round after shattering round of layoffs. Although she was spared, her move to Pitney Bowes in 1992 had clearly been a matter of survival. In 1996, calling on those same instincts, she began passing around her resume within Pitney Bowes while also circulating her modeling portfolio, and landed several jobs. “It really helped me deal with the stress and uncertainty of my job,” she says. It also made her much more visible than she had anticipated.
By the time Clarke landed her current position as a commodity management engineer, her face was plastered across local city buses and on a billboard around the corner from Pitney Bowes’ offices advertising a managed healthcare company Clarke, who had wisely kept her other career to herself, was concerned. “I wasn’t sure how people would percieve it,” she says. “I didn’t want them to take to take me less seriously or feel that I wouldn’t take my job here as seriously becauseof it.” Bowman says Clarke had good reason to be apprehensive. “It’s really better if your employer and peers don’t know [about your other career] because peers are likely to get jealous and your employer may question your commitment to them,” she says. “The reality, which employers don’t yet get, is that your. productivity is enhanced because you’re happier, and you’re forced to be more organized.”
The responses Clarke got were mixed. “Some people asked why I didn’t just do [modeling] full time. Others said they thought it was great, but I still wonder if they really meant it,” says Clarke. Whatever their comments or questions, she did what experts advise: never volunteer more information than necessary. “I’m an engineer,” she says. “My job at Pitney Bowes is in no way impacted by my modeling There is some financial benefit to it, but that’s not why I do it. Most people in corporate America play golf or tennis. I do this for the same reason — because I like it.”
AN ANTIQUE PRESCRIPTION FOR SUCCESS
LaCheryl Cillie has encountered outright difficulty from colleagues who, she says, were jealous of her parallel successes. Cillie, who is a licensed pharmacist for Eckerd Drugs in Birmingham, Alabama, is also one of the few African American auctioneers and certified appraisers in the country.
About a year ago, as her weekend estate sales business began heating up, a pharmacy partner started making remarks and became very uncooperative with trying to accommodate Cillie’s busy schedule. “I think he thought I was making a lot of money on the side,” she says.
Cillie, who earns $60,000-plus a year as a pharmacist, admits that her estate sales business is lucrative. Estate owners can net from $10,000 to $30,000 from the sale of basic furnishings, jewelry, linen and clothing, and more if there are valuable antiques involved. Her take is 20%-30% of the gross, but Cillie spends at least as much time and energy educating African Americans about the value of their ordinary possessions as she does auctioning them off. She recently co-authored a book on the subject