I rose really fast in the first 5 years of my digital marketing career. I started out as an SEO (search engine optimization) Account Executive at a boutique digital marketing agency in London around 10 years ago. I was barely earning enough to cover my rent, utilities, transport, and food. But I worked hard and rose quickly up the ranks.
I averaged a promotion every 15 months for the first 5 years of my career. By year 5 I had got my break at one of the biggest agencies in the world and was heading up the SEO account for the world’s largest bank. I was managing around 20 people. I was given a fancy, important-sounding job title. I was earning enough to start putting some money away. And that’s when things suddenly changed.
My day-to-day job became more about managing internal office politics and a lot less about actually delivering quality work to our clients. I was so busy protecting myself in revenue meetings and trying to defend my team from other senior people in the business that I didn’t have the bandwidth to actually work on my craft. And my career suffered.
Something changes once you reach the mid-senior level in an organization. That drive that made you a ‘rising star’ suddenly becomes a trigger for other people’s insecurities. And you become a target. I prefer to be entertained by corporate drama on Netflix shows and then get back to my life. Not live it every single day.
When I lost my last corporate job due to the pandemic (and office politics), I took the High 5 Strengths test. My strengths? Analysis, Coaching, Belief in Myself and Others, Storytelling, and Delivering. None of that has anything to do with crushing others to succeed.
That’s how I know that the corporate life isn’t for me.