Happy Monday! It’s been a while since we road through the land of Pimps and Hoes (Corporate America). While the state of your hearts matter so much to me…so does the state of your wallets! ?? Today I’m going to cover the top 5 Mistakes I’ve made in Corporate America in hopes it helps you all to maneuver similar obstacles better than I did! 5. Working Weekends When I Did Not Have To! This! ?? Ever since I have been working in this country (from my early teens), I have always worked almost every hour of every job that I could! Sigh…it’s the Jamaican in me. There were times this was required of me or times that I really needed the money so I easily dedicated my time to work. I’m not talking about those times. You got to do what you have to do to achieve your career and financial goals. However, 80% of the time I was giving up my weekends just because I am use to doing so. Giving up my ME time. Giving up my peace of mind. Freely adding more stress on my mind and body. Sacrificing moments of peace that I’m just learning to cherish. I’m not married with children! Thus, making my weekends about me should be easy. Yet there were times I felt guilty for not working enough! ? I have gained weight and had many sleepless nights because of this need to work 6/7 days a week in the last 8 years! ? Running yourself down for shits and giggles is not the business! Not to mention if you keel over and die at your desk, Corporate America will gladly remove your corpse…quickly…to replace you…without even saying a prayer over your body! ??? You heard that?! No matter how valuable you think you are to a company (that’s not your own business) YOU ARE REPLACEABLE!!! So make sure that you don’t unnecessarily marry your job! That pimp ain’t got no love for hoes! “Cash rules everything around it” (quoting Wu-Tang Clan here) and not your spirit and you livelihood! So please go and enjoy your weekends! They are sacred! The people you love are so much more important than any job! And you just cannot get those moments back! 4. Getting Too Close To Coworkers/Taking Work Drama Home With Me! If you get nothing else from today’s blog, this is one of two lessons you better take hold of: COWORKERS ARE NOT YOUR REAL FRIENDS UNTIL YOU NO LONGER WORK TOGETHER AND STILL KEEP IN TOUCH BY CHOICE!!!! ?????? I work extra long days around a computer. The need for human contact is sometimes so deep that I find myself consorting with spawns of the devil to get through the day!!! At work, we must do what we must do to survive. As coworkers, we are all usually in the shit hole together so of course we bond like prisoners who just got out of solitary confinement! ? To be honest though…probably 90% of the people I have worked with over the years are people I would not normally socialize with.✌? The other 10% have become great friends…even some that feel like family! But it’s the 90% I want you to focus on! Folks with common goals and could be up for the same promotions are essentially competitors…no matter how nice and sincere they are! Everyone needs their paycheck and are typically not working for fun because they have millions in the bank! Thus, learning your weaknesses in a competitive environment works in their favor. Try to be sociable on a…dare I say it…fake level! Don’t share with your coworkers more than you would share with a stranger on the street! Keep conversations on the surface avoiding your personal life, politics, religion, or even most recent GYN visits! ? I know it sounds silly to say this but even I get caught up in the madness. If you do find that you let your guard down at work and shared too much…immediately stop sharing! Pull yourself back into being sociable on the surface!!!! And if drama ensues…smile, keep your cool until it blows over, don’t entertain conversations about it, and by all means…leave that shit at work! ?? Life is way too short to pack negativity with you! I know this is sometimes easier said than done but if you want to advance sanely…TRY! 3. Your Boss Is Never Your Friend! Over the course of my work history, I have had more amazing bosses than shitty! As a matter of fact, I’m still friends with many of them…decades after I have moved on! I know! I know! I’m in the minority! ?? Some bosses are so nice and just great to work for. Many have taught me valuable life and work lessons! With that being said, as their employee, I always had to keep in mind that while working for my great bosses…they were not my friends! Let me giving you an example. In my early 20s, after graduating from college, I worked for a university. My first boss and I are still great friends! After a year or so I got promoted in the same department and got a new boss that I also loved! While I loved my job, I knew that my goal was to go to graduate school in a few years. After 2.5 years of working for this university, I found out that I got into graduate