corporate, life, culture, formaility, conference rooms, email, companies, career, binders, meetingsAfter 24 years living and working in the corporate offices of some great companies, you get used to some creature comforts. Things that seem valuable. Items or features that you begin to stop appreciating.


In my relatively new portfolio career, I still go to corporate offices. I just don’t have to stay there for very long.

I’m often consulting in marketing, branding or business strategy. Helping people do great things.

During a visit last month to a corporate office, I had a moment. Call it a moment of satisfaction. A recognition that caused a small and brief grin to crawl across my chin.

It briefly made any concerns about trying to succeed in a non-traditional job a little less concerning. Because I was free of certain corporate trappings.

Here are 5 things I don’t miss from corporate life:

1. Binders

The office I was in recently had 18 linear feet of shelves full of binders. All white. All meticulously labeled (Sales Meeting Notes, Aug 2009). I hate binders for the most part. They are heavy and have no place in the corporate world now that basic technology allows for their disappearance. Binders are evil. They are almost as bad as the books kept in those same shelves from business school. Like “Advanced Accounting”, binders rarely get opened.

2. Formality

There’s something about corporate offices that suck the life out of employees. It’s hard to establish your own way or personal brand inside the big glass walls. You have to be careful not to stand out. Not to state your opinion too often. You often have to give way to the ideas of your elders. Even if you’ve got an idea that’s screaming to get out. I realize this sounds crass. And, of course, some companies have realized the value in tapping the greatness of their employees. Maybe your company does that. Or did that.

3. Conference Rooms

I don’t spend much time in conference rooms any more. But they are an expected necessity I guess. And while some companies try to make conference rooms more bearable, that is not the norm. They are still known for long, meandering meetings without a clear objective. And I don’t have much time for those these days. And I don’t miss them.

4.Writing Performance Reviews

Despite my belief that employee feedback is really important, I grew tired and sick of writing performance reviews. Especially when I was with companies that automated the process so much that the review appeared to be co-written by me and some HR robot software. Or when the review process required review after review prior to a process driven conversation. Such a great concept of providing feedback became a stress-filled conversation with few winners along the way.

5. Getting CC’d

Of course this is part of a larger issue called “the over-communication of corporate living”. I could also include general email backlog (see my post on using the nuclear option), handling phone messages after a full day of meetings, and responding to 150 emails starting at 5:00 PM, and all those people who reply to all. But getting cc’d might be the worst use of technology. I don’t get cc’d much anymore. Thankfully.

If you exited corporate, what’s on your “don’t miss” list?

Anything you do miss?

If still there, what would you gladly say goodbye to forever? Let me know!

Thanks qthrul for the photo via flickr