Corporate America Has Lost Another Soldier…Me

Medieval Soldier

When I graduated from college, I had a fire in my belly that you could see from miles away- I was hungry for opportunity. I purposely went into to HR having done my research on it as a profession. Additionally, I was told that there was an ongoing need for someone with this expertise in the future. My plan at that time was to become the CHRO at some big corporation- preferably a company in pharmaceuticals, healthcare or science.

From the day I graduated and landed my first career job, my focus was on driving results, being a game changer and going above and beyond. In my head, these were the things that were going to get me to the promise land of CHRO’s. As you have read in some of my previous posts, my career travels in HR have not been without challenges. However, through perseverance and that fire in my belly I kept pressing on- trying to find something different, challenging and unique in each progressive position.

Well…the buck has stopped.

You see something interesting happened in 2013. The first thing was my long-term plan of starting my own business became a short-term plan when one of my mentors/friends ran an assessment on me that reported me as being 100% entrepreneur. With several phone calls taking place between she and I plus others in my circle of trust saying “why start your business in 10 years, Janine?”- I took the leap of fate and started my talent management firm, Talent Think Innovations, LLC. Even with starting it, I made a plan to be working  full-time in it within five years. Again, a colleague of mine told me at a conference- “it won’t take you that long- you will be blown away by how soon you get up and running.” I appreciated her sentiment, but I had a plan. Then came, performance evaluation time last year where I figured I’d give one more shot to my company to promote me or at the very least have a short-term plan for my career. I wrote up a four-page summary of my accomplishments and achieved business outcomes tying them back to the overall strategic business plan of  the organization. Excited for the very first time in my career to have a performance conversation, I went in with my head high and hopes to hear that they liked my summary.

Instead, I was given a paper for my increase for the year (internal equity was the culprit- see my thoughts on that here). I was then told that all things are superb with my performance. Still things are good. Here’s the zinger and pay attention to this: “Janine, you are talented but I don’t know how to get you where you want to go.”

I could go on for days explaining to you, my beloved readers how damaging this approach is for your attraction and retention strategy, but this is not my purpose today. That one statement -along with the rest of the conversation that resulted in me having to justify my telework days for the thousandth time (again another post, different day) both angered and moved me . It moved me to rethink what that 22 year old so earnestly wanted early in her career and what this 31 year old woman needs and deserves today. What I decided was to take one year to rediscover what moves me. In under one year, I have realized that the 22 year old me was not well-informed about the business-side of things and the assessment was onto something important. Which is why, I happily put in my resignation over eight weeks ago and am sailing into my business full-time effective this Friday.

In hindsight, I was never prepared for the barrage of corporate politics, greed, the lack of ethics, the red tape, and the hierarchical crap that is so prevalent in today’s business environment. I handled and I survived it, but paddling in these murky corporate waters trying to anticipate fires, character assassinations and pleasing people that have built careers off of lucky breaks and breaking rules.

Plans fail, but new doors open…

When I say I was “both angered and moved” by what happened last year I was. In fact, I cried the whole car ride home trying to discern what my next move needed to be. What I’ve learned is it is not any company’s job to succumb to my career aspirations or professional requests; but it is absolutely my job to create the life and career I want for myself and my family. Since I made this decision to leave my gainful employment, I have received the following feedback:

“Janine, what will you do?”

“Are you going to work for another employer?”

“I’m so jealous, good for you.”

“You suck, I’m really going to miss you.”

” Sorry to see you leave, you were one of the good ones.”

All of these statements make me happy. For one, I am clear on the plan for now and even a few years out, but I am so open to new experiences-so those first, two questions just make me giggle. The latter three make me smile, because I know I made a great impression on colleagues at all levels and achieved lots of what 22 year old Janine set out to do.

Corporate America you’re losing a soldier on Friday. It may not be indefinite, but for now I can’t stomach you. I’m hard-working, caring, intelligent, forward-thinking and damn good at what I do. My only intention was to be of service and do meaningful work. I’m not mad at you per se- in fact I should thank everyone who has told me “no” for the past ten years. You have now ignited a new fire in my belly. Now my goal is to make an impact and it doesn’t have hierarchical implications but global ones. Thank you for helping me raise my standards and take back control of my career.

The future is bright…

To find out more about me and my baby, check out Talent Think Innovations, LLC  here.

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