularly for African American professionals.

A rapidly changing workplace has made the challenge of making a living a harrowing proposition. Job security is a blissful memory, and those who survive the downsizing ax are expected to do more with less, often for the same salary. For African Americans, the concrete reinforced ceiling on career advancement remains as thick as ever. Retrenchment against affirmative action has become the order of the day even though, as the Texaco case made clear, corporate racism is alive and well For too many, more work has brought fewer rewards, and professional life has come to resemble the hell described by Du Bois-- or at best a demoralizing purgatory.

This reality has major implications for African Americans striving to establish rewarding careers. That's why I convened the first BLACK ENTERPRISE Business Education Roundtable of the deans of some of the nation's most prestigious black business schools. Their report in this issue highlights the challenges and opportunities "unities facing black business schools. The institutions represented by these deans will be critical to our ability to produce a cadre of professionals and entrepreneurs capable of competing for opportunities in business and corporate America. Our look ar how several BE 100s CEOs are facing the challenge of finding new leadership for their businesses (also in this issue) paints a clear picture of what's at stake for African Americans economically.

Of course, the search for career and business opportunities must include major corporations, many of which proudly point to their diversity initiatives as proof that they are committed to hiring and advancing African Americans--regardless of whether their programs actually produce results or are little more than smokescreens against charges of racism. We asked some of the nation's top diversity experts to evaluate the effectiveness of four corporations' programs. Their findings provide insights into what practices you should be looking for as you assess the environment at the company for which you work, or would like to.

My own interpretation of Du Bois' wise words is a simple one: The ideal career is one in which you can make a difference while making a living. A successful career must boast equal measures of both security and satisfaction. Our mission is to arm you with the information and inspiration you need to settle for nothing less.
COPYRIGHT 1997 Earl G. Graves Publishing Co., Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1997, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Publisher's Page
Author:Graves, Earl G.
Publication:Black Enterprise
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Feb 1, 1997
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