* Written by Sam Cartagena for YettiSays 8th Annual Self-Love Month | “Shedding Layers” Post Series
Dear “Corporate Girl” Sam,
I know you were raised to believe this was the only path to success. It’s all you heard, over and over. They said: Be a good girl, get good grades, go to a good college, get a good job, and you’ll be set. You’ll be the one who made it.
I know you love a good challenge, so hearing, “It will be difficult, and you’ll have to work twice as hard as everyone else,” just made you say, “Let’s fucking go.”
Well, you made it. The hard work and hustle paid off. You arrived at the Corporate America you always dreamed of. The one with the fast pace, important meetings, and big paychecks.
What they failed to mention at the welcome gate is that your personality must be checked at the door. Any signs of actually being a woman of color must be packed away and stowed for the duration of your visit. Sleek, straightened hair and perfectly structured sentences must be presented. “You’re so articulate,” they’ll say.
You’ve made it.
And you’ll stay. For a few years, at least. You’ll play the perfect role of the good corporate girl: the one who skips lunch, works 10 hour days, and does what needs to get done.
Until one day, the place you were told is a dream destination will start to feel more like a hostage situation. Leaving will feel nearly impossible. And not just leaving one job for another – leaving Corporate America behind entirely. If this is the only road to success, where else are you supposed to go?
As you start to ask yourself these difficult questions, the decision will eventually be made for you. While it may feel like a punishment at that moment, trust that it’s actually a gift. Being laid off will give you the opportunity to step outside of “the” path, and instead, create your own path to success.
It won’t be easy. At first, it will feel like you have no idea where you’re going. It will feel like all of the tools and skills you’ve worked so hard to gather are now obsolete. It will feel like they’ve taken everything from you.
They haven’t. They never could, and they never will.
At this critical juncture, remember that you have one tool that can never be taken away from you: your intuition. Your intuition is your inner knowing that supersedes any external metrics for success. She’s always been there, and she always will.
Step by step, your intuition will guide you to the ultimate destination you’ve been looking for – back home to yourself. From this place, success is measured not by external accolades, but by the embodiment of freedom.
I’ll see you when you get here.
You’ll know when you’ve made it.