5 Things the Corporate World Taught Me

If you’re sitting at your 8-5 desk job right now reading this, I’m forewarning you will either 1) agree with everything I’m about to say or 2) be affirmed that your “corporate” job isn’t like the rest. If you’re currently miserable with the rigid structure of your 8-5 and dream of the day when you can walk into something new, I promise you that your time is coming. All seasons do come to pass.

My enneagram is a 7w8. In short, I’m a person who thrives on creativity and rarely appreciates stiff structure and traditional mindsets. Most associate these characteristics with being a “millennial” but I’m gonna smash that stereotype in the face right now.

The things that the corporate world taught me aren’t reliant on the fact that I was born in 1994. However, they are influenced by my “young” age and “minimal experience” and “reluctance” to follow other peoples lead. I’m not writing this to give a big middle finger to people in the corporate world. I’m writing this to encourage young professionals that their value should not be determined by what other people say or believe their value is. Period. 

1) your value is dictated by your age, not your ability to lead

I’m going to start with this point, because I need young dreamers to slash the lies that have been told to them. If you have ever submitted to someone telling you that you CANT do something because of your “experience” or your “age” I need you to say out loud: I am capable. I am gifted. I am powerful. I am loved.

Believe in yourself above all else. If you do, you will do the things that the people who told you that you CANT, never could have dreamed of doing. Leadership is a gift, not a skill. Young leaders, you have been given something very special. Let others be intimidated by you, but never let others tell you what you can or can’t do. You are powerful, but you relent that power when you give others the ability to decide for you.

2) the word “clique” is used when upper management sees young women collaborating together too often

Like my enneagram says, 7s are deeply reliant on relationships. Not a lot of relationships, but quality ones. When in a management role, those relationships can be viewed as “favoritism” or “cliques”. Don’t worry though, you know your intentions better than anyone. So go with your gut. I’m not encouraging pushing other people out of your circle if you are in management, because everyone deserves a seat at the table. But everyone has a different seat, if you get what I’m saying.

3) not every battle is worth fighting

Control, manipulation and deceit are tactics that humans will use to get their way. You’ve done it, I’ve done it. We’ve all experienced each of these in different ways. But calling out people on their BS doesn’t always get the upper hand. Again, you have the power to chose where your energy goes. So chose it wisely. Even the worst situations don’t deserve your attention or your counsel, most of the time.

4) Influence is an art

Telling people what to do and how to do it is not the best form of influence. It might be easiest, but it rarely gets the job done. Who you are, how you carry yourself, and how you treat others will go lengths next to your words. Love yourself first. I’m going to remind you though, not everyone is going to like you. And that is okay.

5) actions speak FAR louder than words

Light always wins. If you feel the darkness creeping in and taking over your current workplace, your exit plan is in the works. Never lose sight of the desires in your heart and commit to finding joy even in the deepest darkest seasons of your life. Don’t let other people make you believe that misery with a good paycheck is where you should spend your career—no matter how great the benefits.

YOU are worth more than other people’s opinion of you and YOU have the power to chose your identity. YOU are a young professional that is going to change the world. Keep dreaming and don’t let other people who are intimidated by your passion stop you in your tracks. It’s a hard hole to dig yourself out of, trust me.

Now, I can sit here on the other side and say these things with confidence. But in the midst of this season of my life, I couldn’t tell you which way was up. Now, I sit here on my couch with my pup close by, running the business I have always dreamed of. I’m working to add value to the world and to the people at my table. Need a seat? Grab one, and come on in.