Why a corporation will never let you develop

I work for a corporation.  I work for a big corporation.  I mean BIG.  Not that it is a point of pride or anything, I just think that, for what I’m writing about, size matters.  If you’ve every worked for a company or corporation or any organization of significant size you’ll probably know what I’m talking about.

The company I currently work for has all these different programs and mandates and bully-hoos that talk about integrating yourself in the corporation and developing yourself, and on and on.  And managers sit and talk with me about staying with the company and how much I can develop, and grow within the organization and how there is room for growth and all that nonsense.  The reason I call it nonsense is because, it kind of is.  At the end of the day, I know what I am.  I am a cog in a machine.  A corporation needs to produce, sell, market, service, whatever as long as it brings in revenue.  The only room that allows me to develop myself is if there is some way I can bring that back to the bottom line.  In other words, a corporation is entirely selfish.  Now, I’m not necessarily criticizing here.  Perhaps this is the way it has to be.  Perhaps there is no other way.  And if there is another way, I don’t know what it is.  I can’t imagine any company being successful if everyone at the company worked on whatever they wanted to work on.  Whatever their particular whim was.

And you know what?  Good.  Get your life fulfilled outside of work.  Why should a corporation define who you are?  I know, I know, you have to do what you love and then it won’t feel like work.  That doesn’t work for everyone, and the people who are able to do that, only can do that because everybody else is doing work they don’t necessarily want to do.  Yes, you can find joy in your work and I think its important, but I’d say the majority of the time, someone who is scrubbing floors or cleaning bathrooms doesn’t necessarily get off on it.

Where the hell was I?  Oh yeah, a corporation never really wants to see you develop.  What they want you to become is as efficient a cog in the machine as possible, so that you can maximize or optimize whatever needs to be maximized or optimized.  I’ve even seen career path planning for people we just interviewed, as if we already knew their all their wants and desires based on a 45 minute conversation.  Speaking of interviews, you better not answer any question wrongly, or your full dedication to your work might be in question… though we’ll tell you everything we can about how we value work-life balance to entice you to come and work for us.

Don’t ever believe a manager if he or she tells you they have a plan for you, or they have a vision for your future.  If they ever make a promise like that to you, get it in writing.  Chances are they’ve made the same promise to a dozen others just like you.  A dozen other cogs in the machine.

One thought on “Why a corporation will never let you develop

  1. In my research, I identified what I call “meaning deficiency” as one of the six most common reasons for corporate misery. People don’t want to just show up and collect a paycheck; they want to do work that’s meaningful. Some people do find meaningful work in corporations. However, many others feel that they can’t do fulfilling work in their corporate jobs—either because the company values are different than their own or because they are stuck in jobs that don’t tap into their talents. When you suffer from “meaning deficiency,” you rarely feel a true sense of achievement at the office. You spent a lot of hours on tasks that seem to have little value. Many with meaning deficiency end up burned out or depressed as a result.

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