Does anyone else have moments when they feel trapped? How you can’t imagine doing your job for 30 more years? I felt that way every day on my commute.
Is it because I’m an introvert, where being stuck in an office for 8 hours is draining? Or that I can accomplish my workload in half the time so I’m stuck in politics, unproductive meetings, or pandering to out of touch execs?
It’s not the work that makes me feel trapped — I love the strategy, the creativity that comes with working in my industry. It’s the structure/establishment. A structure that was made for my dad, that has metastasized into our psyches and lives.
When my dad worked there were no computers or emails, it was memos and phone calls. Maybe you took papers home, but once you left (which was always early), you left your work in your office (your OWN office, with a door!). There were perks: pensions, club memberships, long lunches, fun corporate trips, a salary that supported owning a house and a family in LA.
Today, we get hundreds of emails that follow us home continuing to flood our inboxes overnight and on weekends, schedules packed with meetings where you wonder when you’ll actually work, texts at any time (they love to text when you’re on vacation). Where taking lunch is revolutionary. No pension (what’s a pension?). You’re lucky if you get hired full-time with health benefits. 401k? Maybe after a decade chipping at student loans. Own a house? LOL! I don’t have enough space to talk about what pregnant /nursing/ moms endure.
How numb do we have to get to survive this? How much to we have to lose ourselves? I created a strict routine so I could be a robot and I put myself into autopilot. Every morning on that drive I wondered, who am I really? Is this it?
The day before I start working, I’m reflecting on how much has changed. They deprived me of 1/3 of my annual salary during a pandemic—I’m not bitter at my colleagues or even my leadership—it wasn’t them, it was the board. And it was invaluable: because with that loss, I gained my self. I will fight to keep her, and I won’t lose her again.
At this point, regardless of covid’s destruction in the near-term, I don’t think I ever want to “go back to normal.”