And I Am a Better Person For it
I hopped off the merry-go-round known as Corporate America. OK so technically, they pushed me off the damn thing, kicking and screaming, but I AM a better person because of it. I promise.
When I was in the thick of my workaholic corporate days I was skinny- so skinny. I sported a pixie haircut, Anne Taylor sheath dresses, and 4-inch heels, every day. Walking the halls of Corporate America with a leather laptop bag and an attitude, I fucking rocked!
I traveled for work 90% of my time, which meant I had NO FUCKING LIFE! (This post has a lot of swearing, I am still pissed off about how I allowed my life to be! Sorry friends!) But I thought I was a bad ass- and honestly? Come on! I was! I negotiated with unions in West Virginia, and Rochester, NY. I redesigned a national commercial sales customer service organization into a well-oiled machine that gave sales people freedom to sell by giving my people more responsibility (and commission!) for the day to day maintenance of customers. It was a HUGE culture change. One of my subordinates was a man who had been working at the company longer than I had been alive… You can imagine how THAT went over!
And then one day, it was over. Done. Kaput. October 2010. (Looking back a lot of significant changes have happened in my life in October.) It was the big recession, and despite all the things I had contributed, and despite having worked at the company since my very first “real job,” more than 16 years, I got the call. It was all over. I was only 38. Thankfully life had been preparing me for this, without me realizing it, and I felt a lot less devastated than I might have.
So now, 8 years later, I can look at my life and see how I have become a better person since leaving Corporate America.
Traveling 90% of my time did not leave me much time for myself let alone for maintaining meaningful relationships. Of course, I had friends, I am that kind of person. But I never really had time to connect with them on a deeper level. Today, I am able to spend time with each of my close girlfriends and my romantic partners every week, sometimes more than once.
The other day one of my girlfriends called, devastated about a relationship gone awry. She came over in the middle of the afternoon for a comfort snuggle, and then I tucked her into my comfy chair for a nap to soothe her heart. I guarded her sleep and worked on my laptop on the couch. I never could have done that if I was still in Corporate America. I am able to be a better friend now.
Sure, I used to be super skinny and I am not anymore. But my level of self-care now is 100-fold better. I frequently meditate. I never wake with an alarm. I sleep 8–10 hours a night depending on what I am doing and how much sleep I need. I get outside and walk, often. (Mostly because I live in a very walkable city and don’t have a car and I take public transportation. But it gets me outside and enjoying fresh air regularly.)
I deleted all those email newsletters I religiously subscribed to as a sales person/sales trainer/Director of Sales Support; Networking 101, Managing Stress the Easy Way, Find Your Purpose, Make More Sales Today, Earn More Money Now, Tips for Better Sleep, Daily Motivational Quotes, 10 Things You Have to Do Today to Be Successful, etc. You know those emails. The ones that say they are helping you live a better life, but in the end, they want to sell you a “quick fix” for a life too busy and too stressful to be either healthy or happy. Today I only received three newsletters, DailyOm, Elephant Journal, and my Daily Tarot/Horoscope.
I don’t worry about “finding my purpose” anymore. I don’t wonder if my life has meaning. I live my life authentically. I rarely do something I don’t want to do. I indulge my fantasies, my responsibilities, and adventures as often as I need to or want to. My purpose is manifested in every path I take in the moment.
The friend I spent the most time with was my boss. She was my work wife, my friend, and the person I was with both in and out of work. We talked about work, all the time. Sure, we talked about life and other interesting things, but to us, work was the most interesting thing. Working for her, I had advanced in my career more rapidly than at any other time. I owed her loyalty and since we were both new in town, we had found in each other insta-friends.
The problem was, when I hung out with other friends, I didn’t have much else going on in my life, so I didn’t have much else to talk about either. I bored a lot of people with work stories.(Of course, traveling 90% of my time for work, meant I didn’t have a lot of friends outside of work anyway, so maybe it wasn’t as big of a problem as I think it was.)
Now, my life is full of travel, friends, romance, and I live in a huge amazing international city. I have a lot of different topics to talk about, and believe me, I like to talk!
I have always been pretty authentic and as true to myself as I could be in the various circumstances of my life, but since I left Corporate America, I have had the opportunity to grow and change in ways that would never have been possible if I was still a cog in the machine. I am very blessed to have been pushed off the merry-go-round as young as I was. I still have so much in front of me to explore and learn and ways to grow!