In case you hadn’t noticed, I work in the corporate world.
Well, mostly. I do a bunch of things really, especially these days when I’m branching out more, but traditionally I’ve been a corporate whore… oh, sorry, a loyal corporate employee doing my utmost to increase my employer’s profits for the good of all humanity… no, that’s not it… for the good of the environment… um, still no… what was it again… oh that’s right – for the good of all shareholders.
Ah, yes, the personal satisfaction is just so supreme.
Okay, so I’m in a sarky mood this morning. Sue me. It’s a Monday and I had to get up even earlier than usual because somebody – and I mean, which bright spark thought this was a good idea? – set a meeting for 9am on a Monday morning. Can I just repeat: 9am. Monday. Morning. What? Huh? Grrrr.
My brain does tend to only work in single syllable outbursts pre-mocha on Monday mornings. (And yes, I know 9am Monday morning is a tautology and I don’t care. See the kind of mood I’m in?)
Anyway, back to the garden path, because how could we ever start wandering off it if we aren’t quite sure we’re going down it to begin with?
The corporate world. My current employer will remain entirely nameless here, indeed, my current employer’s industry, vision statement and city of incorporation will remain entirely nameless. Hell, I’m not even going to tell you the colour of the logo at the conference half the IT team took off to in November of last year right when I really, really needed them (can you spell junket?), let alone the hemisphere in which our head office might be located. I’m even not going to tell you the title of my job, though that’s because it’s a completely wanky job title and I squirm in embarrassment every time I have to hand out a business card.
Just assume that anything I say in this blog which might on a slight chance be taken as vaguely critical of the corporate world is in no way a reference to my current entirely nameless primary employer and is instead based on previous work experience in the corporate world before I found the marvellous home of sheer employee happiness that is my current workplace. And also let me just say that everybody I work with is extremely nice, they’re all lovely people and we all working exceptionally hard for the company because it is the kind of place we all feel personally invested in and it brings us complete bliss. Absolutely nothing I might say in this blog refers to any of them whatsoever.
I luv yous all, and all that jazz. Group hug, everybody. Group hug.
Now, I don’t care if you don’t believe me, I’m stating the above disclaimer for the record anyway. See, I know I’m going out ice-skating during the thaw just by even mentioning the word “company” in a blog these days, at least by what I’ve been reading in the daily broadsheets. I read the blog post which ostensibly got Leslie Nassar (of Fake Stephen Conroy fame) fired from, well, we’ll not name the company but we will say it’s a major telecommunications organisation 51% owned by the Government. That post was very funny. It was also so mild in its corporate criticism that I am somewhat awed of the sheer imagination and fictional creativity it must have taken those who fired him to find something to be offended at within it.
Okay, so there was more to that situation than one blog post and Telstra’s henchmen (okay, we will name the company) had been scouring the interwebs to find anything to sack Nassar for ever since he made Stephen Conroy do the angry dance before the parliaments. But it’s not just one case, is it? There seems to have been a whole litany of corporate big brothers vying for supremacy in the media recently. And yes, I know Twitter-leads-to-sacking stories are the new black in technology reporting at the moment, and that some employees who comment on social networking sites to which they’ve invited work colleagues to be ‘friends’ are just plain stupid, but that doesn’t mean I’m taking any chances.
I work in the corporate world and that’s all you’re getting out of me, at least in the way of specifics.
However, in the way of gross generalisations…
I’m over it. No, not over all corporates as such, just the crap that goes with them. The murky office politics where the loudest gets the biggest budgets and the most sensitive get bullied and it all starts to imitate the primary school playground. The emotionally charged, shrill-voiced debates about standard font sizes and bullet styles and email signature blocks for internal communications, you know, the stuff the client never sees anyway. I’m over the arrogance, the snide remarks about perceived government sector inefficiencies or academic sector narrow-vision, accompanying the implication that the business world is the real world and if you’re not in there you’re not really contributing to society.
Most of all, I’m over having to drag myself out of bed early on a Monday morning to get to someone’s idea of a meeting at 9am all the way in town, when I could have achieved far more today by working from home like I’d planned.
Oh, look, it’s not all that petty, obviously, and in all seriousness my current employer really isn’t guilty of the above, that’s why I’m still with them – I chose to move on pretty quickly from those workplaces where I was not impressed with the corporate goings on. But sometimes I just wonder – what would the world have been like if I’d never done any of the things I’ve done over the last ten or so years?
Probably not all that greatly changed, really. Not that I want to give the impression my working life to date has been so much meaningless bollocks, or anything.
Look, my corporate career has been good to me. It’s provided me a middling salary, vaguely interesting work and many, many, many skills learnt. My research skills are sharp indeed and my analytical ability could be lethal in the wrong hands (you know, like in the hands of somebody who actually put effort into using it), all thanks to the experience of my working life. Without my career to date I would never have developed the truly honed sixth sense for ducking just moments before the brown and sticky hits the broad base cooling device, and that’s a transferrable skill if ever I’ve found one.
Without the corporate world I would never have learnt to appreciate the power of style over substance and understand that communication about something is often far more important than the actual something itself. Or is that just me being cynical?
Well, it is a Monday morning, after all.
Thanks to my career I bought a house when I was a single lass with a very single income, I returned to study and now I’m starting to branch out into the kind of writing I’m truly passionate about. That kind of opportunity is rare. So I’m thankful, truly thankful.
But if such branching out leads me to less time spent in the more toxic corporate environments, then let’s not think of it as a betrayal of my corporate roots. No, lets imagine it instead as a kind of decade-long one night stand with the corporate world, one where I skulk out silently the morning after, dreadfully hung-over and with sensible heels in hand, crumpled suit jacket flung over one arm and trying desperately not to wake up the career I’ve left snoring behind me.
I swear it looked so much sexier in the drunken haze of the night before, I swear it.