I’ve been there. Done that. I can’t stand the feeling of being a highly paid worker drone! I even wrote a post about leaving corporate a year ago, which got me into a bit of trouble as I made my exit from that world.
No matter how hard I tried to be satisfied with the daily grind, I was disillusioned with the reality that I would need to climb the ladder and “put in my time” there if I wanted to rise to the top. I might have been able to stick it out (or maybe not) if I had not been made to feel like a drone. I was just another cog in the wheel of a machine that was all about making money. Don’t get me wrong. That is the core element of big business, but if I’m going to work for someone else, I want to feel like it’s for a good cause that is “bigger than myself.” Most corporate settings cannot provide that gratification.
Yes, I am part of Gen Y. Many of us want to feel that type of satisfaction with our careers. If a company cannot provide it, we move on. Plain and simple. Some of us try our hand at entrepreneurship. Others of us leave corporate for a startup. Type A’s start their own companies. There are lots of in-betweeners, who attempt to blend a day job with one or more side gigs.
We will not be content to be worker drones.
Here are a few facts and myths I have discovered along the way to realizing my own potential in the workforce.
Fact: When you work for someone else, you are building their dream.
This one makes my skin crawl, but it’s true. You are exchanging your time and life blood to make someone else’s vision a reality, which is fine if you respect their vision. It’s not okay if you don’t.
Myth: The money will make up for your values not matching your employer's.
It doesn’t. I’ve made six figures in my mid-20s, and it does not make up for the mismatch between my values and the company. Don’t sell yourself out.
Fact: If you decide to build someone else’s dream, be sure you are aligned with their vision and values.
I wish I would have discovered this earlier in my career. Since I’m a Gen Y, vision and values are a critical component for me. I am very choosy about who I align myself with in the Mindi Zone and in my career.
Myth: You need to put in your time before you move forward in your career or leave your company.
Nope. You can zig zag your way to the top. I’ve done it, and I know a lot of others in my generation who have done the same. We break the conventional rules and are rewarded for it.
Fact: If you are patient and picky, you can land a job at a company with values that you align with.
If you want a day job at an amazing company, do your research. Don’t jump at the first chance for a big title or a big salary. Must you choose between more money and rewarding work? Not always, but sometimes.
Myth: You cannot have it all at the same time.
I once believed that you could have it all, but just not at the same time. On the contrary, there are numbers of men and women who really do have it all AND at the same time. It’s all about the choices that we make.
Disclaimer: Don’t show these to your boss if you want to keep your corporate gig. *wink wink*
Your Turn: What facts and myths have you discovered on your path to a counterculture career or path to self-employment? Leave your comment below or shoot me an email.