I have a dream. And I also had a dream. About corporations and fear. Or shall I say ultimately, about corporations and love.
I have a dream that one day it will be possible to say these two words – “corporations” and “love” – together without it sounding like an oxymoron.
I have a dream that one day executives and employees, CEOS and administrative assistants, peers and teams and managers alike will join together, say a few “kumbayas” and make love the bottom line or maybe even just one of them.
I have a dream that it will be okay to say the words “I love you” within the confines of corporate walls, real or virtual.
Yes, I have about love in the business world.
I also had a dream. A real one. It was about fear in the business world. It went like this:
I was drifting off to sleep, thinking about my years in corporate life and how I was afraid so much of the time.
Afraid of what I could or could not say, afraid of whether I was wearing the right thing, afraid of what people were saying about me, afraid that I wasn’t pleasing the boss, that my staff might not like and respect me, afraid of the next performance review, afraid of getting in trouble, (which I never did by the way). Afraid. Afraid. Afraid.
The fact that I worked in Human Resources only exacerbated my already fearful state. As the organizational parent, conscience, judge and jury, my own behavior had to be beyond reproach. It was on display and it was being watched. As if I wasn’t afraid enough just trying to navigate the corporate machine as a regular ol’ employee, being in this role ratcheted up the fear factor significantly.
A few minutes pass, my eyes gently give way and I settle into slumber. Suddenly, I’m transported to another consciousness, whisked away, like Dorothy in her tornado only instead of Oz I was headed back to the LAND of THE FORTUNE 500, a land where the road isn’t always paved with gold but the parachutes are.
I find myself sitting in my black leather executive chair, in my nicely appointed office only I’m dressed in my pajamas with no makeup and my hair askew, much like I dress for my new line of work as “self-employed.” I’m shuffling papers as if i‘m trying to find something terribly important while mumbling the words “Love is the bottom line, Love is the ultimate bottom line”
My assistant comes in and asks me if I am okay and I tell her not only am I okay, I am truly blessed. I then tell her that I love her. I go to give her a hug but I can tell by the look on her face that wouldn’t be such a good idea.
I then proceed to my morning meeting – still in pjs, no makeup, hair askew. Needless to say I receive a number of funny looks from these folks too. They have that same look on their face – something between horror and trying to hold back laughter – that my assistant did. They ask me for my thoughts on a solution to a very sticky problem and I respond — Hmmm – “let me meditate on it”.
I then put my hands in prayer position and tell them all “Namaste” – “the light in me honors the light in you.”
Later that day, Human Resources shows up in my office. Everything I have been fearing finally comes true. I said the wrong thing. My boss doesn’t like me and neither does the staff now. To top it off, I’m told I’m not seen as a “business person”. The ultimate corporate insult.
HR then politely tells me I am “not a fit” for the culture, sympathetically offers me the services of the EAP (Employee Assistance Program) to assist me with getting my head back on straight (not HR’s job), and generously provides a bunch of boxes to pack my things.
I lay my head on my desk sobbing, I mumble to myself – “Oh If only I had stuck with business language, if only I didn’t say “I love you” to those I love, if only I said we are in business just to make money, if only I had the answer on the spot to the problem, they would have let me stay here in this LAND of FORTUNE and reap the benefits. Or at least I could have jumped on to the golden parachute and landed with some dollars in my pocket.”
I did the only thing left to do when you have just gotten fired in your dream.
I clicked my mouse three times (right click)….
And then I was “home.” Back in the real world, or the unreal world, however you choose to look at it. I realized I had just woken from a nightmare and returned to a place where dreams really can come true and actually do.
Even my dream about company’s being in business not only to make money but also to make love.
Now, how’s THAT for a “bottom line?”
With Grace, Shari