For a few years, I desperately tried to fit a square peg in a round hole in the corporate environment.
And guess what, it was not pretty.
During that time, I thought there was something wrong with me because I had all the worldly success symbols; college degrees, a good job with a big name company, benefits, etc, and yet I was miserable.
In fact, the whole situation was making me sick.
The culture was toxic—politics and favorites reigned supreme. I am sure you know what I am talking about.
I just about burned myself out in my twenties just going to work, coming home, falling into bed, and doing it all again day after day. I especially resented how my time was dictated, especially my days off.
I found out later that many organizations, just like families, are highly dysfunctional and those who know how to play the game get rewarded, while those with integrity and heart, are seen as threats to the system (aka status quo).
I once got reprimanded for being too passionate!
I told the supervisor, “I thought I was supposed to care about my job and those that I serve!”
I knew I was in trouble when I kept having dreams about work that would wake me in the middle of the night!
The real deal breaker, though, was when my personal values conflicted with the organization’s values—they seemed willing to do just about anything to make a buck.
For me, the typical nine to five work situation felt more like a self-created prison.
I held the belief then and certainly do now, that work not only could be fun, it was supposed to be fun. I knew I had to find something else or I was going to be unhappy for a really long time—like my whole life.
I decided very early on in my career that I was not going to find what I was looking for in a traditional work environment.
One day, I woke up and just said, “Today I choose to be happy.” I quit my job and have not looked back since.
Gratefully, I followed my inner guidance and was led to life coaching. Over the course of these years, I have had many wonderful mentors and coaches, and all have helped me grow in different ways.
That was over fifteen years ago, and coaching is the best job on the planet for me because I get to help people clarify and claim their dreams. And then we work together in partnership as those dreams become their new reality.
Of course, being self-employed also has its good days and bad days, positives and negatives. However, I would not my freedom for any amount of money in the world.
Every day I wake up and thank God for the work that I do, the people I work with, and the lifestyle it affords me. You can have the same experience just by being willing to learn a new way of life.
By Michelle L. Casto, known as the Soul Diva Coach (Diva is Sanskrit for shining light of the divine) Speaker, and Author of the Get Smart! LearningBook Series.