How to Shed Your Corporate Skin

There was a time when I didn’t care if I got fired from my corporate job. I felt so soul-sucked-dry, so picked-to-the-bone that I couldn’t have cared less if I’d lost my only source of income. Of course, I couldn’t do that; I had and still have a family to support.

Eventually, the bitterness I’d collected over the years of working there wore me too thin; I knew I needed to make a change.

Don’t Change Just Because Someone Says You Need To

Why was I so bitter and angry all the time? Perhaps it was because I had to wear a mask in front of almost everyone I worked with – and I don’t mean, “Just be a professional” type-mask; I mean, try to change who you are as a person in order to fit their definition of what makes a ‘great’ team-member; a ‘great’ leader; a ‘great’ worker. (And oddly enough, people seemed to contradict one another).

Trying to change myself to fit what they wanted was absolutely. exhausting.

After finding another day job, one which I’m quite happy with at the moment, I promised myself I would do these things to shed my corporate skin and never put myself in that position again.

Don’t Compromise Your Values for a Job

My core values are as follows: Loyalty; Challenge the status-quo; Compassion; Boldness; and Authenticity.

Unfortunately, I felt the job only accommodated one out of five of my core values, which was compassion. Compassion is great, but it wasn’t enough to satisfy me or make me happy, which meant I needed to find a place that would accommodate my values.

I didn’t sense loyalty from the job as I saw people I respected suddenly demoted or looking for another place to work. And though one of their values was to challenge the status-quo, I saw people around me looked down upon for doing so – it was a lip-service value, unfortunately.

If you were ‘too bold’, you were told to tone it down; be more tactful (a.k.a. sugarcoat more). If you were too authentic, you were told ‘maybe that shouldn’t be shared.’

Wearing a mask all the time is absolutely exhausting. Trying to change yourself to please other people is absolutely exhausting.

If you feel you are compromising your values or your sense of self for a job, weigh out your options. Sometimes people have families to support, but if you’re coming home exhausted and depressed due to work, and that is affecting your home life as well, it may be time to look elsewhere.

Please Yourself – Not Everyone Else

When you try to please everyone, no-one ends up pleased, especially and most importantly yourself. Trying to please your boss, your co-workers, upper leadership, your customers – it can take a toll.

Know your job duties. Get them done. But in the meantime, do what makes you happy; don’t change yourself to please the people around you. It will only lead to unhappiness.

Work Toward Your Passion

What is your passion? If it’s crafts, event planning, online influencer, writing, art, or anything else, work toward that outside of your corporate job. Take steps to make the dream a reality. It might take months, it could take years to begin doing what you really want to do – but ultimately, you’ll be happier for working toward it, and even eventually doing it.

Find Safe Moments to Cut out the Bull-

Find safe moments and spaces to cut out the bull. What I mean is, if something stinks of inauthenticity, find social or creative outlets that are safe to express your frustration. If that means a venting session with your best friend, or working on a piece of art meant to express your frustration, by all means, do what needs to be done.

Unfortunately, doing this in front of people in a corporate job will, most likely, be deemed as unprofessional or worse, defamatory (I, unfortunately, know from experience.) Please be safe while cutting out the bull-.

Get Out If It’s Affecting Your Mental Health

Last but not least, find a different job if the one you have is affecting your mental health. Your mental health is so important. I liken it to staying at a job where someone is forced to stand on unsafe ladders and is constantly breaking a leg because of it; if I wouldn’t tolerate that in a job, I surely shouldn’t tolerate one that affects my mental health in such a negative way.

Leaving a job is oftentimes a game of pros and cons, but if the cons are starting to outweigh the pros, it’s worth a second look. It’s not always possible to just up and leave a job on short notice, but with proper planning, it is possible to do.

Shedding your corporate skin doesn’t mean having to leave your corporate job; it might just mean setting boundaries with your colleagues, being firm when you need to be, and speaking your mind in a professional and non-derogatory way. However, if the pressure is on and those don’t work, re-examination of your relationship to the job is something that can still be considered.

Until Next Time,

Arianne

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