Corporate burnout is a thing. I’d heard this for years but it took me to actually experience it to understand it. Corporate burnout is what happens when you give your all for everyone else. You care more about your paycheck and you think of all the things you could do someday with all that money.
They pay you enough to blow off everything else. You think you’ll just buy your kid a mustang convertible one day to make up for all those times you just weren’t there.
For me, all my surviving grandparents passed away within a year but I couldn’t make it to see them before they went because “I had to work.” I made the foolish assumption that my job needed me more than my family and well, I thought everything would always be ok. My work knew all about my grandparents passing. They actually became suspicious of me having to attend funerals for all three grandparents within a year. I had to explain how many grandparents I had left. One supervisor actually searched for my grandma’s obituary to make sure I wasn’t lying.
To climb the corporate ladder, I skipped vacation for 8 years. I skipped seeing loved ones. I had a notebook in my car to write notes about all those things I didn’t get done the previous day. I took days off and ended up still working from home all assuming it was because they cared about me and needed me. I skipped doctors and dentist appointments because “they needed me.”
Now, was I rewarded? Eventually, when I found out they were paying me differently than the guys–who incidentally had no trouble taking vacations or days off. I literally worked harder, fought harder, and did everything I could to climb that ladder.
The past three years before quitting, I did pretty well-enough to pay off most debt and save so I could quit and find my soul again. But the way I was treated got worse and worse the more I made. To the point where a co worker once told me if I were to be hit by a bus, they’d be in my hospital room with a laptop and cell phone.
Burnout is what happens when you realize how much you’ve sacrificed for your paycheck and then realized the company has come to expect you to continue sacrificing. They don’t care about you or your family. They care that you’re making them money. As was evidenced the day I quit. My boss just kept asking, “so you’re resigning? Are you resigning today? Is this your resignation?” There was no asking how to keep me; how can they make their workplace better. Just, “if you’re quitting I need to know now and get a replacement.”
No matter how good you are at what you do, they’ll get rid of you rather than make changes. And I dare say especially if you’re female. So, I burned out on caring about the company. I sacrificed for them and gave up everything I believed in for the paycheck. I donated a lot. I can’t do that now, but I can look myself in the mirror and I can respect myself. That’s worth more than the paycheck to me. I wish more people could understand this. It’s just not worth it. You aren’t for sale. Money doesn’t buy happiness. It creates misery. I guess that’s life and maybe it’s time I grow up and just take the money, but not at the expense of my integrity.
Some people think I’m insane to walk away from the money. My parents wonder where they went wrong because the world runs on money, you see. Not love.
I don’t get it. I’d rather be loved than wealthy. I’d rather make a contribution to life than to wealth. I’m not for sale. Being paid more and treated like crap wasn’t worth it. In fact, there is no amount of money I could be paid to make me sacrifice who I am. None. And I guess that’s weird. Oh well. I know I’m not the only one.