Attempting To Build a Career
During my years in education, when it came to career advice. The consistent message from everyone, everywhere was “Neil, build a career with a big blue-chip company, its the only way!”. Therefore I eventually took their advice and joined German multi-national Henkel, to build a career.
It wasn’t a mistake. When I look back on the best years, they invested in me and I got a brilliant education. Eventually I would get to travel the world and experience all the highs and lows of business with them.
Being there also allowed me learn the short comings of big business environments. I witnessed teams that had been formed to create race horses, produce camels instead. And oil tankers attempting to pivot quickly.
If you’ve attended any business meeting, then I’m sure you’ve experienced the use of jargon. During my time at Henkel I experienced my fair share and I detest it. Especially when its used to meaninglessly fill presentations and conversations during meetings, extending them unnecessarily. I’m talking about lazy sound bites that people infectiously pick up and keep regurgitating over and over again. It brings zero value to a subject and life’s simply too short to waste time on it.
I think self obsession can be an ugly consequence of working extended periods inside competitive corporate environments. Often, as people acquire more and more responsibility, they can begin to take themselves a little too seriously and I’ve been there. In other words it’s an unhealthy diversion from what really matters. It normally starts with a desire to get ahead and while theres nothing wrong with that. Personally I became obsessed by job titles, only focused on the superficial things I needed to climb the greasy pole. Always looking towards my next new business card or a fancier company car. Instead of more valuable self improvement skills.
Don’t Be a Narcissist.
Theres no profound moral to my time at Henkel, other than to say I don’t think I let any personal narcissism creep in. Moreover I learned to avoid using business bull and eventually I overcame my job title obsession. Thankfully I came away with a lot, including the things I don’t like about large corporate environments.