Overview of the Problems and General Recommendations
Many professionals start their careers working for corporations and many of these professionals learn very quickly, that in spite of all their studies, hard work and dreams, that everything is politics and very little has anything to do with talent or qualifications. Employees of private corporations at all levels are subjected to very difficult working conditions and capitalistic philosophies of the profit motive with very little thought and no consideration given at all to the people themselves. Private corporations have always been known for "hiring" and "firing", skimping benefits when necessary and reorganizing. The extent of the corruption was kept very quiet until recently. Lately we have been more fortunate thanks to the press. Information has been exposed and everyone is more aware how corrupt organizations are in real life. We are also somewhat more certain of exactly what types of people we are dealing with and that the problems are on national and international levels.
The stories of greed and corruption exposed by the media regarding Enron, Global Crossing and Andersen to name a few corporations recently in the news have demonstrated the crisis in Corporate America. For some of us this is old news, we have lived and breathed this life for many years. At last, we are pleased for we see that justice was served. For others however, these are new and quite shocking revelations to digest about unknown topics. Which ever "group" we identify with, collectively we all realize that this is what the business world is and it is this realization that can also emancipate us. What is important here? Is it about us or them? We can not do anything about who these people are and who they have chosen to be. We also have no control over some of the situations that we find ourselves in. They also do not define us in any way. We have the choice in how to take care of ourselves each and every moment in our own unique predicaments but that is all. We also need to remember that we are being paid to do a job but that is the extent of our relationship with these people. We have no obligation to these people beyond the job. If there is no job, the relationship is terminated.
One of my firm clients recently stated to me that although she is in the "inner circle" in her firm, when the company cut their benefits program, she was treated like the "rank and file" and was not treated in a more special way. She was shocked that in spite of her "position" everything could change so drastically with no warning. It appears more shocking to me that she could naively believe that she was secure and comfortable in her role. Is there such a thing as an "inner circle" in Corporate Life or is this part of the "game?" If you can be fired anytime and for any reason, will being a member of this so called "elite" help at all times? Even if there is some truth in benefiting from being part of a privileged sect, is anyone truly "safe" or comfortable in a corporate position by being a member of this inner circle? The question to ask is: Can I afford to be tuned out at any time and put my fate in the corporation's hands? If I do this to myself is this not the epitome of victimization?
The Department of Labor (DOL) believes that you can be let go at anytime and for any or no reason. What seems so incredible to me is that they (The Corporation) liked you in the beginning when they hired you so what happened? Did you change overnight and wake up one morning incompetent or did their "interests" change and therefore you were no longer necessary? Is this about you or about them? The Internal Revenue Service - IRS - defines an "employee" as someone who does what they "are told". What happens when you are asked to do something for someone that does not "feel" right to you and this person is a superior in your company? How do you stay connected to a stronger force in the face of adversity? How do you stay true to yourself? Were you recently promoted into a position of visibility and suddenly find yourself under open attack for competition and political tactics? Are these people looking to "know" you and utilize your talents or are they molding you into a role that fits in with their needs? And when their needs change again - where does this leave you?
The New York Times recently published an interesting article about a woman who was very sick and almost died but was fired from her job for taking "too many" sick days. The reason it made the papers is because her son was murdered during her illness. How many sick days are too many when you are on your death bed? Is this a tragedy or reality? In another firm an employee was only reprimanded for lying about taking sick days while interviewing for another job. In the interim, as a result of her neglect and lack of responsibility, she managed to destroy her entire department. Why was she not let go? The reason is simple. Her mother just happens to be a "big shot" at a firm the company has a joint venture with so she can go on lying to everyone, exploiting her situation and destroying the department without consequences. Is this fair? How could this be acceptable?
It seems quite pointless to cite additional examples of dehumanizing conditions, lack of fairness and decisions based solely on "interests" alone in Corporate America. They are too numerous to count and many have also ended up in Court. Some cases settle quickly to avoid negative publicity and others drag on forever. But what is the point? At this stage, what feels right to me is to concentrate on how one can adequately work in these conditions without giving myself up or without loosing myself in the process. A real challenge no question about it and not at all easy in the face of corporate "life" but well worth the effort.
