I have a fake personal assistant. It started almost by accident, but for 10 years has made people take me more seriously.

 For the past decade, I've been relying on a made-up personal assistant named Matt to handle emails, negotiate, schedule meetings, and reject subpar offers. The idea of Matt stemmed from an accidental assumption made by someone who emailed me through a separate account I had created for opportunities. Being a woman of color in the tech industry, I felt more confident having a fictitious white male assistant on my side. 

It helped me ask for things I wouldn't have asked for myself and garnered a level of respect that I didn't receive as Jamira. However, using a white male persona as a go-between to gain professional respect didn't always feel good.

 I reminded myself that to change the rules of the game, I had to get into the room first, and Matt helped me do that. My fake Matt was based on a real friend who moved through the world with the confidence and certainty that I wanted to emulate. Though he doesn't know he's the inspiration behind my fake assistant, I'm sure he'll find it amusing.

 I recently posted a TikTok about my experience, which has shown that many women, people of color, and those in minority groups have resorted to similar tactics. In the end, I learned that we all deserve to move through the world with the confidence of a white man and ask for what we need ourselves. But having Matt ask for us may just give us the boost we need. 

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