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Tired Of Trying To Fit Into The Corporate World

I sometimes wonder if I'm alone in feeling like I don't belong in the business world.

I have recently been laid off. I was at a small company (under 25 employees) with a corporate mentality. Prior to that I worked at a university for a little under fifteen years.

I started working very young. I had always taken pride in my work. I always thought it represented me, and me alone, before it represented a company/institution. I had tenacity and an incredible knack for learning on my feet. I originally had gone to school for graphic arts (btw, I had done horribly in school). When I started at the university, as a secretary, computers were first brought into an office scenario (at that point we were using electric typewriters); being mechanically inclined (curious and unafraid too) I quickly picked up knowledge and logical thinking and was easily able work with, troubleshoot, and train people on computers (and peripherals). I also infused humor and smiles into the office. I thought if I had to be at the workplace for the bulk of my time and be around these people day in/day out, then I want to have the best time I could. And we did. And I still hear compliments about it! This was a conscious effort.

I did work my way up the ladder. And, regretfully now, I'm sad that I didn't take advantage of the tuition remission offered to employees. Especially at this stage in my life. But, not to digress too much... I worked with college graduates of all levels - many PhDs. I came realize that (and not to dismiss the importance of higher ed.) these people (especially the PhDs) were not that smart. Not in an intellectual sense, but they seemed removed from common sense. I'm not going to get into too many stories, but, I'll give you one. A woman (PhD) came onboard to work with us. She was complaining about her office space, while working on something completely unrelated to her job, and she kept going on especially about how dark it was. I was standing in the doorway next to the light switch, which of course, was not on... The point I'm making here is, these people who walked around on these self-appointed high horses, with their noses up at everyone, were fallible humans.

So, it was at my employ at this university I learned the cruelty, meanness, uncaring manner, arrogance, and stupidity of the human nature. I had seen physical violence, mental abuse (to the point the ambulance came to take this poor woman away), and death. The death was a really nice guy who was trying to do his best. The level of stress we knew he was under was sickening. Not saying the incident was completely related, but it definitely wasn't good for him. I saw employees throw their hands up and say "It's not my job", when people (other university workers, students, and parents) ask them things. And, at times, even ignore others. They actually showed all employees a movie about how it's not right to do those things. They had to make a movie about that?!?!

My last job was great. I will not say it was my passion (actually I felt internally dead 40+ hours a week), but for what it was I loved it. The pay was phenomenal (but, like I said I worked my way up and proved myself every step of the way - actually I was earning more than most of my friends who were college graduates). But I'll also add the job was not without it's bullsh*t, I was just mostly able to keep out of it. The company was recently sold. The new VP of our department let everyone go and hired his wife, brother, sister-in-law. I'm sure we all have stories about atrocities at work.

So, here I am pouring over the job sites. I don't see anywhere I fit in. I have done everything related to computers including some programming, but I'm not up on technology now (it's hard to be, it changes so fast). And even my graphic art skills seem outdated.

But, I also am feeling anger. Anger at the corporate mentality. These things I heard and learned.

- If you don't feel like you're being treated fairly at your job, there's the door.
- We encourage you to take your (meager) vacation time, but be sure to take your laptop and blackberry. If you're brave enough to take the time off.
- You accrue vacation time throughout the year and you can't carry any time over, but you can't take the time because it hasn't been accrued yet.
- We are merging sick time with personal leave, so make sure you don't get sick or have a personal matter to attend to for more than 3 days.
- We want you staying home if you're sick (don't infect everyone) but you've been out twice already this year!! Oh, the stress of worrying about whether you should call in sick. BTW, I hadn't take a sick day in the past 3 years at work.
- We're sorry that someone very dear to you has died, but you'll have to take personal time off if you want to attend the funeral. If it was your dad (that maybe you haven't talked to in 20 years) you could have 5 days off.

Some other grand ideas (IMHO), every week/month/year give us a "Big Idea" to save the company money. So, on top of trying to make deadlines and keep clients happy we now have to invest time to think of a big idea to save them money! Isn't that their job? (My friend, who worked in a different company/different state, actually had her idea refused (because it saved the community money and not the company) and had to resubmit a new idea! She HAD to.) All these people I knew, around the same time, had this new "Big Idea" concept brought into their workplace! Tell me it's not a corporate mentality? The "Who Moved the Cheese" was a hoot! I had to sit through it at both jobs. Who moved the cheese!?!? You moved the cheese!! You *@!*&^$!!! You had me waste time looking for the cheese YOU moved?! You have now wasted your company time and money!!! Why not ask us how to make the cheese better? How create a new innovative cheese? Maybe even make the cheese cheaper? UGH! You get more from people by treating them better - again IMHO.

I was someone who gave everything to my workplace. Again, I had to be there SO much of my time. There's a line, I think from "Shawshank Redemption" - I wasn't a criminal until I went to prison. Well, I used to care about my job until I started working. Does anyone else feel this way? So burnt? I know, you don't have to say anything - be thankful you have a job. That's another one I heard - basically eat crow, but be thankful you have a job.
mSunUp mSunUp 41-45 3 Responses Feb 15, 2012

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I can totally relate - and experiencing the same right now. I cannot wait to get out and be in an environment where I can be happy...

YEs I relate. I turn 51 next week and i have had it working for a financial institution which cares less of its employees. I just got reprimanded for stating my opinion about a change at work because it may be percieved as negative to the team members. Do I work in a concentration camp? no freedom of speech?

I can totally relate. Thanks for this post.