The Corporate Robot
Wednesday, August 04, 2010
For whatever reason, today I decided to re-read my own blog from the beginning. Wow - what lessons for life I learned!
It’s funny to hear your (slightly) younger self talking and carrying on about the woes and wonders of the world around. Of course it was very nostalgic, and I miss the witty digital reparte in which my commenters partook. It was its own little community, hatched on pages of random musings and silly pictures.
I found myself hearing my own voice again for the first time. I sounded unfamiliar because I was so excited and interested in things happening around me! I was *looking* for interesting and extraordinary things. I thought things and situations were funny/beautiful/tragic/awe-inspiring and loved sharing them! Granted, this zest and “zeal” for life (Crichert, that’s for you!) could be because of my age (25 instead of 32) and the fact that I was living in NYC, which is undoubtedly an interesting city.
Still, there was something so optimistic and excited about the way I used to think and write. So what happened between now and then? I pondered and pondered and then it came to me. Back then I didn’t work - I went to school. I spent every moment of my day just being me because I didn’t have to be anyone else. Now I work for a big company and work in an environment that typifies corporate culture. When I first started, I was 27 and everyone thought I had just graduated from undergrad. No doctor wanted to be taught by someone who looked 21! I had to do something to make people take me seriously!
I dressed older (and by that I mean frumpier). I started wearing more makeup. I referenced movies and music from before my era. I started talking in more corporate tones with less emotion and less slang. Basically I’d do anything to make people believe I was older than they thought. Mind you, no one *made* me do this or even mentioned that I should. It was definitely my choice. However, after 4.5 years of working in that environment, I have more practice “sounding corporate” than I have at sounding like myself. 8 hours a day of acting and talking like a corporate robot is enough to make you forget what your “normal” voice sounds like. And once you forget your normal voice, you start to believe that you ARE the robot personae that you put on just for work.
Some part of me now believes that I am a little stuffy, that my primary skill is working with spreadsheets and Word documents, that maybe I’m not as gregarious as I once thought I was, that life really isn’t that interesting and must just be endured until the next time I can get a vacation. But none of that is true. It’s me beginning to believe the lie that I myself put in place. I don’t want to believe any of it any more.
So here I am, rediscovering how fun/funny I used to be and realizing that I still AM fun and funny! (and yes, I AM tooting my own horn, thank you very much!) It’s time to make a new choice to again find the interest in life and to capture the best parts of who I used to be. I have learned a lot over the past couple years, and so now I would like to blend the best of both of my experiences into a new and whole person--neither fully young and silly nor corporate and stodgy--but rather a mature person who embraces life and enjoys being herself in any situation and knows that being honest and appropriate will always be the winning combination in work and life.
This year-long jouney of rediscovery has so far been a truly interesting adventure!
Wow, Kat! Way to go! Those are really amazing discoveries; not many people get to that place of maturity AT ALL in life, let alone at our age.Posted by Laura Camacho on 08/04 at 06:34 PM
Thanks for the encouragement! It has been a tough, good and interesting year. I feel like I learned a lot about myself, but what I found was more important was figuring who I wanted to become.
Trying to be self-aware and find all my shortcomings made me feel like I was trying to plug holes in a boat the had a million tiny leaks. It’s more productive to know that you want to turn your row boat into a cruise liner!
At this point, I know who I was, who I am, and who I want to become, and I’m at peace.Posted by Kat on 08/05 at 03:33 PM
Oh Kat, what a sad post. Of course you’re fun and funny - how could you ever doubt that? (you could even add “insane” to the list, if you’re feeling all giddy.)
You have seemed slightly different the last few times I’ve seen you, maybe more reserved. Maybe a little unhappy. But I’m glad you’ve had a wake-up call, and I hope you find a way to work this out so that you have a job and your own self. Let your freak flag fly, baby! There’s nobody to impress.Posted by on 08/18 at 09:52 PM