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Thursday, June 07, 2007

The Corporate Hat

I wear one. I'm in one of those jobs where we don't just dish out what someone asks us to, we actually come up with the stuff. We decide on direction, strategy, focus, priorities. Systems, standards, processes and procedures. Philosophies and guidelines. Rules. Though we don't like to call them that.

It can be exciting, it can be stimulating, it can be ground-breaking too, sometimes. And it can also be heartless, merciless and just plain wrong. Usually the balance keeps it palatable. But sometimes it's downright nauseating. And a lot of the time it gives me a headache. As though the hatband is too tight.

Today I have a headache. To witness something so wrong, so two-faced, so inconsiderate, is hurtful. I feel for the person to whom a promise was made and who carried out her end of the deal. I see the hurt in her eyes even though, as the consummate professional, she carries on banging the drum for this place, enticing people to make us their choice. My god that woman can act!

I'm not a 'corporate' person, never have been. I'm here only because there aren't that many people who do what I do, otherwise I'd probably not be tolerated. I've been approached recently, twice, about jumping ship. But you know, it would be the same there. Except they might even force me to wear a suit. You see, I don't wear suits, I look stupid in them, I can't carry them off. At least here, they don't make me wear a suit. They pay me well for what I do and I give them every penny's worth. But I'll never be a corporate person. I'll never be able to go to the next rung in the ladder either, because that would require me to put my head up someones arse in order to be a success.

Soon, I'll have a new boss. And it will be the usual story, you haven't done things right, or that well, around here. I've become almost immune to it. Partly it's not understanding the unique vagaries of this organisation, partly it's wanting to put your personal stamp on something. I do realise that. And in time this new person will be deflated by the inconsistencies, the deal-making, the promises made and broken. It happens to everyone in the end. The wise ones learn to work around it, the politicians join in, the not so savvy find their days numbered. But for all of us, it's how we survive (or not).

And I guess that's really what it's all about. Surviving. I just wish that I didn't find myself feeling like such a corporate ho as often as I do. I love the work I'm involved in, and the impact I can make. But I don't always like where I do it. I sometimes yearn for the more simple life, where I don't need to wear a hat at all.

Because this damn hat hurts today.


LePhare said...

One of the reasons we left the pub trade was because of the number of hats we had to ware, and every years there seemed to be more. More hats, more pressure. I miss it...... not a jot!

Watch your back Fi.


George said...

Would you rather work in a dive shop?

I know where you are coming from and they (ownership) hold all of us (employees) over a barrel. Some places are extremely strict while others are less so. The bottom line, no matter where, it's our way or the doorway.

Fiona said...

Ian - I think we get to a time in our lives when we make that decision, to join in or find something that sustains the soul. There are days that I am at that point. More than once have I had to remove a knife ;)

George - actually it was a lot of fun, the work. Very physical, very tiring but I enjoyed finally doing something like that, having always led a somewhat sedentary life. It was the emotional stress that wore me out. You're right, there's no changing the course of these behemoths. Only the course of my own path :)

Fusion said...

I was talking to a customer yesterday about my company's bureaucratic like corporate decisions. Made me glad I'm leaving it, I've had my fill, and I'm really going to try to make my little photo business work. Be my own boss for a change.


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