Again, all views and opinions are my own.
There I was, with a clear understanding that I was in a dead-end job. Not from a career advancement perspective, but from a mental and emotional perspective. Sadly, as I climbed the corporate ladder, how I felt about what I spent time doing each day tanked in inverse proportion.
I began to seriously dread work. When asked to describe how I was handling things, I responded by saying I felt like I was entering the mouth of a vampire every day. It was a constant drag on my energy. There were too few positives and way too many negatives on a daily basis. You could bank on some kind of shit show going down. What shape it would take wasn't clear, but it would happen. I can't count the number of times members of the team I managed or even people from other teams would stop by or request time with me. They needed someone who would listen while they talked about their frustration and exhaustion, many times in or near tears as they did so.
The huge, impossible to ignore problem was the overwhelming lack of solid leadership at so many levels. For every decent, trying-to-do-the-right-thing leader, there were several who weren't at all interested in the right thing. In fact, to them, the "right" thing was whatever made them look good, got them a seat at the table with the so-called players, and advanced their personal agenda. Period. It drove me insane. There was so little self-reflection and oddly cliquish, almost juvenile traveling in packs among some of the leadership team that it brought back the angst of middle and high school. In a work environment. With grownups. WTF.
A good friend of mine who shared my misery sent me an article that generically described the warning signs to watch for in a struggling corporate culture. The article stated something like (paraphrasing here) "When signaling that work is getting done becomes more important than actually doing the work, it's time to get out." Damn, son. That was my cue.
I won't get into the specifics here about how I got screwed multiple times in the last 12 months of my career. Even when it hurt - and it did, badly at times - I understood on a spiritual level I was being shown in no uncertain terms that this was not my place. I didn't belong in this environment. And if there's something I believe wholeheartedly, it's this:
Discomfort has a purpose. Ignore it at your peril. Do not wait for something catastrophic to happen before you make the decision you know you need to make.
All too often, people try to stay in situations they know are detrimental to them until something terrible happens. They lose their job, get sick, their relationship falls apart, etc. When the forces that be see you aren't listening, something drastic happens to get your attention. To wake you up. And then suddenly you get some perspective. But wouldn't you rather make the decision on your own terms?
So, I left. And it may surprise you to learn that I did so in gratitude. Appreciative of what I had learned, the people who were my friends, and even the people who made my life miserable, because ultimately they helped influence my decision to walk out the door for the final time. It's what had to happen so that I could step into my purpose, which is to help others get unstuck in their own lives. To see their worthiness and to know that they have every right to live a life on the terms that make them happy, boldly brave enough to do it despite what anyone else thinks.
This is by no means the end of my corporate story. I wanted to share my experience, but so much of what actually led me out the door has yet to be shared in detail. Now that you know the overview of the story, I will be sharing the specific mental and emotional challenges I had to overcome on the journey to my exit. More to come...