Overcoming corporate slavery.

Irrespective of whether you agree to the aspect of “corporate slavery” or not doesn’t matter, because that argument is equal to not believing in the existence of the Sun because at night you can’t see it! This piece is about accepting the problems around,understanding how far reaching and deeply impacting the consequences are and what can we possibly do about it (as individuals- because according to capitalists theories they would want this to go on forever and ever!)

As students’ complete graduation or post-graduation; their aspirations are about getting a “good job”, decent salaries (to pay of liabilities accumulated by virtue of trying to get educated to that level) and race ahead to reach the top of the corporate pyramid to impact businesses, industries and policies- well there’s absolutely nothing wrong with any of these aspirations- perfectly legal and sane. The only challenge is in the deception of the term “good job” this deception almost always turns fatal and catches up with these young aspirants sometimes sooner then later. Global indicators (if you access some readily available data online from valid sources) indicate that the so called mid-life crisis (which I simply see as manifestation of the “good job” syndrome) is happening pretty earlier (around late 20s’ to early 30s’ unlike the earlier times (when it used to actually begin to hit around mid 30s’ to early 40s’)

Now to the million dollar question, “How do we negate or at the best manage this to at least have realistic mid-life crisis years which correspond to real mid-life years of a human being rather then reflecting mid-life for some other animal species! The root of the problem is in the belief and value systems that societies the world over have. The fundamental premise that the entire effort of studying and gaining wisdom (remember wisdom is different from knowledge- knowledge makes you intelligent, wisdom makes you wise- these are two entirely different things!). Essentially these need to compliment each other and an imbalance in these impacts our life quality on an ongoing basis as that reflects the decisions that we end up taking!

The fact remains that education; has a lot to do with helping build understanding about the world around you. When education is used as a tool to fetch you a job, crack an exam to get a job or get a “certification” to establish societal legitimacy about your grey matter- things start to go wrong! Flip the pages of history, you will find that among the many reasons why companies collapsed, political parties withered away, businesses houses went bankrupt- these simply happened because you had “qualified” and “highly paid” people managing and leading teams which at times had “wise” people (whom they did not listen to, well in time- to avoid the melt down) or had “idiots” who accelerated the demise of these corporations! This,my friend is the ugly face and impact of “corporate slavery- the modern day replacement of slaves working fields or plantations- now working out of glass walled air conditioned prisons”

Corporate slavery starts innocently; things like utopian value and mission statements of organisations , a few weird statements could mean or sound like these -“we never loose”, “we never delay”, “We are champions” or even better, “we have no competition”, “the competition is me”. These look as innocent and senseless as they are but when you have dumb wits who are told to act on them and they go about acting with limited number of people to deliver and have targets (which are not targets but manifestations of greed- yes one of those cardinal sins) that’s how the slavery starts. Greed (corporate greed) is deceptive, all the comforts tend to blind the mind and make people do what they do- the result- a meaningless job profile ( no personal development to tell to yourself or your kids) and preparing ground for the mid-life criss even before you have lived a quarter of your life time on the planet!

A simple test to know whether you are actually a victim or engaged in “corporate slavery”- Try and see if you get a “yes” for the following questions (and yes don’t connect your designation, career growth and money that you make when you try to answer):

  1. Has your experience enriched you as a person and developed and shaped your personality positively
  2. From your experience have you been able to suggest and create (original ideas) ideas that could add value that lasts after you leave the place or the earth (which ever happens first)
  3. Has your experience been different with each day rather then being predictable routine that resonates with months/ seasons’/ business cycles’
  4. Do you have a story to tell yourself or others that your life has been fulfilling

Well, if you answered “yes” great, you are one of the few lucky ones’ who has possibly escaped “corporate slavery” and has been contributing to ensure others are also free of those dreaded shackles- In that case you would be that corporate icon with whom everyone wants to work with!

So what do you do if you are not sure and are possibly stuck with this- well the good news is- it’s never too;ate to course correct as long as you are alive, the bad news- it takes effort- directed effort to get into this space of being a rebel and saying no to slavery like the good old days!

Unlike the real world problems- corporate slavery is very easy to predict and a good start would be by being able to apply your mind to the job profile (that has been shared with you)- If it’s a well articulated one, you know what exactly is expected and you can very well come to a conclusion whether you are signing up for a job or a term as a corporate slave! This is the point where you negotiate to your advantage (knowing what your aspirations from life are (about which you need to have clarity) or simply walk away and don’t engage any further. In other scenarios wherein you are already working and overnight some maniac has been handed over the reins to marshal the company, well this is where you, “practice the pause”, take a moment, stay away- gauge the benefits against the foreseeable problems and take a call. In life you must walk away- no matter what the initial pain or uncertainty- in the long run- it will pay off- but for this to happen you need to have a string internal beacon which is able to keep you honed on to the per-determined aspirations of your life at all times! Lastly, wherein organisations do not have a job profile and any formal structure- well you need to use your wisdom and navigate to know “How much is Enough” and you need to be aware when to say “Enough is Enough” and walk away!

Slavery of the mind or any kind, by it’s very intrinsic meaning of the word is about being bound to something to someone. Human beings are not hard wired to being bound- we have been wanderers, travelers and warriors and that’s something that we aspire for deep within- no, not all of us can be in the defense forces, or cabin crews or hippies; but what we can do and what each one of us can do is to set our aspirations and value systems to a notch that let’s us navigate with a considerable degree of freedom in what we choose to do and practice for passion or for monetary gains– N matter what it is and this notch will always blink red and let you know when your space is being invaded- the you have a choice to course correct- either by limiting your space, defending and fighting for it or simply walking away!

Leaving you with thoughts, for a wonderful weekend ahead, remember -A free mind and a energized soul can enjoy weekends through the week even as you work- as long as you are not enslaved! It’s not about passion it is about space to grow, express and wisdom to apply and share!

Grab that coffee and liberate yourself! Will catch up soon with another piece, keep writing in to me at parimal.aluri@simplifylives.com and suggest what else you would like me to pen about and yes, we are available for tailor-made meaningful training’s and workshops to empower individuals and organisations as always!