Leaving Corporate America
I have no intentions to bitterly rant about how much I hated my corporate work, rather provide the real reasons I left.
I grew up with this self-imposed expectation that if I went to college, I was bound to be successful, get a great corporate job and make money. I believed that money + success = happiness or was it money = success & happiness. Regardless, I was wrong.
Let’s fast forward through 15 years, from the time I graduated college and landed my first corporate job as a Human Resources Assistant (glorified secretary), through working my first “remote” gig during the dotcom boom and getting laid off when they all went bust, going back to grad school because I was convinced that technology was the place to be to make money and up to the day I realized that my expectations of corporate America and reality were completely out of alignment.
The years began with feeling important about going to work in a big office building, wearing business clothes and drinking Starbucks every day. This was exciting. Computers, supplies, spending accounts. I had made it!
I learned the ins and outs of every area of product management, product marketing, sales, quality assurance and training. I travelled all over the world, presented to executives at Goldman Sachs, trained staff at Los Alamos National Labs and New Zealand Air, spoke in front of auditoriums full of people and worked beside some of the smartest people I’ve ever known. Toward the end of my corporate tenure I found myself working for one of the largest software companies in the world.
By this time I had what some might consider a dream job. I worked from home, made 6 figures plus bonus and stock options, and had resources at my disposal. Problem was, I didn’t feel successful and I didn’t feel happy. I felt like I was suffocating. Like I was being held underwater and no one could hear me? I wasn’t challenged nor satisfied. I was experiencing bureaucracy and politics that I couldn’t make sense of. It felt awful and I was lost in my career.
New projects would provide a very short-lived excitement, I loved the friendships and relationships I’d formed with fellow colleagues, but something was missing. I often wished I was back at the grocery store where I worked during high school and college scanning and bagging, scanning and bagging.
I was miserable, frustrated, disappointed and taking it out on my family. When my husband came home from work he wanted to see me smiling, happy and enjoying life. Instead he saw someone who was full of complaints and negativity.
I realized that my only true measure of success was my position in these corporations. I made my life about climbing the corporate ladder and making money so that I would feel successful and happy.
And, I was neither.
My expectations didn’t align with the reality of corporate America. In both my professional and personal relationships I am a truly committed person, but I was being forced to be a compliant employee, a robot, an order taker. It wasn’t working for me. I thrive in environments where initiative, thinking outside the box, innovation and creativity are encouraged and celebrated.
This was a defining moment for me. I had outgrown the corporate world and there was something more important for me out there. Something that I couldn’t silence any longer.
It wasn’t an easy decision to leave corporate and start my own business. I did not grow up with any entrepreneurial influence and I had this ingrained belief about scarcity. But, for me, the major expectations I had of corporate America, including creativity, collaboration, success, happiness, were not reality. The reality was uninspired mediocrity.
Financial security is very important to me. I’ve worked extremely hard for the level of financial freedom I’ve achieved and I was not willing to give that up. I knew I didn’t love my job though. What I loved was my income. It took me a long time to realize that what I loved even more than the money was happiness and staying true to myself.
I had to precisely plan my departure. For the next several months, while continuing my full-time work, I put the business foundation for Launch in place.
However, the comfort and security that came with my current position was still causing me to procrastinate. It was a security blanket and I used it as an excuse over and over again. What about insurance? What about my bonus? Maybe I’ll be asked to do something worthwhile. There was always some reason why it wasn’t time to leave.
Eventually, my happiness and my newfound definition of success couldn’t be stifled any longer. I was done giving up precious time to work on things that didn’t align with my goals, living in fear of going without and fearing failure. I was ready to chase my vision and live my life as the committed person I was on the inside rather than compliant person I had been forced to be.
I’ve never felt a sense of relief, excitement and nervousness all at once quite like the day I resigned.
Launch came from a place of commitment. Commitment to making a difference, commitment to chase my vision and a commitment to helping organizations and individuals achieve their vision. My expectations for the corporate world were not reality and I had no control over that. I have committed myself to leaving a well-paying, benefit filled corporate career because of my inability to conform to mediocrity and compliance. If I’m this obsessed with my own expectations, imagine the expectations I set for myself when working with my clients.
I know I made the right choice and I will relentlessly elevate my life and business to achieve success.
I hope that if you have any of these same sentiments, you too can take the leap, commit yourself and follow your own special vision.
I love to hear from like-minded folks, so please reach out and let’s chat!