school and was headed to NC in five months. I needed a boss to do some of my recommendations and to sign off on my financial standing for my new apartment. While I loved my current boss, I knew if I told him…I may lose my job because he was still my boss and I was going to be leaving in our busy season! What to do? I turned to my previous boss whom I trusted and who still worked in the same department…and enlisted her help. My leaving did not directly affect her and she always encouraged me to aim high! So she did my recommendations! ?? No matter how much I liked and respected my current boss at the time, if he knew I was leaving so early in advance…he would have had to make decisions as my boss! Not my friend! Please keep business as business and never take your boss as your friend until you no longer work for them! Business is business and should never be personal! ?? 2. Thinking That What I Do For A Living And Who I Am As A Person Are One And The Same! I have accomplished so much in life but for most of the last 8 years I have been ashamed of being a consultant. My credentials say I should be more, doing more, and making more and yet I wake up feeling less than. ? I came out of graduate school at the height of the 2008/2009 recession and slowly fell into my field. Then I became trapped because I was building experience in a dead end area of my field. Ouch. For years, I did not tell people what I did for a living….I use to just say I put tiny buttons on shirts! ? But truth be told, hindsight is 20/20. I have friends who are doing what I wanted to be doing and I do not envy their lives! I love my freedom to pick and choose when I want to work. As a consultant, while I’m not my own boss, I have the freedom to say no to things and switch up who I work with. There’s no one to deny my vacations or tell me I can’t take time off for myself. Granted I don’t get paid when I don’t work but the freedom to decide my own financial fate is important to me without the stresses of having my own business! ?? I travel when I want to and quite frequently. And while there’s always a danger that my job won’t be there when I come back…there are always other companies to consult with! Life goes on. Plus my current career allows me to follow other passions (like blogging) without making me feel like I have to choose one over the other! Hopefully it stays that way! ?????? It took me forever to find the positives in my current line of work! And I do make a decent living! I treat myself very well because every dime I make goes into me taking care of myself like a queen! ?? Never let a job define who you are as a person…even if you love what you do…for everything has a season and all seasons will come to an end! ?? If you are Usain Bolt, it’s okay to miss being a runner but even he must embrace his next chapter as being more than a runner and seeing it filled with hope! Life must go on…beautifully! What defines us are our hearts, our loved ones, and the times we refill our own cups with joy and laughter! There is so much more to a person than what they do for a living. Focus on the blessings until you get to where you want to go and even when you get to that destination…remember it too is just a season! No shame in making an honest living that provides our needs. You are so much more than your career! It took me almost a decade to realize that! ?? 1. Thinking Your Current Work Place Is Your Company! This is the other lesson you must tattoo in your brain! I have said this time and time again! Please do not invest all of your blood, sweat, and tears into a company you did not build! See number 5! No matter how irreplaceable you think you are to a company, you are still very replaceable because it’s not YOUR company!!! And in some rare instances, even a company you built may put your ass “out to pasture” when the new board of directors have a need for fresh blood! ? Most of the time though if it’s your own business…it will be your own legacy! That means even if you spent 20 years with the same company…they are probably not as invested in you and you are in them. One of the good things about being a consultant is I never feel like any company is my company because I work with so many! Though slaving away on weekends that I did not have to sends the message that I’m investing my time in a job that’s not going to be mine forever! “Silly rabbits! Tricks are for kids!” Your boss owes you nothing. Your company owes you nothing. Your coworkers owe you nothing. You are the only one who owes yourself something! Like the dignity to “know when to hold them and know when to fold them” during your stay in Corporate America! Pimps are only loyal to themselves! Once your ankles start getting ashy, you ain’t the new hoe anymore, and you can’t spend as much time tricking on the beat…that pimp is going to be looking for new hoes! ?? ~KJM on Charm School Monday!