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ABOUT THAT (CORPORATE) LIFE

// How you need a 9-5 job to understand you are ultimately not that person.

WORDS BY NAOMI ACCARDI

San Francisco, California – as I am sitting at one of the charging stations at the airport waiting for my flight to Munich, where I am headed for business purposes after spending a week in the sunny Golden State, I take a quick look at my Microsoft Outlook calendar.
It’s October 23
rd 2017.
I sigh, it’s been a long week.
What was supposed to be a romantic Napa Valley getaway turned into a tragic heartbreak, served to me by the nth man in my life.
But that’s a story for another time.

I go back to sieving through the emails I haven’t checked during my time out of office while enjoying my old Los Angeles life.
It has been 6 years since I entered the workforce.
Seven since I enrolled into college, 5 since I graduated.
In 2017, I am a manager at one of the biggest sportswear/apparel companies of the world  in one of the most critical markets.
Seven or eight jobs down the line, the desk where I sit is the most important of my life – not due to the importance of my role or company, but more because it made me realize this is not the life I want.

Many would die to have my job, I am very fortunate, yes.
I also worked very hard for this, since the very beginning of my career (spoiler alert: I now make a decent amount of money but I started with a very low wage. Low wage meaning: FREE).
But finally I realized something, I am not made for this life.
I am not made to sit at a desk for somebody else, having to fight for my ideas to be approved by people who most likely have no idea of what I am talking about and maybe have skills but no passion (that’s also a stretch).
I am not made to be reviewed every 6 months based on company targets and goals that most of the time have nothing to do with my actual work and I am not made to forcedly be nice to people I don’t like just because they are my superiors.
Matter fact, most of the times I don’t even respect what these people have to say in regards to my projects and knowledge.

2017 has been an extremely harsh year for my mental health, turned into real physical sickness and heavy anxiety. But it has the best year of my life when it comes to self realization.
I got to know myself better than ever.
It gave me the opportunity to  look inside and finally have the courage to admit to myself  that I don’t have shit figured out. I was looking for security in all the wrong things, and I was running from job to job, country to country just because I didn’t want to face the fact that I am too good for any big company (bit of an arrogant statement I know, sssht!).
Big companies squeeze your brain empty of its creative juices and put you in a box.
I can’t be that person. The boundaries imposed by corporate policies and guidelines fit me tight like a size 0 dress. I am size 10. In both clothes and personality.

As a creative person I need to be able to create at my own pace.
Let my brain run free and scale down at the last minute after all potential is tapped into.
The “dream” corporate job doesn’t allow you that.
Not to mention it doesn’t allow you to be yourself – there are always some rules  you need to follow and office drama you need to avoid. And political ways to approach others and issues.
All is a compromise and a race to who’s better at talking behind your back.

All that plus company policies and facility laws that are enforced as if the building I am in was a prison. No pictures stuck to the wall, no product laying around, no lunch at your desk, pretend to be happy at your open air table or you are too serious and not collaborative enough. Bullshit.

This is not who I am. I want more.
I want to be able to do things the way I want, with the people I want, blasting Chief Keef if I want to. I want to create beautiful things and educational programs that have an actual effect on people and that will allow me to say, I did that… proudly, with no second means to it.
I want to be true to myself and allow myself to make mistakes and learn from it without having the pressure of a mid year review.
And I want to be able to allow other people to express themselves.
I want to be able to take the day off and go for a walk if the sun is out and there’s a breeze.

I want to give work to the people I truly believe it, not those whom are already in the company’s radar and I want to work with only women that have a story and are not afraid to wear a sweat suit to the office. With slipper and socks if it fancies them.

I want to break free off the archaic chain of work we are made believe to have to follow in order to be successful and I want to work in a place where promotions are given to whom deserves it because they are fucking ace at what they do. A place where people are not afraid of being themselves and speak their mind (obviously with due research and back up to those thoughts or you are dismissed even in my ideal workplace) because that’s what fosters innovation and revolution.

In other words all I want is to create beautiful things that will contribute to making the world a better place and inspire people to have good taste. This is what makes me happy.
My career has been a rollercoaster of joining and quitting.
Sitting at the same desk everyday to working from my couch.
After two full years producing for men I never met in my life, it’s about time I buy a desk to put next to my couch. Soon come.

 

(DISCLAIMER: With that said, anybody with big dreams and plans should get a corp job.
It will allow you to understand what you truly want for your life and everything you don’t want to be. It will teach you how to deal with different kind of people and how to be brave while learning how to manage your workflow. And most of the time, like it happened to me, it will teach you what you truly want to achieve in life).

Words by Naomi Accardi.
Illustrations by Almost Iris.

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