Leftover definition: adj remaining, excess
I’m working on HR projects to assist with integration work at a company that was acquired last year. There is limited seating with the group that I primarily work with so I’m located between two different workgroups. So, one day I’m sitting at my work area just like I do every other morning, sorting through emails and checking my calendar to see what meetings or work sessions are scheduled for the day when in walks another HR employee. But she isn’t alone. She has with her a new HR manager whom she’d like to introduce to everyone. We’ll call her Jane and call the new manager Jill.
Jane walks over to the first group of employees on the row next to mine; I hear each introduction – everything is going well. I hear their voices coming back up the aisle to introduce everyone on my row. Before they come around the corner, I shift in my chair and adjust my blouse, and I look to make sure none of my breakfast lingered between my teeth; I also took a quick peek to see if my lipstick had wandered from its rightful home onto my pearly whites – I’m good!
They turn the corner, and it was our turn to meet the newest member to the team. I’m first up to bat, and I’m ready to knock it out the park because you never know what role new acquaintances will play in your future, but I digress. We will get into that another time. I prepare to extend my hand out, ready for the introduction, but something new and weird happens. I’m not introduced as Ebony Dukes. I was introduced as the leftover: Ebony Dukes. Everyone around me starts laughing hysterically. I chuckled a little under my breath and shook my head because I was in disbelief and tried to act like I wasn’t offended. Then I became infuriated and a small flame grew to a raging fire inside of me. The only word I could mutter was “WOW.” I heard one of the ladies behind me say “yeah…. wow is right!”
In 2.2 seconds, so many emotions vibrated through my body that I felt physically hot. I didn’t really know how to process everything I was feeling. And I had so many questions. Should I be offended? Was that just a slip of the tongue or “senior” moment? Was that a Freudian slip? Is that how you truly feel about me? Underneath the pleasantries and daily small talk do you view me as a left over? I sometimes miss working in corporate America as a fulltime employee – the camaraderie and building relationships, but I sure as hell do not miss the microaggressions and other low key racist B.S that happens in the workplace more than people like to admit. I am sick and tired of it!
The irony of all this is that it happened while she was introducing me to a diversity manager, which I didn’t know her title at the time I was being introduced. Jill noticed my reaction and said, “you’re not a leftover – nice to meet you Ebony.”
I’m no one’s “leftover”. I’m working on projects for a fixed period of time to assist with the integration of two companies. Jane could have referred to me as an addition to the group, a contingent worker, anything but a “leftover” – or she could have just said, “Let me introduce you to Ebony.”