The New Corner Office
I wrote this post a while back for The Conversation, but thought I would share it again with you here:
I left my job at a big Hollywood public relations agency a year after having my first daughter. I loved the place, I met some great people and got to work on some exciting projects, but I was drained. I was squeezing in an hour with my newborn in the morning and another hour or so at night and once that first year went by, I swore I wouldn’t do another.
I struck gold as a consultant. I have been lucky enough to make a living on my own for four years (now five!) since and hope to keep it up a while longer. Until they are in college, sounds about right.
With it came a lot of flexibility. A lot of amazing opportunity. A lot of stress.
What does it lack? A fancy title. An expense account. A corner office.
Or does it?
I believe that there is a new version of the corner office and I am sitting firmly behind the desk.
Women aren’t hunting down the same career goals we were even a decade ago. We aren’t chipping away at that glass ceiling, we are wallpapering it in our own personal style. We aren’t striving for the corner office with a view and an assistant parked out front, we’d rather have our own little desk, where we have the freedom and flexibility and inspiration to engage in our work and our personal lives and blossom at both.
I don’t need a business card that reads “Vice President.” You can call me an assistant for all I care, as long as I can make it to my daughter’s Christmas show at school.
I am okay not being involved in that management meeting, because now I can grab coffee with a fellow entrepreneur and brainstorm amazing things at ten times the pace.
I don’t need to catch up with anyone at my level or beyond it…I am moving at my own speed and on most days, it’s much faster than it ever was in a traditional corporate setting, with far more benefits.
I’m not trying to take away from a corporate office setting. Many women I know, moms and not, thrive in that environment and cherish it. But I believe that even what they are striving for within that structure is so very different than what it was just a few years ago.
It’s less about acknowledgement from your peers. It’s about satisfaction at the end of the day. It’s not so much the money (though that can obviously be nice), it’s what you’re contributing. It’s how you’re engaging your brain and your creativity and your senses day after day. It’s what’s engaging you, to sacrifice time away from family and home and friendships.
Women want to create and manage and see and feel and ideate and solve and mentor and build. And in today’s world, we can actually do it all, and more, on our own terms.
What corner office could possibly contain all of that?