Disclaimer: There are plenty of people in this world that do very well in corporate settings, I just want to warn you ahead of time that if you happen to be one of those people then this post is not for you. Though if you want to keep reading at your own risk that’s cool with me.
I lasted six months in a corporate job before I really knew it was all a load of crap. I then moved to a small business that deals with hiring for big corporate companies all the time.
I’ve been silent about this stuff for a long time. Mostly because I didn’t want to offend anyone, but also because I wasn’t sure what kind of footing I had within my own business. Now that my income is primarily coming from my own endeavors I can now see the faults of Corporate America more clearly.
“When stock markets drop ten points it’s ‘a tragedy’, when one man dies it’s the norm” ~ Pope Francis
Why Your Corporate Job is a Sham
There Is No Such Thing As Job Security
Despite what Corporate America would have you believe there is no such thing as job security and there never was. Your job is never guaranteed. They go through budget cuts, mergers, lay offs, or fire people just because some new asshole in upper management felt like it. They can change policies on a whim which may have you out in the cold.
You’re Getting Screwed in Pay
You work for a company for X amount of years, making them more money while you wait to get approved for a bonus, only for them to hand you a nice big fat pink slip.
Or, depending on where you live, companies who are sitting on billions won’t shell out the money for someone to find them a good candidate thus putting the financial burden on agencies and job candidates; candidates who may not have the extra money for someone to help them find a job because maybe they’ve been out of work. If the company is paying for it then it’s probably coming from your pay. How backwards is that? (I live in Florida which is not very employee friendly. It is my understanding that it is totally different in states like New York.)
And what about companies that suddenly say “Oh okay well we’ve got a new policy in place so we’re going to withhold your commissions for now” which significantly cuts what an employee takes home for any given amount of time.
If you run your own business you give yourself a bonus whenever the hell you feel like it by putting in a little more elbow grease. No need to wait four months for a company to decide whether or not you can make an extra 25 cents an hour.
It’s All About the Bottom Line
Pope Francis has recently been railing against corporations for putting money above people. Marianne Williamson has also been doing the same . Thousands of people got together not that long ago to protest against Monsanto for the same reason. And it sickens me to realize that they are all 100% right.
In Corporate America it’s all about the bottom line. They may have been told for decades to spend less, but they don’t cut back on jet planes. Instead, they cut back on employees, trying to get more done with less people.
I for one run my own business and handle sales entirely differently. And I know several other entrepreneurs who do as well. [You can actually check out our book Self-Promotion Sucks (But It Doesn’t Have To) to learn how we do this]
You Have to Ask for Permission to Live Your Life
I don’t know about you but I sure as hell don’t want to be asking anyone for permission to go to a gyno appointment. If I were a parent it would probably infuriate me to ask for permission to take my sick kid to the doctor.
On the other hand if you’re running your own show you can take your vacation, go to the doctor, and workout whenever you damn well please. My friend Diana runs her own business and has taken trips to Southeast Asia and Paris without having to ask anyone for permission. Jenny Blake has taken her work to Bali. I no longer have to ask for permission if I need to go to the damn doctor and I work out whenever I feel like I need to move my body.
It’s Ass Backwards to Wait Until Retirement to Start Living
It’s so sad when I hear people who have a countdown to retirement. They think once they are done working then they can start living their lives. Here’s a newsflash: you don’t even know if you’re going to make it to retirement in this life. And going back to my first point, you don’t even know if you’ll be retiring from the company you currently work for.
Corporate is Not Conducive to Family Life
Sheryl Sandberg made a huge splash with Lean In. Since then countless of bloggers and writers have put their two cents in the work vs. family debate. I read the book, and while I will point out that Sheryl Sandberg has worked in tech which is more laid back and progressive than much older companies perhaps making it a little easier to get pregnancy parking or daycare facilities approved, she also makes an excellent point in several interviews: this is not solely a women’s issue, it’s a family issue.
Corporate is not conducive to family life. Period. Point blank. Daycare is through the roof, making it easier for many moms to just stay home (I’ve had many friends from college go through this already). That whole “It’s Covered in Your Salary” bullshit that has you working 14 hours a day will also put a serious strain on your family life – something many of us have seen happen with our fathers.
I have coached women who have flat out said “If I can make the same amount of money working from home so I can be with my 9 month old baby I’ll do it.” And you know what? There is no damn reason why they shouldn’t.
Everything Operates On Competence (Or Incompetence Depending Which Way You Look at It)
There’s a reason why people say “There’s plenty of room at the top.” It’s because we’re operating in a work system where you’ll survive if you’re merely just average. That’s right, if you’re too good you rock the boat and then management doesn’t like you meaning you may be out of a job- or they’ll just take advantage of your skills and not give you that promotion or pay raise.
In Julie Clow’s The Work Revolution she makes an excellent point – most companies are still operating under policies made for people without a college education. It is now my belief that they actually prefer it this way – it’s kind of like how we coined the political term useful idiot to describe Soviet sympathizers, just in a ferociously capitalist setting.
Bottom line: Corporate America digs useful idiots and their policies may just make you one.
I don’t know about you but I’ve only got one life to live and I sure as hell don’t want to be just average. In fact, I believe people have way more to offer than they are allowed to express in traditional work settings.
Your Health Gets Put on the Back Burner
The Miami Herald recently published an article stating that somewhere around 80% of employees are unhappy. We’ve also had reports coming out about how open floor planning is allowing illness to spread more rapidly among company employees. Not to mention that sitting in a windowless cubicle is just down right depressing for anyone.
Our bodies need to move. There’s no way around it. Sitting at a desk for 8 hours a day under flourescent lights won’t help you do that. The documentary Hungry for Change actually dedicated an entire segment to how Corporate America set ups and the way we view work are currently ruining our health.
So I ask you, would you rather work at a corporate job that has a false sense of security, is screwing you over in pay, wants to do more with less employees, takes time away from the shit that actually matters, and is messing with your health?
I didn’t think so.
I would like to say a couple of acknowledgements for inspiring this piece. First, Pope Francis for spending much of his papacy railing against an economy of idols and consumerism. Second, Ashley Ambirge for writing this little number that lit a fire under my ass. And lastly, my spiritual coach Misti Patrella who has heard me go off about this stuff and told me I should just write it already.
This is stuff that I always felt deep inside. It’s also stuff that was instilled in me from a young age as I saw my immigrant parents put up with a lot of bullshit for a paycheck. My entire life my mother has told me “Don’t ever work for someone else. Figure out how to make your own rules.” So that’s what I’ve been trying to do for years and I’m proud to say that I’m helping others do the same.
At the end of the day our lives shouldn’t revolve around our jobs. Instead, our careers – which is very different from a job – should be a part of our deliciously awesome lives.