By Mary Miller
A while back, I was at a conference, and one of the speakers used the word assimilation. That word makes me cringe because the expectation of someone needing to “fit into” a cultural standard often strips away much needed creativity and innovation. There are already too many people who don’t use their unique gifts to make this world a better place. Many times, in Corporate America, this is because they simply feel like they can’t. But the pressure that comes with not being yourself builds over time, and you are faced with this question: Corporate America – should I stay or should I go?
For those who find the corporate world starting to feel like a wool sweater that is gradually giving you red marks all over your upper body – well, this article is for you. Perhaps you are on your way up the corporate ladder and you’re not sure how much further you really want to go. You have been thinking more about how you want to leave your mark and what you really want to do with your life. Maybe you dream about having more time to think, more space, more autonomy, using your gifting, exploring your passions, having more freedom in your lifestyle etc. With all of these thoughts you may start seeing Corporate American as the enemy. Though more often than naught we are our own enemy because we choose not to make a choice even when we know we need to.
That is exactly what I’m going to help you do today … decide … using an unconventional approach. As Oscar Wilde once said “Life imitates art far more than art imitates Life.”
Let’s get started:
1. “Should I stay or should I go now?”
Is Corporate America a barrier to claiming your dreams, is it a part of your dreams or is it helping you to achieve them? If you know you are an Entrepreneur, deep down, start talking to those who have taken the plunge to prepare yourself. If you just need more time in your life, consider asking your boss about cutting back your hours, taking unpaid vacation (or ask for more paid vacation), going part-time, participate in a job sharing program. If there isn’t such a thing as a job sharing program work to create one. You’ll never know what is possible if you don’t ask the question.
2. “If I go, there will be trouble”
How do you handle stress? Be honest with yourself. One positive thing about being in an uncomfortable situation is that it teaches you perseverance. If you haven’t begun to master this area of your life don’t expect your dreams to fix all of your problems. Why? Because claiming your dreams also has stress associated with it. Yes it is driven by hope and passion, more so than fear, but stress is still stress good or bad. The financial and time stresses involved in claiming your dreams requires resiliency skills to navigate through these actions and decisions.
3. “And if I sta, it will be double”
Maybe your work situation is diminishing your quality of life. You have to weigh your health against the income you earn each month. Maybe taking a less stressful job is the answer. Or maybe your choice is to stay to help change the culture. Which is an admirable dream and one which takes great mental and physical resilience, determination and real love for the people you work with. Staying is often the hardest thing to do because you have to live in the current culture until it’s changed.
4. “So come on and let me know”
Maybe you read the title of this article and thought I’d tell you what to do. Sorry to disappoint but weather you stay or go is up to you. This article is meant to take you through the thought process of what is best for you and to consider both sides of the equation. Many people will tell you what you should do but you have to decide for yourself. It’s your life, your dreams, your future.
5. “This indecision’s bugging me”
Why do you want to stay? Why do you want to go? Making a decision without addressing “why” is really more of a reaction than an intentional decision. What have you been reacting to? And what are you procrastinating doing? The sooner you find out your why, the root cause for your actions, you will be that much closer to your answer.
6. “If you don’t want me, set me free”
What is the corporate culture like where you work? Is it a good fit for you? Do you need structure? Or does it suffocate you? Do you feel like when you go against the grain that it’s grounds for termination or is it welcomed and accepted? Does working in a building stifle your creativity? If you were living on your own terms what would your day look like? Where would you work? If you were free, what does that freedom look like to you? Once you know what you need you can create some of that freedom in your current and future work environments.
7. “Exactly whom I’m supposed to be”
If you have “grown up” in Corporate America your identity slowly changes as you begin to assimilate into the culture you work in. This can squash you as an individual and create a fake form of alignment within the workplace. What’s worse is that no organization, or person, can be truly aligned if they are not being their unique authentic self. Start setting aside time, start digging into your own identity. Discover who you’re supposed to be (to do that click here)
Which song verse did you most identify with? What will you decide?
Song Lyrics by The Clash, “Should I Stay or Should I Go” remaining content @2014, Mary R Miller