you’re speaking chinese to me.

if that doesn’t give you insight into the type of experiences employees were exposed to at q, i’m not sure what will. this was said to me by someone who worked in my small department. someone that has been there for double digits. someone i reported to regularly.

hr didn’t help much either.

i got questions like:

“do you think they meant it maliciously?”

“how about you have this conversation with them?”

i ultimately did have this conversation with this person. what would have happened if i didn’t feel comfortable? how would this even pan out? or maybe i wouldn’t have said anything at all….and let this type of behavior continue. i waited almost a week to have this conversation because again i was scared at the time, i was new. this person….knowing what they had done never even approached me to apologize.

overall, the hr department itself is ill-equipped to handle these types of situations. it’s as if you expect sweeping things under the rug actually does anything.

saying that you are a company that values diversity, equity, and inclusion doesn’t mean that the employees you’ve hired practice those values. just like working at a company that says this doesn’t mean you’re less tracist.

make sense?

moving on.

signs like these are all over the dc

these types are littered around the dc. there is also one of Confucius by the super’s area, but i feel you don’t need a photo to know what that looks like. the thing is, these are recent photos. other folx have brought this to the attention of hr for awhile….for me i did as recently as june 2019. you walk miles all day everyday and see this kind of trash.

why?

without adding tons to this post, i’m gonna fast forward to my experience after i got hit and run by a school bus last june.

*** this was also the first day of qbp commuter bike league. i was commuting about 35 miles round trip about four times a week ***

i had multiple appointments to go to and trying to juggle that with limited pto, my workload, and my injuries (emotional/physical) i had multiple 1:1 with my super, but this is probably where it started to go down hill.

“i’m wondering if i made the right hiring decision”

when your shift is 8:30am to 4:30pm it really messes up where you can schedule appointments. especially when you have a super that is constantly on you about “not disrupting workflow.” the very few times i left during the early stages of my recovery were if i was next to tears. otherwise i came to work no matter what.

*** i’ve never had a performance improvement plan, ever at my time at q

as someone that biked a lot i drank lots of water and tea, you know like everyone else. apparently that was too much, and i was leaving my desk too often to get water and use the restroom. my laugh was too loud. my keyboard was too loud. my everything was too loud.

it got to the point where i stopped talking to friends, stopped petting dogs (if any of you know me, i fucking love dogs), and eventually i stopped going down to grab lunch. i literally sat at my desk, too scared to do anything.

there is someone at q that a lot of folx know in our community that straight up asked if everything was okay while we were in the restroom and i said, i couldn’t talk because my super was timing me.

this is real.

the very last 1:1 i had before i just straight up and went down to hr was after my super said to me:

do you want to go back to the warehouse?

this isn’t just a threat, it’s how some employees view folx in the dc. if i went back to the dc i’d be welcomed back with open arms, but a huge part of me because i “made it” would’ve been so disappointed in myself. all of the effort and support from my friends and peers would’ve been for nothing.

where was the *fire department* when an actual fire was in the dc, and they needed help cleaning that up? exposure to burnt product/chemicals, on top of normal dc workload. i’m curious.

after that conversation i decided to speak to hr about it all. this over a period of a few days escalated to the vp of hr. the meeting was set with my super and the vp of hr that same week, and if any of you know me i came prepared. what i didn’t know was that my review was going to be happening during that meeting, too.

let’s be real, the review aspect went super well. outside of a couple hiccups (again never had any performance improvement plans) it was great.

i came to that meeting with an outline. starting out with the importance of the meeting, how i felt that my supervisor may have felt about what was going on with me, then how i felt and what it was doing to me emotionally and physically.

of course i got head nods when i discussed the first part, but when i began to discuss how “not leaving my desk” was affecting me….i was greeted with scoffs and negative body language. i added that as someone that doesn’t reflect the majority of the office setting, i know that when i come and go it’s noticed.

i’ve followed you around when you leave your desk and i don’t know where you go

my supervisor. said this in front of the vp of hr. you know what the vp of hr said after that? nothing. absolutely nothing.

i burst into tears and with what i had left i told both of them that i was resigning effective immediately. i had enough.

this isn’t what we wanted or expected during this conversation….

well fixing anything wasn’t part of it. after i got myself to calm down my super left so it was just the vp of hr and myself.

you know i’ve known them for nine years and that’s just how they are.

i looked at them, took a giant breath, and said, “with all due respect, you cannot keep people like that or allowing this type of behavior to keep happening….”

i was met with silence. i gathered my stuff, didn’t say a word to anyone, and turned in my badge.

this is just the tip of the iceberg. this isn’t including my experience talking with marketing over the surly big easy project, following up with the surly marketing manager months after about a book i had suggested to be greeted with, “i just haven’t had the time.”

thanks for listening.