The following are my general recommendations for Corporate "Life" Survival:
* Read all the books and or listen to the audio tapes cited at the end of this article under References. They are a "must" for anyone who is looking to evolve, to learn and to challenge themselves in difficult moments. Some of these sources also explain how to take care of yourself physically which is critical under these stressful corporate conditions.
* When you find yourself in difficult situations that require solutions in the immediate, regardless of the issues, immediately focus on your breathing, tune into the body and clear a mental space before speaking in the moment.
* Ask yourself "what is loving to me now? How can I deal effectively with this situation without compromising myself? How can I stay open to the other side? How can I set limits so I can work with another without resentment? How can I move into the intent to learn?" Ask as many questions as fits the predicament. If you are tuned in to yourself regardless of the outcome, answers will pop into your head. Do not try to analyze the answers but instead have faith that these are the answers in the moment. Realize that you are not alone on the planet , that you need to access help from the universe which is there for you if you allow it in. (For more detailed information refer to the steps of the Inner Bonding Process. This is a comprehensive system that teaches self responsibility, connection and self direction).
* Offer a solution and check in to see how this feels to you inside. The answer from inside will lead you on your path and will be unique to your situations. (Refer Inner Bonding process)
Specific Examples of How To Take Care of Yourself
The following daily situations you may find yourself in are just "predicaments" of "Corporate Life" that one has to adequately deal with in the moment but that is all. Keep in mind at all times that none of these situations are about you as a person or a reflection of your abilities. Keep in mind also that the solutions offered here are a result of my own spiritual path and following guidance in the moment as opposed to answers from the earthly path of fear, anxiety or control. These examples in very simple form are offered in order to share with you my own experiences and are not provided as a recipe to follow. The issue at hand is your own self evolvement and learning. My wish for you is that in spite of the difficulties you feel that you do not abandon yourself in your own situations. In fact, you feel wonderful because instead of loosing yourself to them and getting caught up in their "stuff" and coming out feeling like a looser, you take very good care of yourself and come out of the predicament feeling like a winner. The key is to tune into simplicity and truth in the moment, that is all.
Example No. 1- Snowstorm
You find that it is starting to snow outside and your "inner child" lets you know that you are afraid of the road conditions and getting home safely. Management has not taken a position but you can. State your truth to your boss diplomatically and leave for the day.
Example No. 2- Meeting of two departments regarding firm Website Developments
You attend a meeting with others and your inner child lets you know something is not right. State your truth in context without judgment and excuse yourself from the meeting.
Example No. 3- Being Cut Out of "The Loop"
Move into the intent to learn and ask the question directly without reacting. Ask: What is happening exactly? What is my role? Act on the information provided by the universe.
Example No. 4- Sick, Personal & Vacation Time
Request all vacation and personal time in writing and stay committed to your time out of the office regardless of the pressure you receive. Call in sick if you need a mental health day occasionally or if you are sick. No point in going in sick! Take care of your child.
Example No. 5- Client Problems
Stay tuned in and connected. State your truth to your client and follow up in writing copying all necessary parties. Do not get caught in the details.
Example No. 6- Issues with Colleagues
Speak up at an opportune moment in your truth without delay. Clear the air promptly.
Example No. 7- Heading a Department in "name only" or NOT
Accept responsibility only when you truly have authority. You do not have to be a VICTIM. State that it is not your responsibility and follow through by not taking it on. You will feel your kid kicking you inside with victory!
Example No. 8- Humiliation & Lies
If you feel caught up in other peoples "drama" of lies, in a simple and quiet way, state your truth if this is going on and do not accept the situation at face value. Stand up for your kid.
Example No. 9- Being Valued or Appreciated or NOT
If they are not treating you right - treat yourself right. You cannot control them but you can take care of yourself.
Example No. 10- Getting Stuck doing all the work or NOT
Do not accept responsibility for everything. It is not glamorous to do everything. It is foolish. Say "I cannot take this on" when you are tuned in and in the right moment and follow through.
