On June 14, 2012, I had finally submitted my letter of resignation after one dispute too many with my line manager. I remained to serve my one month notice period, and was determined to leave on good terms. I put all my efforts into avoiding any altercations with my boss, or anyone else in the company for that matter.
I did well.
On July 12, 2012, I served my last day. In a shocking turn of events, my boss decided to play her final card. She pulled the biggest stunt do date, fully meant to showcase her authority, and provoke a reaction.
I won’t go into the details of what she did – or attempted to do – but I will say this: boy, am I happy to get out of that toxic environment!
I felt like a prisoner working in that corporation. Upon entering, I was immediately identified with a number unique to me – 1226. I was handed a badge with a barcode that allowed me entry and exit, and a photo very similar to a mugshot. I was required to abide by a specific dress code, follow orders, and do as I’m told. Upon leaving, I went through a whole set of procedures, in which several officials and authority figures had to sign off on my release (and yes, they actually call it that). My prison sentence lasted one year and four months.
I hated my boring corporate job. I hated sitting at my desk, staring at my screen while doing continuous mundane tasks. I hated how it sucked the life out of me. I hated how it made me feel empty inside. I hate everything it stands for. But most of all, I hate how that lifestyle is construed as “the norm” by cultural standards.
One blogger put it best when he wrote how working in the corporate world was akin to buying one’s happiness. Well, I’m tired of living a merely content life, contributing nothing to society. Adding no value to my life, or anyone else’s. Besides that paycheck at the end of every month, my life had no purpose. It was meaningless. In a paltry year and a half, I had already made the discovery that the corporate world is a “creativity-destroying, soul-deadening maze of politics and bureaucracy. While some thrive in the rat race, others feel trapped.“
When I resigned, I received a lot of encouragement, but simultaneously, there was some push back for it. My family thought I was being lazy and foolish to give up a job that was paying so well. Some of my friends and colleagues thought I was hasty and impulsive leaving without even a fallback position. I was going against the status quo by leaving a perfectly acceptable job just because it was making me miserable. And it wasn’t easy to do, especially when you’ve been conditioned to think otherwise.
Older generations would scoff at the idea of wanting to do something you love. At wanting to enjoy the work you do. To them, working was an obligation, a necessity – you’re not supposed to like your job – it’s a means to pay the bills and provide for the family. They do not understand the notion of wanting to fuse our likes and passions with money-making. Pamela Skillings said it best when she wrote, “Today, work is more personal than ever before. Who you are is what you do. Back in the day, you went to work for one company and trusted that the firm would take care of you for life. Today, we all know that there are no guarantees.”
No matter what you may hear, or what a company may tell you, individuality and originality are not what they are looking or aspiring for. Rather they seek followers. Meek, yielding, compliant, unprotesting minions. Corporate robots that will do exactly as they are told.
Upon accepting a position, it becomes a matter of switching off. As the months go by, the slow progression to brain-numbness ensues. And as your braincells slowly die, you become more comfortable with your situation. You are used to it now. It gets easier and you take solace in the fact that you can resort to complaining about your nine-to-five job, your boss, your work, your company and everything else to family and friends. Your amusements consist of counting down to the next weekend, the next vacation, and calling in sick every now and then of course.
But I quit. I am free of the evil clutches of this dark corporate world. The golden handcuffs are finally off, and it feels liberating. Now, I can focus on what it is I want to do with my life. What I plan to do next. Do I want to start my own business? Do I want to pursue my PhD? Do I want to teach? Do I want to look for another job? Do I want to write a book and travel the world?
Honestly, I want all of the above. When, where and how? I will figure it out.
Until then, here is a phenomenal playlist that my friend and I compiled, conveying our emotional timeline at the company up to the point where we had had enough and I had left. (I highly recommend the use of this playlist during resignation periods – alterations can be made according to one’s experience)
Finally, I bid my old life and job farewell. And to my boss, I say, you can “take this job and shove it, I ain’t working here no more!“