http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photos-contemplating-our-decisions-image28824133While at a Professional Woman’s Conference, one of the speakers mentioned an organization called Catalyst.org. This group works with professionals to build inclusive business environments and expand opportunities for women in the workplace. Organizations like this play an important role in making the corporate world more human.

One thing I recall clearly about the speaker’s talk was the use of the word “assimilation.” I really dislike this word because it implies we need to “fit into” a cultural standard, which can strip away much-needed creativity and innovation. In addition, there are already too many people who don’t use their unique gifts to make the world a better place, because they feel they can’t in Corporate America.

I experienced this in my own career. I was born a curious person. I question everything so that I can better understand the why, when, what and how. I was encouraged and thought that this was a good trait. However, when I entered the workplace I quickly realized that the norm to be “You don’t question the boss – EVER”. While this cultural norm was mainly realized through peer pressure, glares and gasps in meetings I unfortunately let it, for a time, change who I was.

Maybe the word “assimilation” doesn’t bother you. Perhaps being a corporate executive is your dream, and you’re sure about that. If you’re happy in the corporate world then I am truly happy for you. We need people who are passionate about what they do in every aspect of our culture.

But I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that if you’re reading this you may be second guessing your career path…

For those who find the corporate world starting to feel like a wool sweater that is gradually giving you red marks all over your upper body — well this post is for you. Perhaps you are well on your way up the corporate ladder and you’re not sure how much farther you really want to go. You have been thinking more about how you want to leave your mark and what you really want to do with your life.

Maybe you dream about having more time to think, more space, more autonomy, using your gifts, exploring your passions, having more freedom in your lifestyle. With thoughts like these, we may start seeing Corporate America as the enemy. Though more often than not, we are our own enemy, choosing not to make a choice even when we know we need to.

That is exactly what I’m going to help you do today: decide– using an unconventional approach.

IF you’re willing to ponder the question , “Corporate America: Should I stay or should you go?”(a spin on the lyrics of The Clash’s song, “Should I Stay or Should I Go”?),let’s get started!

  • “Should I stay or should I go now?”: This question is all about claiming your dreams. Is Corporate America a barrier to claiming your dreams, is it a part of your dreams or is it helping you to achieve your dreams?
  • “If I go, there will be trouble”: How strong are you? How do you handle stress? One positive thing about being in an uncomfortable situation is that it will teach you perseverance. In this light, it can be a great lesson in stress management. Because if you quit, start something new and begin to claim your dream, you will need MUCH resilience, perseverance and determination.
  • The financial challenges and time stresses involved in claiming your dream requires resiliency skills to navigate many actions and decisions: I am not trying to talk you out of claiming your dreams. I am preparing you to do so. If you just can’t stand your job one minute longer, ponder what self-work you need to do before you take a drastic plunge. It’s better to have a plan in place to ease into your dream as you figure it out.
  • “And if I stay, it will be double”: Maybe your work situation is horrible, it’s diminishing your quality of life. You have to weigh your needs and your health against your income . Maybe taking a less stressful job for less pay is the answer.
  • “So come on and let me know”: Maybe you read the title of this blog and thought I’d be telling you what I think you should do. Sorry to disappoint. While many people will tell you what you should do only you can decide for yourself. It’s your life, your dream, your future.
  • “Exactly whom I’m supposed to be”: If you have grown up in Corporate America, as I did, often your identity slowly changes as you begin to assimilate into the culture you work in. So how do you do this when you’ve been told who you were suppose to be your entire career? You start setting aside time. You start digging into your own identity. You take the time to think about your gifts and your dream .

Which one of these topics will you chose to dig into today? Help yourself decide should you stay or should you go?

Song Lyrics by The Clash, “Should I Stay or Should I Go” remaining content Copyright 2014, Mary R Miller, My Dream Catalayst