Verandah Magazine’s resident business mentor, author and speaker Sonia Friedrich turns the torchlight on her corporate career, and finds that it was not all that she had imagined it was. Ask yourselves the uncomfortable questions, she writes, and you may not like the answers but the process can transform your life.
Recently it came to my attention that questions I was asking myself about the lessons I had learned during my corporate career were having a profound impact on my life. If I was to be truthful with myself the answers were confronting. One of the most uncomfortable questions of all was to ask myself if I had ever prostituted myself during the course of my career.
Naturally, the question isn’t about whether I was a lady of the night, or getting paid for services rendered by selling my body. The question was:
Was I a woman of the day selling my Self and my Soul for money?
My first response was: “No way, you’ve got to be kidding.” Then, when my ego stepped aside, I chose to take a closer look. My interest was piqued to discover if I was living with the integrity I had prided myself upon. It was time to hear an honest reply. But when I asked the question again, the answer was clear – ‘Yes’, my inner voice told me, I had sold myself during the course of my career.
In fact, when I thought about it, it was laughable that I’d believed that I hadn’t sold myself. Through the archetypal profile of the Prostitute, which we all hold, I came to understand a core element of my own life that I had chosen. I had never grasped that I was selling myself in the process. I was proud of my job, the company and my achievements and vocal in supporting them. I did this for years on end. Until I stopped.
Survival I learned was too easy an excuse and my definition of survival was a First World version. The justifications flooded in. I needed to eat, pay the bills, pay rent, then my mortgage, buy clothes etc. I did it to keep my job and to get promoted. There were plenty of reasons. My heart sank deeper and deeper. I had bought the bulls#@t and sold my soul willingly for years. But now that I knew, was it o.k to continue? Absolutely not.
Looking back, I was in daily situations at work where people treated each other poorly; where money was squeezed out of every client with the sole aim of making more money; where my integrity was compromised by colleagues; where my integrity was compromised by myself; where I helped build new markets and manipulate the masses for corporate gain; where people were belittled, where numbers and statistics and ‘facts’ were used to communicate perceived truths; where people lied; where some salivated in their seeking of revenge; where clients were ridiculed behind their back and of course, never to their face. And this was in corporate environments held in high regard within industry because they were number one in their field. The conditioned societal expectation – read exploitation – of the Self (our norm), through work is brainwashing of the highest fundamental merit. Yes, they paid me well, when I fought for it. My corporate pimps sold a compelling story and I loved the hit.
My soul never gave up. It fought long and hard to be heard. It took volcanic bellowing from within with an instant requirement for resignations. “I just can’t do this anymore”, my inner Self cried. Finally I woke up. I had sold myself in the corporate world for too long and no matter what I was paid, it wasn’t enough.
Perhaps it’s time to check in with your heart and soul and listen for the answers:
- Where am I, or when have I been a corporate prostitute? In other words selling your intellect, services, skills, integrity, word, morals, time, body, soul or life? Where and when do you feel used and compromised by other people’s agendas?
- Where am I, or when have I been a corporate pimp? Where have you used others (employees, peers, clients, customers, suppliers) and been able to justify reasons for doing it?
The lure of money and power is attractive, magnetic and addictive. So much so, most of us compromise ourselves for money and/or power for our entire lives.
When you see situations where you are about to prostitute yourself again ask “Is it worth it?” Is it worth losing your integrity, morals, time or soul yet again?
The first step is to say “No.” This can be the most frightening thing of all. But do it once and magic happens – your power returns and as you show up, so does the Universe. Removing yourself from these debilitating situations will restore your energy, power and sense of Self. From today make your choice – act with integrity and self love and begin to make choices that support you, and your true self.
Sonia Friedrich is a mentor, author and speaker. She has worked for Fortune 500 companies and helped create markets and build brands worth up to $250 million in Australia & New Zealand. She recently launched her book “11 Steps to Healing – for Multimillionaires and Business Owners”.
Visit soniafriedrich for more.
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Book Review by Barry Eaton here