The Pandemic Revealed The True Colours of My Corporate Job
Does a stable paycheque really kill your passion?
A lot of my loved ones have lost their jobs since the pandemic hit. My father, who works in the aviation industry, hasn’t been paid in nine months.
Some of my friends who run businesses have experienced an all-time low in income. They paid their factory workers out of good-will, but it was all out of their savings. A few friends working in startups have also experienced heavy pay-cuts.
In short, the effects of the pandemic have been devastating on those around me.
I’m one of the lucky ones. My office closed its doors for employees to work from home, and I haven’t experienced a pay-cut. I’ve been able to work on myself for the first time and figure out my goals and what I want to do.
I’m entirely grateful for my corporate job — and that’s something I never thought I’d say.
I have always felt like a corporate rat hiding the DNA of a nomad. I felt like a misfit in the 9–5 office culture. Traveling across the globe solo has made me a little hipster in nature and brought about a significant change in me, which moved my perspective towards the impermanence of living. The people and your work won’t always stay around you, so why spend your precious time worrying so much? There’s so much more to life than work, like your passions, your family, and spending time with yourself.
I always assumed I would find a career path that fits alongside these beliefs. But the last 9 months have made me ponder — does the corporate world deserve the hate it receives? After all, it comes with lots of benefits, and, despite what critics suggest, still affords you freedom and time to pursue your other passions and creative interests.
The pandemic has shown me the true colors of the corporate job, and it’s making me realize that I’ve been too quick to discount what it offers.
If you, like me, are filled with the DNA of a nomad, consider these benefits before dismissing the idea of working in the corporate world.
It provides a safety net
People talk about the safety net of a pay-cheque preventing them from achieving their dreams. One can’t start a business or pursue their passions because they’re too comfortable in their fat, stable income.
I once had an introductory call with a Tony Robbins coach. I told him about my dream to become a writer. He told me to leave my job and jump into the deep end of the pool. He told me that this was the only way to carve a path for what I truly want to do because desperate times lead to solutions.
Let’s be a little realistic now; what if that path took months or years? Should I work on my dream and let go of an outstanding job and money to pursue my dream? Instead of jumping in and hoping not to drown, why can’t we get into the deep end prepared with excellent swimming skills?
When you have people around you struggling and settling for a low-paid job — trust me, you’ll be grateful for your salary. Yes, it’s fixed. It won’t boom and double next month as it potentially will for an entrepreneur.
But it’s going to come in every month. Whether you have 12-hour workdays and stressful stakeholders or relaxed workdays, it will arrive in your bank account.
Being in a safety net is not bad at all — it’s a blessing. If you have a job that pays you decently, it’s okay not to let go of it and instead pursue your passion on the side. If you make money from your side hustle, that’s great. If you don’t, you still have nothing to lose and can comfortably carry on.
If you’re self-employed, it’s good to have one source of income that you know will come to your bank account every month, even if it comes from an occasionally difficult client. Let’s get real; we all need money for or monthly bills.
It’s the perfect tool for personal growth
In these unprecedented times, people are struggling in their own ways, struggles we’re not even aware of because there has been little to no human interaction in 180 days.
With a remote working arrangement, empathy is currently absent, replaced by meetings and emails.
In the last 9 months, I have experienced people who were so difficult that I cried myself to sleep. I dreamed of my projects going all wrong. There were emails in my inbox, which were purely nasty. This was all new to me!
These uncertain times have also called for a lot of multi-tasking — undertaking different roles, doing things out of your area of expertise, activities which are entirely new to you. And it’s important too because these are skills we must have, especially if you’re early on in your career. I am 24 right now, and exposure to tough situations is only making me better with how I can handle people and situations in the future.
While the beginning feels flustered, the end is a relief with a whole set of new skills in your pocket.
Through highs and lows, through extreme workload days and Zoom calls full of fun and laughter — personal and professional growth is at an all-time high.
I realized that the world of the rat-race has an abundance of benefits. Many of your challenges will be outside of your area of expertise, which makes it entirely different (and difficult) from being self-employed. I won’t deny that they’ll be a pain and the downs are too low, but you always come out stronger and smarter.
Uncertain situations bring out uncertain challenges, which lead to creative solutions, which brings about growth.
It still gives you freedom to pursue your passion
Contrary to popular belief, a corporate job doesn’t suck your passion out of you. I smell excuses here. It’s like my friends in university telling me they have no time to hit the gym but had all time to get drunk and party.
It’s about priorities.
When your life doesn’t depend on the sale of products/services or hourly rates, it gives you the freedom to pursue anything you want to.
I have been a writer since I was 7. I didn’t just write an absurd poem on A Leaf but also a poem on Life, because apparently, I knew all about it. While writing has continued on and off the internet, my workplace has exposed me to certain things, making my writing only better.
I have studied psychology for 5 years, and exposure to people at different levels only deepens my interest in human behavior. Vivid experiences also lead to stories.
Of course, I cannot deny the resources I am exposed to free of cost. I have done various storytelling courses and have attended workshops on communication, which have improved my writing — even though my role at work is nothing related to it. Outside of my company, this would otherwise cost me hundreds of dollars.
My leaders have always encouraged me to share my writing with my team and have encouraged my teammates to show their talents on Zoom with the current work-from-home scenario. My job, and the corporate world itself, has been nothing short of supportive in my other endeavors. As long as you’re vocal about your other interests, you’d be surprised by the level of encouragement you receive to pursue them.
While there are pros and cons amongst any two things you compare, corporate jobs receive a lot of flak. It mostly comes from people who assume how terrible it must be without ever experiencing it.
My advice to you is simple. No matter what lifestyle you imagined yourself having, no matter how strong your nomad DNA is, don’t be too quick to dismiss the corporate world and what it can offer you.
And if you’re currently in a corporate job (even if you hate it), remember that you’re luckier than millions in today’s situation.