Thursday, 31 October 2013

Does working for someone else means Losing your individuality

When I was in a corporate for 4.5 years I realized that one of things that happens, off-course organically, is they try to mold you into their own patterns.
All corporations do, they have their own values, process, working methodology and traits which you have to understand, imbibe & fit into. In a way its good, especially when you join as a freshman out of college you are in the super-learning mode and grasp everything that comes your way. I did that big time.

When I joined a start-up, I though this would completely go away and conversation will be without pretense and empathy will be the mantra. Its true in a way when compared to a typical corporate, but still this loss of individuality is expected at times and you are reminded of it if you do not comply

Every coin has two sides and at times you start to feel that maybe this (values, process, methodologies et. all ) does not seem quite right. Your subjectivity comes into play and then you have questions & doubts, these slowly if piled up leads to anguish & frustration.

Have you felt this way while working for someone else? If yes keep on reading....

I call this feeling "Losing your Religion" ( from the great R.E.M song....)
So why it is important to keep maintaining your individuality, there are good reasons to do this:

You get to be your true self

“Remember to always be yourself. Unless you suck.” - Josh Whedon
Most time you are apprehensive to say out loud that "you may prefer a peaceful ride across the outskirts at night" as compared to "noisy drunk booze infested party at work". Well that's just an example, we all need booze once a while. But in all honestly you will get to say NO's & YES's the way you want to. You do not ever get into a popularity contest and unless you do not rub people the wrong way, you are your true self most of the times. Its scary, but then its a choice you should make and be honest to your values, ethics & guiding principles. Best part you need not remember anything, just be :)

You get to test your hypothesis

“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.” - Mark Twain
Most of the times your thoughts, understanding & views are a series of hypothesis. The more you bring it out in the public space he more chances you get to test them. Nobody is always right, but everyone has a right to voice what they feel and they should. You may piss off some individuals at times, but then I believe its ok. The questions is that how do you measure your own growth & evolution? Only when you are out with your conversations in public and taking every shit that comes along.

You get to handle criticism & improve

“You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.” Nietzsche
Criticism is highly underrated. Its one of the weapons for self-improvement. Its keeps you on your toes and away from the blanket of complacency. Being in the company of people who encourage dialogues esp startups & small companies where you get to have more conversations is a perk. Most people are afraid to take a contrarian standpoint. My advice trust you gut. voice it with rationale arguments and people's verdict will be on your face.

You are never second guessed

The greatest favor you can do for yourself is to be yourself all the time. - Anonymous
Most time you have worked in an organisation for long & you realize "Boy !! I do not know Mr John Doe who sat next to me for 10 years??" So you second guessed him as a recluse, uninteresting and introvert. You never knew that John Doe went through a divorce, lost his only child in an accident and went to a shrink for 6 years. But guess what he used to be a part-time artist & painter & wrote few books for children. Well, so was he interesting and worth a second look? Absolutely!! 
Silence is highly overrated, its like a protective coat that shields you away from public exposure. But it does more bad that good. If you think you are being second guessed, speak up today in the next meet / conversation.

You get to participate in interesting dialogues

A conversation is a dialogue, not a monologue. That's why there are so few good conversations: due to scarcity, two intelligent talkers seldom meet. - Capote
Life quickly passes by. All you remember I guess are the people and their conversations. Either you can be an onlooker & be a spectator for life OR you can take the center-stage and exchange thoughts & ideas.

Life too short to wait & watch. As legendary actress Judy Garland once said "Always be a first rate version of yourself and not a second rate version of someone else.”

Its a choice we all have to make at our workplace? Do we loose our individuality - the only religion that makes sense today? What will you do?

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