“There must be more to life than this.”
These were the words my friend told me she could clearly remember herself saying one morning sitting at her desk in her role as a Corporate PA in a law firm. It was that morning that she handed in her resignation, not knowing what was next but knowing that it had to be better.
Since starting my own business my network has grown too, and a large majority of my new connections are women who have done exactly the same thing. Given up their corporate job for the promise of something better. Some have taken the decision after a major life event like an illness or a redundancy but for many it’s been a culmination of things that have happened over a period of time.
Maybe it’s the long commute that’s added an extra 2 hours onto their day. Maybe it’s the difficulty of trying to raise a family and work at the same time. Maybe it’s looking up and seeing that to progress they need to shout louder and compete more, which they’re not prepared to do. Maybe it’s the exhaustion of having to work 10 times harder than the people around them to get the air time they know they’re worth, but remains accessible for an elusive few.
Why should women have to leave employment to be fulfilled?
As a female business owner I cannot go a single scroll on social media without someone trying to sell me the ‘best course ever’ on how to run my business. The common themes seem to be:
- That being myself is what will attract people to work with me.
- That my mindset is the thing that will make the difference to my success.
- That not conforming and being different to the mainstream will help me stand out.
Why does it take us leaving the workplace to make it OK to be ourselves? Where are the resources we need, when we need them, for the mindset that will help us succeed in an environment that was never set up for us to?
Doesn’t seem right, does it.
And the problem is, the more we leave the workplace, the less likely it is that things will change. Even worse, we stay in our workplaces believing that this is our lot, unfulfilled and on the work, eat, sleep, repeat cycle that does nothing for our confidence and happiness, and certainly doesn’t tap into the immense potential inside every single one of us.
Things are so ripe for change right now, but we can’t change a system while we’re burnt out by it. We need to sustainably be the changemakers in the workplace that frankly everyone is crying out for. To change the narrative from competition to collaboration. From individualism to community. From fitting a box to uniquely individual. It’s all possible. Imagine how great it could be!
And so the answer to the question right at the beginning? Absolutely there is more to life than this. The only question you really need to ask is whether or not you’re going to choose it?