I have very mixed emotions…
Having “survived” another tough week emotionally, I am trying to get my head around whether or not I love or hate the corporate world. You see, my whole career has been in the corporate sector. I started working a month after writing my last matric exam. No gap year or break for me. It was go, go, go! So while most of my friends went off and studied fulltime at Wits etc., the next couple of years of my life were spent studying through correspondence as I launched myself head first into the harsh corporate world.
I say harsh because that’s what corporate life is all about. It’s tough, ruthless, cruel… where only the fittest survive. That suited me when I began my working career. It pushed me, drove me. I was very ambitious and within the last 15 years, have managed to climb the corporate ladder, having worked at the top mining company in the world, to where I am now middle manager at one of the top banks in South Africa.
Lately, however, the environment in the corporate sector has changed my views. The harshness that used to drive me, inspire me, push me, nowadays seems to kill my spirit, suffocate me. I find that I have become a very different person. Hard, cold, driven, selfish. All of these qualities which you most definitely need if you intend to “make” it in this environment.
But when do you stop and say, I’ve had enough? Is there an expiry date?
I was introduced to a new colleague earlier this week. A soft-spoken gentle looking girl, and as I shook her hand, the first thought that entered my mind was, “You will not last 6 months in this place!” (Only those who understand the corporate culture will “get this” statement.)
You see, the thing is this… If you intend to make a career for yourself in the corporate world, you had better be prepared for some tough days. In fact, the way the world has moved into a place of uncertainty and constant change, expect many days when you don’t know if you are coming or going.
But isn’t that the one thing that has kept me going? The thing that has fuelled my passion and made me love it so much?
Because I do love it… well, parts of it.