As a result of the three years I’ve spent in Corporate America, I have undergone a large mental shift. When I started in Corporate America, I viewed it as a serious place where important business occurred. And now, I see Corporate America as a place where important business, admittedly, occurs, but is taken far too seriously. This shift has had a great impact on me and my perspective of Corporate America and of my life overall.
When I started in Corporate America, my perception was a result of what I learned in undergrad. Every professor teaching my courses discussed business principles and how to act in the working world. I was being taught what to do and how to think. As a result of my experiences (or lack thereof), I didn’t know any different. I absorbed the course material and learned about business principles, which got me excited for this new world in Corporate America. I modeled my thought processes off what I learned as an undergrad, and that translated into how I thought and behaved my first year or so on the job.
Now that I have three years of experience in Corporate America, I am able to make my own judgments. My undergrad professors were absolutely correct about business principles. After all, these professors have years of experience excelling in their industry. But, they place far too much emphasis on why Corporate America is important and why I should spend so much time and energy thinking about it.
As an individual, it is important to like what you are doing, what you are working on, and who you are working with. But, ask yourself this: if your company goes under tomorrow and you lose your job, how will you feel? Likely, a little concerned for yourself and where your next paycheck will come from. But the company (ie. Corporate America) is of little concern to you as an individual. You wouldn’t lose sleep over the fact that the company failed, rather you’d lose sleep that you don’t know where your next paycheck is coming from to pay for your family vacation you’d been planning for six months.
Why does this matter? The realization that if your company goes under tomorrow and your job goes away allows you to prioritize what you want to accomplish in life and understand how work fits into that. Your job, or your company, will not be around forever, so figure out how they fit into your life as opposed to the other way around. Design your life the way you want. Once you come to terms that you have the ability to design your life the way you want and work does not dictate your time, it gets your creative juices flowing for what you want to accomplish in life and how to do it.
This realization may appear self-serving: “I don’t care about my company, I only care about myself.” At face value, it is self-serving; however, it is not that the company does not matter to an individual; rather it is that individuals value their own well-being and happiness much more than their company’s.
When you’re having a bad day at work or your manager yells at you for messing up a project, keep this in mind. By de-emphasizing Corporate America and increasing your care for your personal life and goals, you will maintain balance across your life. It will keep you less stressed on menial occurrences, like your manager yelling at you, and increase focus on what really matters to you.
How has this impacted me personally? I have been able to better prioritize my time and my energy. I want to be a better friend, family member, and boyfriend, so I deprioritize Corporate America and dedicate more time and thought to focusing on these relationships. I want to spend more time working on projects I care about (like CSU!) rather than thinking only about projects in Corporate America, so I do. While I still have plenty of responsibilities in Corporate America, I have made a decision to split my focus between those responsibilities and personal projects and objectives. This realization has provided me more mental freedom to do as I please. It also allows me to more effectively brush off bad days or conversations in Corporate America, as I understand what is most important in my life.
The point of this post is Corporate America is not the end-all-be-all of life. Is it important? To an extent, absolutely - it has widespread economic reach that influences the entire world. Does it have the power to impact millions (possibly billions) of lives? Absolutely - it produces many products that can save or improve the quality of lives. But it should not be a make or break entity that drives and powers your every-waking ounce of thought/will power and energy.
Keep Corporate America in perspective.
- How does Corporate America fit into your life?
- What activity do you do after having a bad day in Corporate America to make you feel better?