We spend most of our waking hours working at our chosen profession. It is the single biggest environmental factor in each of our lives, outside of our homes. By environmental factor, I don’t only mean the office or place where we do the bulk of our work, but all of the things that the job entails. The commute, if you have one, the culture, the work style and expectations, the emotional and mental energy and frequency of the work itself plus that of all the aforementioned and a host of other individual characteristics and influences all make up this environment.
What does yours look like? How does it support you or detract? Is it how you would prefer? Do you feel like it builds and grows you or holds you back or even oppresses you? Most importantly, can you be you?
Every organization and profession has its own set of written and unwritten rules. I have best heard this described as a pendulum. This pendulum is excellent as you catch on, conform and begin the rapid rise to the top while adopting and adapting to the norms of expectation. It can be a heady experience as you get the high of it all. But as any pendulum does, it eventually swings back down and can even knock you off and reject you if you question or do not continue to conform to the way of the pendulum. The pendulum only intends to survive so it does and it gains power and momentum as more people feed it.
The pendulum itself isn’t bad. It isn’t out to get you. It simply is. There are pendulums we would consider “good” as people jump onto the ideas and causes we support. In the end, the only way to survive the pendulum is not only to get off of it, which is great until it swings back and smacks you in the head but to also step to the side as you watch it swing by observing it from your place of perspective and solid footing. With your awareness comes even more power and control than any blind adherence could bring. Now, you choose where you get on and get off. You have to maintain awareness, however, or you will find the power of the pendulum has sucked you in again.
What does all this mean for you? It means it is time to think. We are not used to doing this, for the pendulum doesn’t promote or allow this type of thinking at all.