Although a corporate career can be rewarding, too often the corporate world can be hard on our health and cruel for the soul. Before the pandemic sent us home, the corporate world wanted us to be tireless office soldiers, often ignoring our human side, and the fact that we are also parents or partners. Jobs take priority over kids’ soccer games or spending quality time with family. Taking time off to travel or relax is ridiculously limited (US is the only advanced economy that doesn’t mandate employers to offer paid time off; private industry usually offers 10 days of PTO as compared to 25-40 offered in some western European countries, while annually 768 million vacation days go unused in the US).
The American corporate world doesn’t leave much room for balance. More often than not, if you want a career, you are expected to sacrifice your personal life and even your health. We don’t take time off for fear of losing our spot on the ladder. And often we find ourselves working hard for many years only to be casually replaced or laid off one day, unceremoniously discarded, leaving us feeling gut-punched. When you invest so much time and effort into a corporate career, it’s hard to let it go and move on, but more often than not it’s very rewarding—especially on a personal level. It can awaken a perhaps forgotten part of your personality, it can allow for more creativity to come alive, and provide a new sense of freedom.
Heather was one of the many wonderful professionals who was laid off due to Scripps Networks Interactive’s restructuring and then acquisition by Discovery. When the rug was pulled from underneath her feet—both in her professional and personal life (divorce)—she turned to the one thing that could restore balance and happiness in her world, while still allowing her to put her professional background to good use: she started her own yoga practice.
I talked with Heather about her path to small business ownership and how she navigated multiple challenges, including the pandemic, ultimately finding happiness and personal success.
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