“This Is A Man’s World”
Are you in a corporate job?
If you are, think about this. How many times have you heard about the company’s “corporate culture”, or “corporate events”, “internal rules”, “institutional knowledge”, “corporate dress code”, “unspoken rules”, or yet “business trips”, with all the paraphernalia associated with it… All of the above shape the structure and the style of your organisation.
There are so many things to learn about a company you work for, including how to behave, which way to talk, where and how to eat (and drink…), what to wear, how and when to work, how often to go out with colleagues for drinks or party, and whatnot. There are different ways to learn, including reading everything on the website of that company, when hired – reading the internal rules, conversing with the colleagues during and after the working hours, and finally – experiencing every single bit of the corporate culture on your own skin. At some point, to even become a mentor to the newly arrived colleagues.
It is difficult not to want to integrate into the team because from day one we dream of being recognised for our abilities and qualities, we want to make a good contribution to the life of the organisation, we want to leave a mark. At the end of the day, it is normal to want to succeed professionally, whatever that means.
Indeed, we put the priority to, and take pride in, learning about the company inside out, its internal politics, its rules and regulations, its culture and ways of working. We spend so many days, months and years soaking the corporate culture, inevitably becoming the embodiment, the integral part of that company’s identity, the more we work for it. And that’s great – every big company these days has something special, some remarkable way of working (think the likes of Google).
First Things Should Come First
What about the family culture?
How many of us have come out of a family? Most of us, I suppose. How many of us have, or intend to, build one? The answer to this one is probably fewer, but still quite a lot.
Since we are all coming from a family, and most of us will end up creating one, the question arises: Have we been taught to create a family and make it a lifetime success? Seriously, have you been nurturing the desire to shine as a spouse, and further down the line become a stellar parent? Are you an expert at solving family challenges? Can you get a degree anywhere in the world on family affairs?
And before even diving into the family affairs, have you learned the art of understanding yourself and solving your own personal issues?
Yes… Apologies for shaking you up like this, but I felt I needed to pose these questions.
The truth is, there is no way we can truly evolve as a society, if we dive into the professional world without having a solid ethical foundation first. And I do not mean “ethical” as in “religious”, or “general culture” (what they like to be so good at in France, for example).
What I mean is the true values in life, such as respect and care for the elderly, protection of the weakest members of the society, respect for the Mother Earth and all the living beings, understanding our role and purpose in this world, knowing and understanding the rules of the Universe and following them. Or, having awareness of what it would lead to, if you choose not to follow them, and take full responsibility for your actions.
Here is one stark example for you. Regardless of your religion (if any), the principle of non-violence is shared across all the humans around the globe. But how many people understand its deeper meaning? And how many of those are making a conscious effort to practice it every day, even when our reactive behaviour dictates otherwise?
Following the scientific tradition, let’s first define non-violence. I hear some voices in the room asking: “Is it not just that thing about not killing the neighbour? Or not slaughtering the pig for dinner?” Non-violence goes way further, beyond the ban on hurting wives or children, beyond even the environmental concerns.
Non-violence goes as far as being harmless with ourselves and those around us in actions, intentions and thoughts.
Let me take you even further. Do you know that rushing through your task to get things done quicker is also a sort of violence? It can be classified as aggression towards the Time. When you hurry and rush around, instead of taking time to do things peacefully, you are not in the here-and-now, you are elsewhere, rushing your physical body towards that place in your head. Towards your deadline. Towards your dream. And you have thus lost your chance to enjoy the moment, to be in the present, to value your life. You can think about it this way: The Universe never rushes, it has its pace, and everything natural does, too. Only a human has this so-called “brain” which plays trick on him, and pushes him to do more, faster, better, further… or else!
To be honest, I would even go one step further, and move from nonviolence, being negative rhetoric, to caring and loving for ourselves, for those around us, including the broader understanding of Mother Nature, our Planet Earth, and the Creation at large. The limiting concept of non-violence can be transformed into a positive and expansionary love-filled attitude and a care-driven mindset, which can create many beautiful things and make this world a better place.
We can touch upon many other such examples but that would stray us away from the purpose of this post. Let me know in the comments whether you are interested, so we could tackle these issues in future posts.
Is It That Bad?
“Come on”, – I hear you say, “Don’t dramatize. Most modern companies are preaching the work-life balance. Is that not enough?”
The long and the short answers are: No, it is not.
To start with, the claimed work-life balance is often nominal, and does not go much further beyond just the paper it is written on. I have heard too many stories to tell you otherwise.
Next, work-life balance is a good idea, but it does not really help us develop the culture of being a good family member, a good parent, and ultimately, a good human being. It only gives us space to live after-work hours in the way we like, and we often don’t like what is actually good for us.
We have become used to doing what we choose to, following our drive based on the idea of being “free citizens of this world”. This illusion of freedom led us to a halt. We prefer to party and hang out, to drink alcohol in the evenings, and coffee in the mornings. To go to the gym to do sports (at best…) and to travel as an ultimate way of entertainment. Some of us became trendy and started doing all kinds of yoga exercises but have totally ignored the yoga concepts and philosophy behind it. But it is the very philosophy, the knowledge and the mindset, which can better our lives.
Let’s not talk Tony Robbins or alpha males. Let’s just talk an average simple woman, who wants to make it in life. Call her Alice. She does not necessarily want to get the grip of where she comes from and what her purpose in life is. She simply wants to live the life of meaning and not regret most of it when lying on a deathbed.
Would Alice feel fulfilled, when looking back at her life of corporate events, corporate rules, corporate excesses, corporate “fluency”? Yes, Alice would save some money for her old age (the illusion of financial security), she would support her parents (the concept of paying the dues), she would have several failed relationships… She would have probably become an expert at wine-tasting or even painting. How fulfilling was it for her?
Chances are, Alice’s deep-running sentiment would be the one of frustration and regret not having had a son to continue her clan. Not having a life-long partner by her side to hear her last words. Having burned the candle from both ends.
Why did she shy away from creating a big happy family? Why did Alice hide behind a computer screen, instead of exploring the wisdom her ancestors possess? Why did she set herself such strange (futile?) goals of earning good money and making a career?
My take on it is that Alice was not implanted the right values from an early age. And when she became an adult, she was already on her pre-defined “rail track” and did not think twice whether that track would lead her to the dreamland or to the doomsday. She did not take time to think of changing the platform and taking a different direction. Because most other people he knew were already on the same train. It felt right and good to stick around.
This is where the groupthink becomes extremely dangerous.
I would really like to help Alice. I would like to impress on her that she should live a life of awareness of her thoughts, choices and actions. I would like Alice to not waste her life, because this life is a rare and beautiful opportunity to change many things for the better. I would like Alice to take time off to decide whether plunging into a corporate career is the only way to spend her life. Alice is such a beautiful and precious woman; she deserves the best! She could take some time off to go through a process of self-reflection to distil her true calling. She can follow her heart and make a conscious effort to moderate the corporate and to let thrive that, which will help her truly grow (in other words: a family) and bring her the utmost happiness in life.
Let’s become aware of our actions.
Let’s think one step ahead and analyse the possible results our so-called lifestyles can bring.
Let’s choose wisely.