Example No. 11 - Sexual Advances
Stay very tuned in before responding verbally. Watch for energetic traps. Simply state your truth. You do not owe anyone anything. Your body is yours to share or not!
It is my belief that there is very little that can be done about these places overall. Some are worse than others. Generally, the motive is profit, the stakes very high and in one way or another everyone is exploited. The bosses are driven and ruthless. Employees generally are treated badly and sometimes even humiliated. There is no trust at all between people and very little camaraderie. The atmosphere is cold and calculated and all about mutual survival. This is what it is and what we have to work with. If there is no trust or very little trust to be found and also we find ourselves in "Low Trust" societies where people are together in order to benefit as opposed to contribute there is very little that we can personally do to change this except take care of ourselves in the face of these issues in the moment. I have found that by staying tuned in and connected it helps me immensely to function clearly and not to loose myself in the face of it. This way of living has also helped me to access other forces in the universe and therefore to feel less alone and less vulnerable. It does not matter the type of institution or the field if the people are unscrupulous. Acceptance of these people, places and the overall environment has moved me out of victimization and into peace. I am simply performing a function for remuneration and that is all. Inside me, I am taking care of my child in the face of what is going on around me.
On September 11, 2001 during our national tragedy I was working for a company in midtown Manhattan. The news started spreading rapidly among all employees just before 9AM. The World Trade Center was hit. Terror and shock spread around the office. The extent of the damage started to spread quickly around the office. We all congregated in the conference room and heard the news on TV. It was happening less than a mile from our office. Employees around me started screaming and crying. I stood there in shock listening and not quite grasping this as real. People started running out. The building made an announcement that it was not necessary to evacuate. We were safer in the building than on the city streets they said. Panic hit and people wanted to get home. Our phones were dead but our computers were working with full internet access. I told some people to check personal email and to communicate to our families and friends that we were safe. Our firm's Management did nothing to help people in this incredible time of grief. There was no official email or announcement that people could go home if they were scared or that we were closed for business. There was no official communication that we could wait until it was safe to leave and go home. It was each man for himself in our office. It took people hours to get home and most of us stayed home the day after glued to the TV for updates. However, the corporation did not give us this day as an official day. For weeks afterwards there were candle lighting ceremonies held all over Manhattan but as a firm we did nothing. Each person could volunteer or contribute on his own time but not during office hours. I took care of myself in the face of this tragedy but judged the firm very harshly in the face of it. I believed that they could have done many things to help others. This was an opportunity for them to create an environment of support during a tragedy but they made a choice to do nothing.
There is much more to life than working for a corporation. If you do work for a corporation it is critical to learn how to take care of yourself regardless of who the people are. Work in these environments if there are NO better alternatives in the present moment or if you need professional expertise and are paying your dues. However, it is also very beneficial to develop other interests, nourish the mind and body and also surround yourself with supportive, loving and caring people. I know that I personally could not have survived otherwise. Last bit of advice: Stay "tuned IN", live each moment and stay connected for the information that you need in order to take care of yourself that is available from the universe.
* "Inner Bonding", Dr. M. Paul
* "Do I Have To Give Up Me To Be Loved By You?" Dr. M. Paul
* "Do I Have To Give Up Me To Be Loved By God?" Dr. M. Paul
* "Healing Your Aloneness", M. Paul/ E Chopich
* "To tell the Truth or Not", Dr. M. Paul (article)
* "Giving Yourself up In A Relationship" (Article), Dr. M. Paul
* "God, Children and Entitlement (article), Dr. E. Chopich
* "Politeness A Lost Art in the Workplace", New York Times
* "Boundaries"- Audio Tape Workshop. Dr. R & D Grudermyer
* "Focusing", Dr. E Gendlin
* "nteractive Focusing on Corporate America", Dr. J. Klein
* "Waking the Tiger", Dr. Peter Levine
* "New People Making", Virginia Satir
* "Say it Straight", Virgina Satir
* "Journey of Personal Healing", Dr. B Brennan
* "Trust", Dr. Francis Fukyama