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Coping with Megacorp rat race

Posted: Mon Sep 14, 2020 9:23 am
by Frugalbear
I'm 32 working for a Megacorp and I'm feeling burned out. Kind of exhausted from all the smoke and mirrors... sleight of hand actions.

I've thought of getting a new job, but fear of the unknown and current compensation keeps me here. Then I have thoughts that I should be grateful to have a job.

How did or do you cope with it?

Re: Coping with Megacorp rat race

Posted: Mon Sep 14, 2020 9:48 am
by market timer
A few things that work for me:

1. Find a project of interest where I can have more or less complete autonomy. Usually this is a project that I pitch and team that I manage. I enjoy seeing my ideas take on a life of their own.

2. Know when you can afford to take it easy. Sometimes I'd work no more than 15 hours per week for months at a time. Maybe I was in between projects or just didn't have the resources to do what needed to be done. I'd wait patiently, listen to audiobooks, take long lunches, hit the gym, or study.

3. Make the income tangible, not just a balance in an account. Maybe you are saving for early retirement and can visualize progress through a countdown. Maybe you are already FI and can use the money to splurge. A corporate job should afford a very nice standard of living.

4. Make your own rules. Playing by the rules your employer set--competing in the rat race--just turns you into a rat. Play a different game. Often, I like to detach from my role and become a scientific observer, more interested in understanding the power dynamics and the company as a system, rather than with a specific role to play. There is often little reason I need to care about the same things my employer does.

5. Become independent from the job. You can do this financially by saving enough to become FI, as well as keep your skills current and interview enough that you can always find another job. You can do this emotionally by having friends and relationships outside of work.

6. Delegate the bad parts of your job. Everyone has some things they are good at and enjoy, and other things where they need help. Make sure you have people under you who can complement your weaknesses and do what needs to be done.

Re: Coping with Megacorp rat race

Posted: Mon Sep 14, 2020 9:53 am
by investingdad
Save and invest heavily while young so you can exit as early as possible.

It doesn't get more enjoyable as you get older. At some point, folks that have been tapped for advancement will be younger than you. That can be a lot more bearable if you're sitting on a large portfolio.

It's my opinion that it becomes more cutthroat when the advancers and ladder climbers are also spenders and they realize they're pushing 50 or older and are behind on saving.

Re: Coping with Megacorp rat race

Posted: Mon Sep 14, 2020 9:58 am
by notBobToo
Having worked at a Megacorp for over 40 years, I always thought that if I had to do it over again, I would work like an [associate, intern, apprentice, dog, what have you] for five years, make as many contacts as I could, learn as much as I could (including having Megacorp pay for my Masters), and save as much as I could and then, quit and go private (or Federal) AND NEVER LOOK BACK.

Unless you are already way up in the food chain (or have a certain path there), you are kidding yourself if you think that your compensation and more importantly, you longevity at a Megacorp will substantially improve with age. If nothing changes, in ten years, you will be even more anxious.

Re: Coping with Megacorp rat race

Posted: Mon Sep 14, 2020 9:59 am
by Flashes1
It comes with working for the "man" especially at a megacorp. If you don't think you can cope until retirement, I'd suggest looking for a smaller company (but that comes with it's own set of rules), or better yet, strike out on your own and be your own boss. That's the only real way....answer to no one but yourself.

Re: Coping with Megacorp rat race

Posted: Mon Sep 14, 2020 10:09 am
by tedgeorge
You may consider changing your mindset. Make the Megacorp work for you instead of the other way around. Take full advantage of everything they have to grow yourself as much as possible so you are ready for the next position wherever that may be. Do they offer tuition assistance? Take it. What about paid certifications and/or training for certs? Take it. Gym? Use it. Vacation? Take it.

Don't let fear hold you back. Get out there an interview if you have interest. It can be good practice and give you an idea of your value today so you can increase it tomorrow. And you can always say no to a job offer.

Re: Coping with Megacorp rat race

Posted: Mon Sep 14, 2020 10:10 am
by mak1277
Frugalbear wrote: Mon Sep 14, 2020 9:23 am I'm 32 working for a Megacorp and I'm feeling burned out. Kind of exhausted from all the smoke and mirrors... sleight of hand actions.

I've thought of getting a new job, but fear of the unknown and current compensation keeps me here. Then I have thoughts that I should be grateful to have a job.

How did or do you cope with it?
What's your area/role? Management opportunities currently or in the future?

Re: Coping with Megacorp rat race

Posted: Mon Sep 14, 2020 10:11 am
by Watty
Working for some companies is just toxic and there is not much you can do but in a lot of cases a lot of pain is really self inflicted so you should consider how much of it you did to yourself.

