conversation is an engine

A lot can happen in a conversation

To Flee Corporate Dysfunction or Not?

with 4 comments

Where will you run?

My friend just quit her corporate job. She does not have another job.

“Too much dysfunction,” she said. “Why spend my days in a cube, following through on poor choices our leaders made under the guise of collaboration? There’s got to be a better way.”

“I hope you are honest in the exit interview,” several people said to her. Other top talent had quit as well and those remaining cherished a hope of productive work.


Every company has these bouts of employee-flight. Maybe the department director is a megalomaniac. Maybe the boss simply doesn’t know what to do next and is not open to advice. Maybe the department trolls rule the roost. Every so often dysfunction catches up with a department or company and talented people throw up their hands and march to the exit. It is more common when the economy is on the rise, but even in a down economy, talented people choose flight over fight, even with no job on the horizon.

So it is with my friend.

She had had enough and hoped to parlay her high-end employee history into a freelance life. I often talk with people considering this move. What I liked about this conversation was that my friend could identify a few key skills and passions that she wanted to pursue. And she had already begun to push on these passions. She knew what she wanted to build next. So her “I quit!” was less about fleeing and more about “now is when I do this thing I love.”

Because, the truth is, you can never be entirely rid of dysfunction.

“Why is that?” you may ask. (I can hear you.)

It is because you bring it with you. Disagreeing and disagreeable. Seeing issues from your personal, rigid perspective. Combative. Megalomania. These seeds are planted in every one of us. Sometimes it doesn’t take much to cause them to flower. A good conversation harnesses different potentials in those seeds and helps us move forward. A dysfunctional environment feeds the bad seed and strife rises to the surface.

Such is the human condition.

But moving forward toward our passion, finding time to do those things we love—the things we are meant to do, even if no one else cares—that feeds the productive functional seeds in us.

Is there a way to do the things you were meant to do today—right now—even as you wade through the current dysfunction?

That is the question.


Image credit: Kirk Livingston

4 Responses

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  1. Have you read “Mistakes were Made but Not By Me” – it is a great look at how we slip down the slippery slope ethically. People will align and defend actions through their beliefs about themselves. It lays in the belief, if you believe you are good person and make poor or unethical decisions, you will never see that the decisions as poor, but always for the greater good. It is a hard pill to swallow. I see it in my kids, they defend their actions in all sorts of ways rather than admit that they might have done the wrong thing. The book really freaked me out, but it explained a lot too – it is a complex psychological problem.

    Marika Reinke

    February 27, 2015 at 12:04 pm

    • Fantastic. I’ll order it right now! Thanks! And thanks for stopping by.


      February 27, 2015 at 12:08 pm

    • Just ordered the book from our library. Thanks again. I am constantly surprised how easy it is for me to convince myself of all sorts of things. The tendency points back to our need for honest talk with the people around us.


      February 27, 2015 at 12:15 pm

      • Seriously. I’ll look forward to reading your thoughts on your blog, as usual.

        Marika Reinke

        March 1, 2015 at 2:10 pm

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