Yesterday was my first day as Associate Editor at Psych Central! As I indicated in my Beyond Blue post “Be You Very Well,” I was able to patch enough writing and editorial jobs together to stay away from the corporate world for a very long time if not longer. I’m excerpting a few paragraphs from my first post for them here, followed by the link to the official debut.
I will of course continue to write a weekday blog for Beyond Blue, as I have been doing. I’m able to contribute to a few websites right now because I have decided to take a break from books for awhile … although, if I do one, I was thinking of calling it “The Naked Consultant: 12 Ways to Absolutely Lose Your Freakin’ Mind in Corporate America” because, on one of my more frustrating days, I got up at 4:30 am as usual, drove 65 miles to McLean, Virginia, and swam laps at a gym there. When I climbed out of the pool I realized I had left my work clothes in Annapolis. There was no way in hell I was driving back, so I waited for TJ Max to open and bought the cheapest (and most benign) dress I could find. By the time I made it to work, my desk reservation had bumped (you had to reserve a desk a week ahead of time to guarantee a place to work), so then I headed to the computer lab. My cell phone rang while I was there (it’s a silent zone) so I got the ugly stares. Scary ones. At which point I ran outside and burst into tears. It’s sounds like that children’s book, “If You Give a Pig a Pancake,” doesn’t it?
Yes. That’s the gist of my next book, “The Naked Consultant.”
Here’s my Psych Central debut ….
Oprah Winfrey told the 1997 graduating class of Wellesley College that failure is God’s way of saying “Excuse me, you’re moving in the wrong direction.” She also said that when you are doing what you were created to do, it should feel like breathing.
The talk show host was spot on with me because the last six months as a strategic communications consultant (whatever the hell that is) at a large consulting firm felt like 175 days of suffocation. The more I tried to fit in with all the Harvard MBAs, the more awkward I felt (as a theology major). The more I studied the various models of change management and how to direct a government agency from vision to implementation, the greater gap I felt between who I was and what I was doing for a steady paycheck.
I didn’t make a very good consultant because I’m too honest. I cannot sell something I don’t believe in. And my heart was nowhere in all those communications plans I was writing. All of my therapy and support groups have trained me how to teach a person to fish, instead of handing him grilled salmon on a plate … to get people to do things for themselves. Which isn’t exactly what your employer wants you to do: to give a client a list of reasons why they don’t need you and why they should save their money for more important things.
With this philosophy, I knew I would be laid off sooner than later, and that I could no longer waste my time on projects that demand a conservative-consultant-type, not the kind of sarcastic and playful drama queen that likes to laugh and have a good time in meetings or can crank out post after post on about the human psyche.