“…it’s just the way it is…” pt 2

before i do anything else, i want to take a moment to thank everyone for the kind words and support. YOU are the reason why i feel safe talking about my experiences. YOU are the reason why i am never lacking in inspiration.

about my voice. i have always battled this, especially in my writing. i’ve internalized a lot of comments from my family, professors, supers that my vernacular isn’t okay for the “professional” world. if you read something that seems a little jumbled it’s because in person that’s probably what would come out of my mouth. i am doing my best to not let this bug me, but it’s out there.

what is the problem??

now before i talk about any experiences, we have to talk about why this is a problem. the bike industry as a whole is notorious for being a cis-white-male dominated boiz club. when decisions are made it’s important to understand that component as that particular lens is presented in nearly every marketing opportunity.

has some marketing shifted? yes.

does that make this better? no, because that should be the bare minimum. as an industry leader q should be held to the highest standard. you don’t have to do tons of clicking to see their reach.

“what we do” – qbp

by not leading, taking a stand, not putting sustainable support into diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) q is the embodiment of a phrase other BIPOC/FTW folx and myself have kept hearing since…..forever:

“it’s just the way it is…”

there are so many variations of this from, “they shoot first, ask second” to “i’ve known them for years, it’s how they are. it’s not what they meant…….”

you know who else does that? the police, the president and more, but thank you for watering down our lived experiences while pretending to give a shit.

since it’s founding in 1981, q has missed profitability only one of those years as of june 2019. when i spoke to a member of the DEI committee post budget presentations, i was told all those projects were on hold.

budgeting and forecasting is hard, especially when trade wars directly affect the bizzzzz. that said, it still isn’t an excuse for not planning, allocating, and staying accountable to DEI practices especially when said company totes DEI initiatives like a paid internship for BIPOC and FTW.

i mean seriously though. it would take maybe a little more effort to do research and implement a plan vs doing this:

*insert thumbs up emoji*

nothing like coming into work and knowing that your company doesn’t actually support DEI, BIPOC, FTW, but throws you under the bus, too.

behaviors like the above and many, many, MANY more made by/at q has a ripple effect whether that was the intention or not. by not doing homework, by not being a true partner (values here) they make it okay for everyone else to maintain the status quo, protect (for less of a better word) shitty people who are often in high ranking and decision making positions. nothing is more clear than what occurred at frost bike 2020.

a glimmer of hope came in the form of #representationmatters

personally it didn’t hit me until i joined a cycling team (shoutout to @tacocatracingmpls ttbt) that there was an absence of people who looked like me in competitive cycling. my team gave me support and courage to keep trying at q. i felt brave, i started to take up space, and most importantly i did more homework.

back to frost bike.

when it was announced that Ayesha McGowan was going to be the keynote this year my first emotion was pure excitement. the second was, “is q familiar with Ayesha’s work?

you can find the keynote presentation here it is so worth the watch. if you don’t have the immediate time i would suggest going to about the 36 minute mark where it’s about time for some q & a. for an event where the industry minds are gathering, there weren’t a lot of questions let alone thoughtful ones.

the audio quality is awful, but if you turn up the volume there is a part where someone asks about attracting a more diverse customer base.

muffled muffed something to the like of, “it’s just hard because the shop listens to metal music and stuff.” followed up with laughing, snickering, etc. etc.

ahhhh yes because black and brown folx don’t listen to metal, or ride bikes for that matter.

these types of micro aggression are the daily for Black and Brown folx. like i can’t listen to code orange on my bluetooth speaker cause i don’t fit the idea of who you think enjoys this genre?

the question/statement was met by Ayesha prior to that comment. Ayesha (excuse the sports analogy) put a giant softball on a tee. a softball so big even a storm trooper could hit it, and the person’s follow up missed so hard that it was as if this person didn’t even listen to a word that was said.

this would’ve been a great opportunity for a leader or hell anyone in the bike industry to intervene and say something in real time, or even make a follow up comment after the event. there was nothing.

qbp june seventeenth

words and apologies without actions/follow up are just that. words. that opportunity to do good work, hard/uncomfortable/growing work, was there, but now it’s just a blazing fire you’re scrambling to put out.

that said, i hope it gives a solid foundation to what comes next. since the weather is cooling down, and i’m a big baby i am gonna take the weekend to enjoy the beautiful weather. i will hopefully get everything edited and posted by next monday.

peace.