You should consider if there are situations where you can say no to requests or set boundaries that will make things better. A lot of times if you are clear about limitations and allow a bit of time for the company to adapt then a company may be just fine with the boundaries you set.

For example if someone ask you to do some urgent unexpected project instead of just saying yes and working lots of overtime you may be able to agree to do it but only if some other project can be delayed or if you can get additional staff to help cover for you. I always found that 99% of "urgent" projects were only urgent enough for them to want you to work unpaid overtime but not urgent enough to actually delay something else or pay for more staff. :annoyed

I worked in corporate IT so it may have been a bit different than your situation but I saw one situation where someone was the expert in one part of the system so they ended up getting lots of calls in the middle of the night an the weekend and they were getting burned out but they were partly to blame since in some ways they also like being the hero that came to the rescue so they let the situation develope that way. Once he hit is limit and got fed up so he had talked with his manager and they were able to get some projects done to fix some of the ongoing problems and to get other people cross trained so that they could handle most of the normal problems. This was not a quick process and as I recall it took the better part of a year but once the changes were in place he would still occasionally get late night calls a few times a year when there was a real major problem but it was nothing like it used to be.

The funny thing though is that you might think that him basically saying "no" might have hurt his career. Instead what happened was that the company liked the way he had addressed the underlying problems and made that department more stable so they promoted him to be a manager. :oops:

I saw people be able to set limits lots of times and the company would often adapt to the limit just fine. For example I saw situations several times where people had kids and had to set limits on the long hours or too much travel.
Frugalbear wrote: Mon Sep 14, 2020 9:23 am I've thought of getting a new job, but fear of the unknown and current compensation keeps me here. Then I have thoughts that I should be grateful to have a job.
It never hurts to look around to see what is available. With the economy and the pandemic there has been a lot of disruption but there can often be good opportunities when things are a bit chaotic. Once you interview to see what is available then you can decide if making a job change would be a good idea, or you might make you value your current position even more.

There is no reason not to interview for other positions since you do not need to take them even if you get a job offer.

You are only 32 and you did not say how long you have been with this corporation. If you have not worked much at other companies you might be able to get some really good experience working at other places where you can see different ways of doing things. That could help your career in the long term.

Re: Coping with Megacorp rat race

Posted: Mon Sep 14, 2020 10:11 am
by Beehave
If dealing with the internal politics and restrictions of MEGACORP have got you down, consider trying to land a customer-facing position within your coroporation. Of course, sales can be a pressure cooker, but if you can do consulting, customer support, or other technical work, then that might be more rewarding and much, much less confining. In these types of positions what matters is customer satisfaction, you have leverage (and not your arms tied behind your back) getting respect and appropriate support from disparate portions of your own company, you get to do things your own way, and if you do a good job most customers treat you well and with respect and are happy to see you.

Re: Coping with Megacorp rat race

Posted: Mon Sep 14, 2020 10:15 am
by Grt2bOutdoors
1. Save a LOT! I’m serious, save enough that you give yourself options to retrain or move into another field. That’s to say, you need more than 6 months expenses in your kitty - think 3-5 years. That’s a heck of a lot of time for you to retrain or switch careers.
2. If you hate it now, wait until you get to late 40’s-early 50’s. Your megacorp is looking for new blood, if you haven’t been elevated to a high enough position then you are fair game for the lay-off games they wreak on staff. If they aren’t doing it or saying it in your office, my response is to observe carefully. They are going to weed out the older staff for fresh ideas.
3. They say the grass isn’t greener elsewhere, maybe. But less stress and more fertilizer can get that grass healthier and stronger than a patch of grass full of weeds. :P
4. Put your compensation aside for a moment and line up what it is you like about your job and what you don’t. Think if you had to look for a new job today would you choose this company or another and why? What career would bring you more enjoyment, would a liveable income come with it and what sacrifices might you need to accept?

The former colleagues who made the switch - 2 went into teaching, 1 loves it, the other tolerates it because of benefits. Another went into healthcare and thinks the stress is different than corporate but politics still exist. Having a license is a feather in their toolbox, they can pickup and move to another state, they are in demand.

Re: Coping with Megacorp rat race

Posted: Mon Sep 14, 2020 10:15 am
by TheTimeLord
In my experience people who have these feelings usually narrowly define their jobs to the list of requirements on the job description. Work is far more fulfilling for those who are perceived to have the ability to add value rather than defining themselves as cogs in the machine.

