About 8 years into my career with GE, I almost jumped ship. It had been a turbulent year with 3 bosses in 14 months.
I had been working with a coach for approximately 3 months at that point. I was navigating a culture that was wired to suppress me, and it was making me crazy. At one point, I was given the feedback from my VP that I “needed better situational awareness”, which was code for the fact that I was a woman and shouldn’t talk as much. However, instead of giving me that feedback face to face, he hid it behind my boss – forcing her to figure out how to give it to me.
I was out of balance, working 10 hour days and feeling guilt if I left before 6pm. I didn’t have a model for balance, especially for the women in the office. They were actually the worst. Sharp, critical, short-fused, and micromanagers – these are the characteristics of the women I was surrounded with, from my peers to the VP level.
I had started to deepen my mindfulness practice the year before, and had only been meditating in earnest for about 6 months at this point. Out of nowhere, I got a recruiting call from a huge player and got whisked away to several rounds of interviews with top executives at a very prestigious organization.
It was a corporate romance of sorts. A different take on the energizing reset I talk about here. They were a much more “woke” enterprise, with green spaces on the roof of their corporate headquarters and organic vegetables in the cafeteria – a far improvement from the campus I was at with GE. We didn’t even have a decent cafeteria in the office.
The process lingered, with different trips to a midwestern town and long interview rounds during each trip. As the process went on, I started to mourn my time at GE even though I hadn’t left. It was the first time I truly considered leaving, and I was flooded with the ups and downs of my experiences there. I will never forget the sense of utter loss I felt at the Christmas Party for our division that year. I went home in tears and couldn’t shake the sadness for days.
The length of that process gave me a chance to really dwell in the feelings, and what came out of that space was a thoughtful exploration of the ways I was being suppressed at GE. My energy was being blocked, and I had a very keen awareness of the drivers at that point – otherwise, I would have never taken the recruiter’s call in the first place. There was an imbalance in how much energy I was contributing, and what was being returned to me by the organization.
The timing of these events could not have been better. As things slowed down for the holidays, I got into a really reflective mode in preparation for the new year and its infamous resolutions. This is what unfolded….
I made a laundry list of every frustration with my current employer and situation:
- I felt overworked and undervalued
- I had several barriers for my primary project and was getting no support in mitigating them from the higher-ups
- There was 5 times the amount of work to be done than what I could possibly complete
- At every turn, I was uncovering process gaps that put the company at risk
- The people I was working with were equally overworked, and trying to get their time, and making progress was like walking through wet cement
- The toll on my health was wearing on me. I had just been diagnosed with food allergies, and my energy level was extremely low
- The toll on my relationships was also evident. I knew if I couldn’t create more space in my schedule, I would never have space for my closest relationship to establish itself as the marriage I hoped it would be
There were several others on that list, but you get the gist.
This is the first step in the Corporate Detox. It’s called Identification.
There is power in naming the ways you are negatively impacted by the influence Corporate is having on your quality of life. Identification is the process of witnessing. The most important element is to see what you don’t want or don’t like without judging or blaming yourself. Think of it as how an aunt or an uncle might view the challenges their niece or nephew is going through – intense compassion and care, with less responsibility or guilt. This is how you want to view the list as you work through this step.
Ultimately, I ended up staying with GE for another 5 years. However, this moving process helped me recognize the situations where I was giving my power away. I didn’t get through the process on my own, but I had a very clear idea of where I needed support. That clarity, in and of itself, was a turning point for me.
You can get started on your own clarity right now. Make yourself a cup of tea or coffee, and sit down with a blank page.
What are your frustrations with your current job? (This works for corporate and non-corporate, by the way.) The areas of impact might include:
- Lifestyle (amount of fun and play in your life, travel schedule, how work fits into your life, etc.)
- Physical health (amount of sleep, level of energy, physical constitution, nutrition, etc.)
- Relationships (all areas of life – family, friends, colleagues, spouse)
- Spiritual health (nourishing habits that fuel the meaning in your life)
- Intellectual growth (broadening your horizons, learning about the things that matter to you)
Give yourself an hour of quiet to really think about each area and identify what you’re frustrated with. As my favorite teacher Danielle LaPorte says, to change it you must name it.
Often, we don’t want to focus on the things that frustrate us for a myriad of reasons. You may have been taught to always be grateful growing up, or you feel uncomfortable focusing on the negative. I honestly struggle with it too. However, to access your power, you must understand where it’s going.
The key to this process is to not take action yet. Once you see it all written out, you will be very tempted to take action. You must resist. Simply write it all down, and set an intention to stay open to divine solutions. In the next blog, I’ll share ways you can then utilize this list to start to shift your experience of work. For now, relax and know you’ve taken a huge first step!
Are you interested in going through the steps of the BHS Corporate Detox together – live? I’m sending out details this Friday on the Corporate Detox Retreat taking place March 1-4 of 2018. Make sure to email me or comment below that you’re interested. I can’t wait to share this process with you LIVE and in community.