I am at an interesting time in my life at the moment (interesting more in the sense of the cliched Chinese curse) where I am stepping out of one world and into another. I have have had two feet in different places for a little while now; one in my current job as an attorney for a prominent law firm and the other in my new role as entrepreneur and business owner. I have been a lawyer for many years now, since I graduated from university and this work has been all I have known for quite some time. So too, has the environment I have been working in been all I have known for these years. It is a corporate legal environment where there is much emphasis placed on conformity with the firm’s mould of the ideal lawyer. I have perceived there to be much politicking in the firm and it has been conveyed to me that to get ahead and be accepted as a part of the firm it is necessary to "play the game". I have a strong aversion to political games and have done my best to avoid them. This has been to my detriment at the firm and I have pretty much hit a wall in my progress there.
I have spent a fair amount of time thinking about my position at the firm and wondering if I could have behaved better. Have I been too stubborn/immature/short-sighted to make the most of what could be regarded as an amazing opportunity to progress through one of the premier law firms in the country? I have asked myself these questions many times and have doubted myself many times. I have been told that this is what the corporate world is like. People don’t care how good you are or what your talents are, they care that your personality either is or is not to their liking. I have also been told that it is naive to expect otherwise.
Ultimately it has come down to my decision that while I may be stubborn (actually I am, G will be the first to confirm that), short-sighted or even naive about the corporate world, this is now how I would like to spend the rest of my working life – scrambling around in an effort to make sure I am liked by the people in power. I much prefer to develop my own business where I will focus on the talents that a person offers, work to cultivate those talents and harness those talents for the greater benefit of each member of the business and the business itself. I believe that is an important key to the success of a business and its clients. I have learned that the little people want to be recognised and appreciated for who they are, not the commercial value they represent.
People say that you should do the work you enjoy and that is so important. Why give so much of your time to a job you are not passionate about and serve people who have no appreciation for who you are as an human being and individual? Where is the humanity is today’s business? Some of the top companies to work for are incredibly dynamic and thrive on their employees’ individuality. I often wonder if these political games played in corporate environments are not just the expression of fear shared by the people in power. What do they fear? Change. People who are different represent a threat to the status quo and that is translated into a threat to the survival of the ruling power (I am beginning to sound like Karl Marx) instead of a brilliant opportunity to be embraced and exploited for the benefit of all.