*** note about the ads – i have no idea what i’m doing. it was a setting to show ads on my awhile back. what i have noticed is the ads are for duckduckgo and wordpress. personally i use tor browser for private internet access, but ddg is awesome too if you don’t wanna download a new client. if there are ever any ads that are not-cool, please let me know. i’m not sure if i have tons of control, but i’ll do my best to figure it out or drop ads completely ***

“…it’s just the way it is…” pt 1

it has taken me quite awhile to find a way to discuss my experiences within the bike industry, but like many my life has always been about my community, friends, and family.  as the protests for the murder of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Riah Milton, Dominique “Rem’Mie” Fells, and more have taken the center stage in our country along with the disproportionate deaths for Black communities by COVID-19 there has been a swell of dialogue following in the cycling and outdoor companies.

know their namesLA Johnson/NPR

there is never a “good time” to talk about race.  it is the elephant in the room.  the reasons i haven’t spoken about my experiences at q are very personal:

  1. fear of repercussions against myself and other BIPOC folx.
  2. fear of getting black listed within the bike industry as a whole.  there was a time when i had considered making my way back, which is no longer the case as of today.
  3. fear of upsetting people in the community and the fallout.
  4. fear of not being heard or taken seriously.

that said, i also need to take a moment to recognize the countless folx that have been doing amazing work within our community (i promise to get there), and their work putting other companies such as fuji, trek, etc. on their silence or generic performative response to the situation in cycling and the nation.  the folx setting up distanced rides, still volunteering time, energy, monetarily and physically. 

let’s not forget that there are companies out there with contracts with police that utilize bikes to brutalize Black and Brown bodies.  And yes it is that trek….the one that you know “won” seven TDFs on.

trek bike police Forbes

that is where i’ll leave that part of the conversation.  there is a lot to follow on this situation and again i will provide resources at the end.

where does this leave qbp?  if you aren’t familiar q is one of the largest bike and parts distributors in North America, heck you could say the world.  they have a home base here in Bloomington, MN along with multiple distribution centers stateside, in Canada, and have multiple buildings in Asia.  they have multiple in house brands ranging from all-city (your favorite party brand) to surly to 45NRTH and more.  if you have a local bike shop in your city, odds are q is probably the one that helps allocate parts/bikes.

i promise you that what you’re seeing vs what is happening are completely at odds.  how do i know?  i worked at q,  in fact i started at the distribution center to upstairs as a compliance specialist.  i applied for twelve positions there all in areas that i have experience in.  i was told no to ten of them.  i have gone through the training, job shadowing, personal meetings, etc because i had finally gotten there.

the reality at q and the bike industry, in order to start at the top or get there,  you have to be in the know.  the old boys club.  you know that one, so i don’t need to paint that picture.  i didn’t know anyone, but wanting to be there so badly i quit my big kid job making a significant amount more to get my foot in at the dc.

the difference in metrics tracking at the dc are nothing short of insanity.  i’m all for being productive, but there is a strike system even for attendance that if you’re late even for a minute it counts against you.  one minute.  and when you get the last strike, sorry for ya, you’re gone effective immediately.

one more important piece here is that the vast amounts of diversity at q is the dc.  remember that because this will be important later, but first let me put this here to show the contrast for folx upstairs:

being late to workqbp

of course this isn’t all of it. if you need more i would suggest going here and reading the comments on their https://www.instagram.com/qualitybike/

i have written, deleted a lot. it’s actually kept me up quite a bit so to better space everything i will let you catch up on what is happening and provide some places to go after reading some of that stuff from q and the industry.

http://www.aquickbrownfox.com/

https://www.instagram.com/wtfbikexplorers/

https://www.instagram.com/rachel.olzer/

https://www.instagram.com/the_blackfoxes/

https://www.instagram.com/cyclista_zine/

there are so many more, but i’m seriously still figuring out how to use this platform, sorry if it’s really jumbled. i couldn’t even get these hyperlinks to edit to what i wanted without it erasing all these blocks.

this will be published in multiple parts as i have a lot more to write and edit.

topics will include the following:

what’s the problem?

first hand experience with upper management

ally vs accomplice: why that matters

qbp values: acting with integrity

Everyone Starts at Zero…or Something

From one to a million readers, viewers, and subscribers….everyone started at zero.

Wow.  I started writing all of this almost three years ago.  I wish I could say that I was waiting for the perfect first post, but I was just lazy and scared.  I am not scared about failing, but I’m scared about the emotional toll.

I mean 2019 was pretty wild.  I got a promoted at a job where I truly wanted to work, to getting hit and run by a school bus on the first day of Commuter Bike League, losing that dream job because “I wasn’t getting better fast enough,” to finally buying the positiveworks.blog domain.

I’ve thought, paced, twiddled, muttered to Winston (my doggo) and all I knew is that it had to happen.  I am going to make a commitment and create positive work weekly.

This is going to come in different forms streams, VODs, social media posts, interviews, how to’s and ultimately creating a financial system that allows marginalized persons to make their dreams come true.

It’s big.

Really big.  Odds of totally going nowhere are high, but I’m going to try.  It’s going to take practice, it’s going to get me out of my comfort zone, and I’m looking forward to all of it.

We will bring together positive works from all over.

I will catch you next week.

–  Sean