Chapter 7: Secure Your Identity Part 1
When I finally resigned from the corporate world, I told everyone it was not because of the product, the company, or the people. It was about my personal journey, to take care of the kids, and to figure out what to do next. I was both lying and telling the truth. In public, management was supportive, but in private it got nasty. One person, pressuring me to work an additional two months, went so far as to say “You will never work in this field again if you leave the company in a difficult position.” If I’d resigned to work for a competitor, they would have walked me out the door, and happily had a beer with me the following week. But to turn my back on the system was heresy.
Leaving the corporate world was not the means to regain control of my life, it was the result of it. I had been living with a reasonably healthy work life balance for a few years when I finally resigned. A lot of it was about the circumstances of the position. I was never going to be happy at that company, and needed space to figure out what to do next.
The change for me started when I recognized my corporate idolatry, that I was doing what was best for the company instead of what was best for people.
It came down to a fundamental question that I asked myself: Who are you? I was a lot of people: a father, husband, son, friend, marketer and scientist. But the one I thought of most, day to day, was the guy who worked for the genomics company. I was the guy who was changing the world. But on a deeper level, I was a guy whose self-worth came from the job.
I now understand that identity is not one thing, it is a choras. And it is possible to consciously change the lead singer.