May 26, 2015

Work is About a Search for Daily Meaning: Why I Quit My Corporate Job. {Poem}

helen mirren

“Work is about a search for daily meaning as well as daily bread, for recognition as well as cash, for astonishment rather than torpor; in short, for a sort of life rather than a Monday through Friday sort of dying.” ~ Studs Terkel

I used to be somebody.
I used to walk into a room
And people looked over other people’s shoulders
To see if they could engage with me.

I was well placed,
Well thought of and well-heeled.
I had value and power and influence.


I used to be somebody.

But being somebody was the worst job I ever had
(Not if you counted 401k’s or expense accounts
Or flying first class or lunches with the governor’s wife)

But if you counted
Peace of mind
And knowing whether you were really making a difference
in people’s lives.

Then it was the worst job I ever had

I had to be so careful

Never a sentence that was not politically correct
Or a thought that was spontaneous
Or an invitation given without careful calculation
Never a dress worn or a hair cut that
That wasn’t a furtherance of my image
And hence
The furtherance of
The image of
The Not-For-Profit Corporation/God
I worked for.

My creativity, my spontaneity, my zest
Were drained out of me
In the name of

In the name of the Big Bucks

Where people’s suffering and pain
Were turned into
Philanthropic Opportunities.

Where I would actually have
Intimate conversations
With potential donors
About their ski lodges in Whistler
Or their Private Jets
Or their 4,000 acre horse farms in Montana

When I gave my notice
They asked me what would motivate me to stay?


Today, I have the best job I’ve ever had

No corporate status
No corporate identity
No corporate clothes or haircuts.

Today I am
A corporate nothing and
A corporate nobody

Today I am just me
My Computer
My Stories
My Words
And my e-mails from readers

Thank you, they say
Your story helped me, they say
I was finally able to cry, I never saw things that way, and
I love you they say
In all the ways they say I love you

I know I am making a difference in people’s lives.

I am a Writer




How to Cure Irritable Bowel Syndrome in a Few Days.



Author: Carmelene Siani 

Editor: Catherine Monkman

Photo: Kerem Tapani Gültekin/Flickr

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