People say I am crazy. I make people uncomfortable because I just don't want to play the same game that I have played for the past 20 corporate years of my working life.
My well meaning friends and family call me with "suggestions" and politely asked me if I have gotten a job yet. What they really want, but what they don't want to say is, they would feel better if those six figures were rolling in. Crass. I know. But the world turns on a dime, milisecond by milisecond, literally.
The answer is, I am working on a new direction and no longer interested in soul-killing work. The fact is, this decision has been in the works for 7 years, and continues to evolve. Change takes time and lots of painstaking thought and consideration, especially when one is shedding institutional cultures, politics and thinking processes. It's like making a u-turn with a ship. It takes time.
My process began with a one year plan in 2005 to "change my job, my body and even my hair"(Died of A). Like every good and worthy planner would do, I established a plan, with strategies and actions. I soon realized that I was in search of my voice.
As a writer, I had discovered that after years of corporate mergers, convergers, joint venture experiments and restructures, none of the thoughts that I was thinking were mine. Not one.
I spent years breaking down corporate code and politics to write business plans and corporate documents that put the words of executives and boards into a language that everyone else could understand.
To my nearest recollection, I have personally written and led a compendium of voiceless corporate communications that I told myself were important to engage, educate, inspire people (and make my CEO's look good). Here is a modest summation over a 10 year period from 2000 - 2010:
- 6 award winning annual reports for a federal and provincial crown
- 2 award winning corporate plans for a federal crown
- 36 quarterly reports
- 36 quarterly strategy review meetings
- 14 corporate business plans
- 14 corporate roll out presentations and employee packages, including presentations, speaking notes, speeches, handouts and one page plans for each employee.
- 5 CEO performance plans
- 14 sets of initiative plans (note: I continue to mispell the word "initiative" every time I write it. That should have been a sign that it's not a real word.)
- 80 corporate planning meeting facilitations with executives and boards
- 40 corporate planning meeting facilitations with directors and managers
- 20 planning meeting facilitation for non profits, credit unions and other clients outside of the corporate environment.
All of the above required developing and leading intricate processes that were timed to precision in order to "facilitate" the proverbial corporate hill climb, while managing those who did not agree with the corporate hill's direction, those who were on another hill, and some of whom did not know there was a hill.
My job was to lead the boards, executives and management teams through the process and write the words that everyone meant to say, and deliver them to the CEO. I took great pride in my work and believed it was important work. I believed that well constructed and communicated plans would help companies create meaningful work environments for their employees.
Ownership is the first rule of a successful planning process. The work was "owned" by the executives and boards, as it was their accountablity to lead, and mine to facilitate their leadership. Unfortunately, my work was sometimes unrecognized, since part of my job was also to make others believe it was their own words and ideas on the page in order to get their approval. That was the point, after all.
When I look at those documents, I do not recognize them. I remember creating them, but I am the invisible, nameless, faceless facilitator, communicator, planner and creator that put the words into the corporate conversation.
So, I decided that enough was enough the last time my contribution was disregarded, when my former boss told me that doing my job was "not that difficult". Needless to say, I let him find out for himself.
So when you ask why I am no longer playing that game and marching up the corporate hill, the answer is that I am no longer interested in that march.
I believe the next generation of workers will and are rejecting the old corporate power and control philosophies and that the work of the future will be soul based and created with purpose, for purpose. And that's my voice.