Dear John letterDear Corporate World,

It’s been a year or so since we broke up for good. I’m so glad it happened.

While I learned a lot about myself from you and realized that you are probably perfect for some girls out there, I’m not one of them.

When I left I thought that it was because of your incessant desire to have me in the office at normal hours, your constant nagging about the clothes I was or wasn’t wearing. But I was mistaken; those things were just surface issues. Our problems, my dear, are much deeper than that.

See all the things that make me a great consultant to companies just like you are the very things you hated about me.

Being able to direct all facets of a project without dealing with ego or jockeying for position in front of the manager are so great. It’s a lot simpler to get things done when you don’t get stymied by internal politics.

It was also fantastic that even though I had a ton of input around who might make a good manager and who was definitely not qualified for their position, you allowed those decisions to be made by much simpler qualifications, like who went to high school together or what cool new startup someone had been let go from.

The best thing about working for you, sweet corporate world, was the easy to remember schedule. Obviously, true work can only be done in the presence of others, during set hours of the day and in very specific clothing. Obviously.

I enjoyed, as did many of my co-workers, the opportunity to occasionally gorge myself on bagels. Knowing that management valued me in such a high-carbohydrate way truly made my job easier to do and is SO much easier to consume than actual wages and more appreciated than a flexible schedule so I could see my family or even a private room so I could pump milk for my child.

But why am I being so harsh? Surely these rules would not exist if there were a simple way to work from home, track time and results or eliminate petty and ineffective middle managers. I too, had my problems.

For example, when I was sick, I took my sick days instead of coming to work and infecting my co-workers. I foolishly pointed out that people who could not handle their own work shouldn’t be promoted and frequently tried to save the company money when it was clear the budget was totally fine without my input. I am, in truth, a nosy and overstepping employee.

I can’t say that it bothers my new “employer” too much, since that employer is me. My clients get as much of my attention and hard work as you used to, but for both of us, it’s a much more pleasurable exchange. And while many of my colleagues, clients and friends, enjoy a stringent and traditional schedule, I focus my energy when and where it’s needed, scheduling calls for specific and convenient times rather than answering every call that comes across my desk.

Oh, I almost forgot to tell you the coolest part! When I’m sick, I relax in my bed, reschedule my meetings quickly and get well much faster. Instead of mustering my energy driving halfway across town, I take a nap and get back to work much faster.

And here’s the best part. Because my clients get a bill every month, they expect me to point out flaws in their process, allow me to augment their marketing efforts, and take my budget and hiring considerations to heart. Who knew?

I can work whether I am away at a conference, have family staying in my home, or need to take my children to the library. If I have one of my many tools (four computers, an iPad, an iPhone and several software licences I purchased myself) tools you wouldn’t allow me to use, I can continue to write, design, build, communicate and make and receive phone calls. I even use social collaboration tools to be an integral part of teams from companies all over the world!

Overall, I learned a lot about working from you. I learned how I did not and could not work. I learned which of my traits are valuable and in which scenarios. I’m glad you gave me the ability to discern what I wanted out of my professional life.

And I hope you learned something from me too. Not just the kinds of people to hire but the kinds of people to fire and to train and to let walk away. Which kinds of people you will attract and/lose with your current policies and set-up.


The Entrepreneurs

P.S. This post was heavily influenced by this one. Read it. It’s good.

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