*Views are my own and told from my perspective of corporate life.
I knew something wasn't quite right. There I was, a little over 9 years into my corporate career, and something was...off. I was struggling with secondary infertility (a post for another time), getting ready to move into a home I had dreamed of, working for a mentor I adored, doing a job that was aligned with what I thought I always wanted, and my general feeling about my daily life was "meh." I didn't hate it, but I definitely didn't love it. And mostly I was bored. And if you know me at all, boredom is the WORST. Thing. Ever.
I'm a hustler. I've always been a balls-to-the-wall kind of girl. I set my sights on something and I will have it. It must be mine. I am relentless in the defining and achieving of my goals. I bulldozed my way into my corporate job by cold-contacting someone whose name I found online. I spent 3 months writing and perfecting my letter of introduction. I knew I had one good opportunity to get someone's attention, and I wanted to be sure I nailed it. I found just the right person based on my field of study (genetic counseling) and I emailed him my carefully crafted letter with my robust "this is why you need me" summary. Then I waited.
To my somewhat surprised delight, he responded. Long story short, it took 9 months of back and forth but a position was created for me and I was in. I loved the first few years of my job. It was in the area of genetics, which was what I had studied, and I was quickly able to establish myself as an expert in an up and coming area of interest. The corporate culture was new to me so I was fascinated by the whole thing and studied it the way I had everything in my life to that point. I networked like a madwoman and gained the respect of many influential people within the company.
As time went on, some things started to chafe. My manager and I had repeated run-ins about the hours I kept, e.g. I wasn't working "enough", but because of my efficiency and ability to get things done in a third of the time it took most people, he finally let it go. I was told I needed to "soften" my "edges" because people found me "intimidating", which over time became very clear to me meant "you act like a dude and that's cool for dudes but not for women so cut that shit out." Generally speaking, it was a good ol' boys culture. Expectations were different for men and women. What made a man successful made a woman a pain in the ass. But I refused to change in order to fit the expected female mold. I'm no good at pretending.
There were perks, though. I worked with a lot of really freaking smart people. I made a ton of friends. I learned a lot. My daughter got to attend the impressive corporate daycare. I convinced myself there was good balancing out the not-so-good.
So I accepted the not awesome parts as a fact of corporate life. And there I was in late 2013. Part 2 coming soon...