Why you need corporate experience

After reading my posts and my book, you may think I am anti-corporation in my viewpoints. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Corporate life is a necessary and vital part of your career life cycle.

If you haven’t worked in a big corporation or a big agency, you will not have the breadth of experience to appreciate the forces that operate within such a group. That experience, although it can be painful and psychically damaging, is a challenging but essential part of developing an understanding of your full capabilities and limits.

I dare say that most of us, even the best and brightest, need to work for a big organization to understand the ins and outs of career success. There are a few, like Bill Gates, who can drop out of school and bypass the whole industrial experience, because they are bright enough to create their own industry.

For the rest of us, corporate life is like a rite of passage. We do
it because our families or friends expect us to do so. We charge in and
we give it our best. A few learn the real insider’s game and enjoy it.
Others develop products or handle customers against all odds until they
find that they have poured years down the drain and they have little to
show for it.

My whole point in writing Danger – Quicksand: an unconventional guide to surviving corporate employment is to prepare corporate employees to take their lives back and get them under control.

Corporate employment can be a vital part of your work experience –
as long as you don’t lose your sanity and your family in the process.
If you can get in, learn from the experience and then get out while you
are still sane enough to put your experience to work, you will succeed
famously.

Corporate life can be like quicksand. If you are careless, it will
engulf you and smother your initiative and leave you begging feebly for
help. If you are determined and lighthearted, you will sense when the
ground under your feet is liquifying and you will be off to higher
ground with no harm done.

On the other hand, there are always those who enjoy being told what
to do, how to do it, and don’t mind being made wrong on a daily basis.
You are not among them if you are reading this.

Enjoy corporate life if it is working for you. When it loses its
charm, there are many other options. This weblog is devoted to
exploring them.

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0 Responses to Why you need corporate experience

  1. Carrie says:

    Just one comment about being careless. It’s rarely the employee but rather the employer who practices without care – for others, for fairness, even basic human decency.

    And in cases like mine, which are all too common, no matter careful a career person is, there are still pitfalls due to others. And we don’t have any control over that unfortunately.

  2. By careless, I did not mean sleeping on the job or making mistakes in your work. When I said careless, I meant careless in the sense of ignoring signs that all is not going well.

    Another, perhaps too graphic example. I have seen food animals chomping contentedly while one or more of their companions were being led or carried away for slaughter.

    Keeping your head down and working away in your cubicle will not save you from the fellow they send in to offload you. When that happens, you failed to notice that the managers had stopped listening to you some time ago.

    A company does not take that long last dive without lots of creaking in the hull and the scurry of the brighter rats jumping overboard. Don’t be the last rat… šŸ™‚

  3. Dee says:

    Hi David

    I like this site and have been perusing your online book. I just wanted to say that although I’m working in a corporate environment, I haven’t found it to be a good barometer for me in terms of possibilites and/or limitations. I’m young and have only been in the corporate world since 1999, that is after graduating college. Sometimes, I can’t help thinking that college was a big waste considering the lousy corporate jobs I’ve been in. Now I think of “jobs” as something that I need to pay off my student loans. I have ceased to think of jobs as something that’s challenging, stimulating or meaningful.

    Dee

  4. I reluctantly agree with what David wrote. I also share the emotional pain evident in Dee’s letter. At 38 years old, I have been physically damaged permanently by the stress and ergonomic demands of my corporate experience. Ironically, those injuries have shut off the best temporary options I have for getting the heck out of the corporate world for good.

    I just pray I can get from corporate to post-corporate without a stroke or heart attack taking me out of the game first.

  5. Dee says:

    David wrote me: Thanks for commenting on my post. I wish you lots of luck and I really do hope you get to the post-corporate world in one piece.

    I can’t even dream of that right now, all I care about is paying off my student loans and other debts.

    With all the misery most corporations and various workplaces put people through, why do we still endorse the whole idea of working in general? Isn’t there a better way to live, to survive? I often think of all the junk being produced through our jobs and deluding ourselves that we’re productive because we work to produce something that’s profitable. I’m aware that there are essential jobs out there such as teachers, doctors, police, firefighters, etc that don’t necessarily produce junk, but I’m talking mostly about corporate jobs, which is the only field of experience I’ve been involved in. But what’s the point? Most of it is garbage, when you think about it. It gets consumed and chucked out in the nearest garbage can. Or it just lies around in warehouses collecting dust. And the saddest thing about all of this is how people in the workplace abuse, manipulate, intimidate, push people around…you name it, they do it. And for what? So that we have piles of papers all over the place and ships bringing in more junk for purchase at a nearby mall?

    I admit my guilt to buying in on consumerism. Sure, those earrings or that purse is gorgeous and I may succumb to my desires by running to the nearest mall and purchasing it as fast as possible. But sooner or later, those earrings fall apart and that purse is a pain to work with. And they usually go in the trash if they’re not salvageable. Someone, somewhere worked in an office and a factory to produce those goods. They probably get kicked in the face (figuratively speaking) and pushed around in the name of “productivity”, on a daily basis. But in the end, they, like me may have this empty, discontent feeling in their lives that they’re missing something essential in life and that what they are doing now, doesn’t matter at all.

    I don’t know…there has to be a better way to make a name for yourself than saying that you’re a glorified paper-pusher at some corporation or that you’re a workaholic.

    I think there’s more than enough work to go around in this world to occupy everyone part of the time.That can include essential jobs such as doctors, police, firefighters, teachers, etc. What’s so bad about that? Why not just kill the 40 or 60 hour work week? Why be greedy?

    I really don’t see the validity of identifying oneself with a “career” anymore. I just see it as economic servitude dressed up as a juicy 24K carrot at the end of the stick. There has to be more to life than this “work culture”. All we’re doing is assisting those very few at the top towards untold wealth. What’s so bad about leisure?

    We’re just hamsters spinning on a hamster wheel thinking we’re doing the world good.I’m not so sure that we are.
    —–
    PING:
    TITLE: Happiness
    URL: http://bermans.blogs.com/opinion/2005/02/happiness.html
    IP: 66.151.149.17
    BLOG NAME: My kids’ Dad
    DATE: 02/10/2005 09:34:43 PM
    Carly Fiorina is gone and Linda is relieved.

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