Remember at the end of Devil Wear’s Prada, when Anne Hathaway’s character realised she thought she was choosing the opportunity presented, a trip to Paris to Fashion Week with the editor of Vogue, but instead had actually taken advantage of Emily Blunt’s characters misfortune to better her own feeling of empowerment?
Ohh the joys of Corporate America, a fancy title, generous salary, and manipulations that are created in the name of accountability.
My story begins in the midst of having my own battle as a store manager. It was what I knew was right for my team versus corporate incentives and the pressures of producing the numbers for HQ. They were always at odds.
So what was the real issue here? Selling my soul to the Devil, dealing with a horrible boss, or the traditional structure of Corporate culture not understanding how to create an environment that is empowering?
Hmmm, looking back for me, it was both the internal cultural structure that was created by the company and a bad boss. Yes, I knew what I was being asked to do was not aligned with my values, based on the terrifying fact that there was a constant undercurrent of a threat, ‘well if you won’t/can’t do it ……..’. There was also always someone who had their heart set on making my desk theirs. So what did I do? I felt I had to sell my soul and work with this company where there was no big picture, no ‘we’re all working for the same goal’!
This reminds me of a very famous example…when Henry Ford created, in the name of progress - atomization. Everyone had a job to do with no required need to understand the big picture. Yes, he figured out how to increase the production (yay company profits), but in the same breath, lost all the pride of workmanship and the most compelling part of this example, motivation. See where I’m going with this?
Since Henry Ford, corporate structure has since been tweaked, now offering competitive pay structures and dangling bonuses for those who love to jump. You could take home more at bonus time or receive a prize. I wonder what they financially promised you, and did it fill your heart? The stats are in and these extrinsic motivators are simply not working. They make you take your eye off the real prize and leave you feeling like one of Pavlov’s dogs – well that’s how it felt to me.
I believe corporations really need to start understanding how we are motivated. Yes, I know there are personality tests to help you communicate with your fellow employees, but do you really get what makes them tick? Is it jumping for the next prize, or do they value public recognition, or is it doing something out of your way for them, a hand on the shoulder for support – ohhh you mean appreciation – how novel!
Personally, I’m in favour of a company that supports you for your talents and finds people that complement each other. Ohh, a real team, a partnership! I know they exist. For those of you who are not, I say let’s do something about it before they strip you of your last morsel of self – esteem. You are worth more!!
How? How can we help each other stand tall, work together and help companies understand this? The Pink Portfolio helped me to heal, network with other women who had been through the same experience, they gave me hope. I found support and learned new skills and I now realise there is a way to manage my team without the threat of accountability. I’m not saying don’t be accountable, I am saying together we are accountable – it’s a partnership and I’m not writing you off because you’re not perfect.
The biggest change, it may seem a small thing – I sleep, full nights of undisturbed quality sleep. My body feels 10 years younger, no backache or migraines – I am a different woman.
We can be collaborative and not competitive and bitchy and judgemental. There is no need to sell your soul and if you are asked to - remember Karma is a beautiful woman and she has a very long memory.