Yesterday I received a call out of the blue from someone who's trying to be a consultant in the healthcare industry. She said that, in her opinion, she has the skills and the knowledge to be a consultant, and in the few assignments she's been able to get, she's gotten nothing but kudos from the people she's ended up working with.

But she had a common lament that I hear often, one that I've had myself often enough. She has never gotten an assignment on her own, always subcontracting, no matter how much advertising she's done, and she wonders if it's because she's a minority. I couldn't disagree with her, and I hate agreeing with her, but I'd have to say that I'm leaning more towards her direction than away from it.

Here's the overall thing, though. Worrying about why one might have a problem getting a job, when it comes to racial background, is something that white people never have to worry about, but in America black people do. There have been many studies, official and not, that have proven that it's easier for a white convict to get a job than a black person with a college degree. That's scary, and if it happens at the lower skill level, it's happening more at the skilled level. There aren't a large number of black healthcare consultant to begin with, even fewer in the finance end of things. And when one has pretty good qualifications and credentials, it does make one wonder why they're not as popular as direct contacts, but very popular with subcontracting companies once you've done an assignment with them. So, true or not for each individual, just having it out there as something one has to think about adds another level of pressure, and, unfortunately, it's something that, in general, minorities can't do anything to change; not that we necessarily would if we could.

Have I ever not gotten a contract because I'm black? How would I know? I do know that I have barely gotten jobs because I was black; I've been told that by those who have hired me at times. When I first had my website created, I debated with myself as to whether or not I was going to put my picture on it. I did the same thing with all my earlier marketing material. I talked with my dad about it at the time and he said that, in his opinion, it was better excluding people who might hesitate because I was black without talking to me first, rather than showing up somewhere and seeing that involuntary "jerk" because I wasn't what someone was expecting. To be truthful, I still see that involuntary "jerk" from time to time anyway, because, obviously, not everyone checks out the website thoroughly, including my bio page.

I'm thinking about an experiment. I'm thinking about rewriting my bio page a little bit and taking my picture off for a six month period. Right now, it's fairly personable; you should check it out if you haven't yet before it's too late. My website averages almost 40 visits a day, and for the type of site it is, that's a lot of visitors, and you'd think I'd be getting calls all the time. My bio page is the 7th most visited page on my site, and people spend an average of 90 seconds there, which means they're at least reading it. But either they don't like what they read or they don't like what they see enough to call me for services, and that has to change. After all, I do have dreams and goals to get to.

So, we'll see. I have some time to think about it some more, but one of the things I've learned in reading all this material on internet marketing is that one should be testing things from time to time to see what works best. Since I'm betting that, aside from some of the comments I write, almost no one would automatically assume I was black if they read what I put on my site, it just might be a test worth trying out. The worst that could happen is that things stay as they are; I could live with that.