So it turns out that years of trying to sanitise my voice to work ‘safely’ within corporate institutions that are happily lead astray down a path to evil by HR Departments, has dampened and curtailed my ability to express myself honestly and with joy. Anyone that knows me would be rolling their eyes right now, saying that there was little curtailing of my speech and much rebellion, but this aversion runs deeper than my outwardly defiant behaviour. Inwardly I fought valiantly not to conform, resulting mostly in anger and a deep inner feeling of shame. Who was I to speak out? Did I just sound like a fool? Was I closer to inspiration and creativity or just a pebble in the shoe of the corporate zombies? Years of second guessing myself and feeling defeated has put a choke hold on my freedom of expression and generated more than a little bit of unabashed resentment.
Why do corporations tout the need for creativity, innovation and personal drive, then ensure anyone exhibiting these traits is promptly diagnosed with corporate leprosy and sequestered on leprosy island?
There is much written on this topic. I quite liked the book Mavericks at Work: Why the Most Original Minds in Business Win by Bill Taylor, conveniently available on the Amazon store, which is a great read and so inspirational. But have you every tried it? If you have, my commiserations and the wounds will heal eventually. If you haven’t, think long and hard about what you are trying to achieve and assess whether being a maverick will actually aid those goals. Now I’m not saying that those of us possessed of a creative mind, the kind that sees synergies and turns them into strategies, should just shut up shop and kneel down at the foot of HR and hope they tickle your belly if you just repeat the company lines, but originality is not necessarily going to earn you a promotion and a pat on the back. The managers will fear you and call you ‘not a team player’. Your peers will try to council you and just avoid you or distance themselves. And worst of all and most crippling is the self-doubt. That is the toxic acid that will corrode your soul.
To sum up, its a tough road. But duh…
Like the beautiful song from Natalie Imbruglia, I have most certainly been left with a scar. I wouldn’t change the learnings or the experience if I had the chance to do it over. The intersection of frustration due to lack of progression and the battle to discover who I was and what I stood for, was a brutal, jagged, war zone. But I learnt and I grew and I adapted.
And now I start on the next journey: Entrepreneurship. In some ways a better fit, in other ways a challenge due to the isolation and lack of resources.
This blog, therefore, is an attempt to unlearn some of the coping mechanisms I adopted during the corporate journey and bring back to the surface that fire of individualism and tempestuousness that was once my only reality.
So, without further ado, let the 30 Day Writing Challenge begin. 🙂