Chapter 1: My Corporate Idolatry Part 11
If I was a scientist in my first incarnation, and a marketer in my second, what do I call my third? Writer, philosopher, father, and husband are all labels that fit my identity, but the one I like the best is storyteller. Busting Your Corporate Idol: How To Reconnect With Values and Regain Control Of Your Life is a book full of stories. Each chapter begins with a story from my life. And many chapters include stories from the thirty men and women I interviewed for the book. Most were directors and vice presidents from mid-size to large corporations. Each story provides a snapshot of the corporate life, which together craft a mosaic from a broad range of age, experience, and industries. Stories were shared in confidence, and unless otherwise noted have been camouflaged and/or combined to communicate the humanity while maintaining confidentiality.
While the details of each story were unique, there were a number of broad themes that transcend industry and even level in the company. So don’t be surprised if you “recognize” one of the stories they tell – it’s probably not the incident you are thinking of, but one just like it that happens all the time in the corporate world.
I recognized parts of my past life in the story of a successful vice president in Silicon Valley. When the stress level was high, I found it very hard to depressurize and became more and more short tempered. Little things, like the kids being late for school, could ignite my explosion. Another told me the following I kick myself for working myself to death, giving up my free time on weekends, [not] pursuing my hobbies, [not] spending time with my spouse. And when a vice president from the Midwest told me about his recent stroke at the age of forty-seven, I saw my life as it could have been, had I not changed my priorities.
But don’t worry – you don’t need to leave the corporate world to rebalance your life. My life was in balance for a few years before I decided to move on, and many of the stories I tell are from people who have already realigned their priorities to “bust their corporate idols,” people who are now living less stressed and happier lives.