Re: Coping with Megacorp rat race

Posted: Mon Sep 14, 2020 10:19 am
by BGeste
I worked at megacorps for 30 years and reached senior levels. The politics get worse as you get higher up and over the last 15 years many megacorps have become very woke and less of a meritocracy. The only way to deal with this, if you do not want to take the risk of starting your own business, is to invest as much as you can and keep your expenses low so that you become financially independent as soon as possible. I achieved this level in my late 40s. I was then able to deal with a downsizing in my early 50s without any problems.

Re: Coping with Megacorp rat race

Posted: Mon Sep 14, 2020 10:28 am
by investingdad
BGeste wrote: Mon Sep 14, 2020 10:19 am I worked at megacorps for 30 years and reached senior levels. The politics get worse as you get higher up and over the last 15 years many megacorps have become very woke and less of a meritocracy. The only way to deal with this, if you do not want to take the risk of starting your own business, is to invest as much as you can and keep your expenses low so that you become financially independent as soon as possible. I achieved this level in my late 40s. I was then able to deal with a downsizing in my early 50s without any problems.
I'm 47 and you're speaking my language.

How did your peers react when you didn't sweat the downsizing?

Re: Coping with Megacorp rat race

Posted: Mon Sep 14, 2020 10:43 am
by BGeste
investingdad wrote: Mon Sep 14, 2020 10:28 am
BGeste wrote: Mon Sep 14, 2020 10:19 am I worked at megacorps for 30 years and reached senior levels. The politics get worse as you get higher up and over the last 15 years many megacorps have become very woke and less of a meritocracy. The only way to deal with this, if you do not want to take the risk of starting your own business, is to invest as much as you can and keep your expenses low so that you become financially independent as soon as possible. I achieved this level in my late 40s. I was then able to deal with a downsizing in my early 50s without any problems.
I'm 47 and you're speaking my language.

How did your peers react when you didn't sweat the downsizing?
Peers were surprised I took the package and did not need to look for another position. Almost everyone else laid off is still looking for work two years later or took lesser positions at other companies. Many are miserable. I am enjoying early retirement with my wife and college age kids and I am set for life. I definitely do not miss megacorp!

Re: Coping with Megacorp rat race

Posted: Mon Sep 14, 2020 11:17 am
by Kenkat
Maybe you should try moving around a bit while you are younger.

I started off in Big 6 Technology Consulting, jumped to a corporate IT position for a company that eventually got bought out so I went back to IT Consulting for awhile before I switched back to another corporate IT position. At this point, I’ll retire from my existing position (I already could if push came to shove).

Switching around a bit gave me some different perspectives and avoided burnout which occurred with both consulting and corporate positions. Someone once told me that for each year you are in a particular job / company, you grow a tail. The longer you are there, the longer the tail grows. Switching jobs cuts off the tail and lets you start a new one.

Re: Coping with Megacorp rat race

Posted: Mon Sep 14, 2020 11:54 am
by sjl333
Nothing new to add , just feel your pain OP. 31 and feeling burned out. Company is paying me too much for me to leave. Keep stashing away and invest properly which will give you freedom later on. That's my plan at least. Remember to enjoy life too.

Re: Coping with Megacorp rat race

Posted: Mon Sep 14, 2020 1:21 pm
by ClevrChico
tedgeorge wrote: Mon Sep 14, 2020 10:09 am You may consider changing your mindset. Make the Megacorp work for you instead of the other way around. Take full advantage of everything they have to grow yourself as much as possible so you are ready for the next position wherever that may be. Do they offer tuition assistance? Take it. What about paid certifications and/or training for certs? Take it. Gym? Use it. Vacation? Take it.

Don't let fear hold you back. Get out there an interview if you have interest. It can be good practice and give you an idea of your value today so you can increase it tomorrow. And you can always say no to a job offer.
+1 I previously worked in startups and family businesses, and Megacorp has been the best. (There's certainly been days I've thought otherwise.)

I've had success avoiding office politics simply by not engaging in them. I also transferred to a department with younger management and found that made for a more fun working environment.

Re: Coping with Megacorp rat race

Posted: Mon Sep 14, 2020 1:38 pm
by Texanbybirth
I've only ever worked in small companies (less than 400, less than 30, and now less than 50 people), and I've always been fascinated by the internal workings of Megacorps. WRT OP, I've heard it's easy to coast and get lost in the weeds, but it seems like that could have a detrimental psychological impact on certain personalities, too.

[I'm sure my inexperience with them given my age (mid-30s) is probably a reason why I've never gotten a job offer when I've applied. :D]

Re: Coping with Megacorp rat race

Posted: Mon Sep 14, 2020 1:40 pm
by regularguy455
This was a great thread on the topic viewtopic.php?t=279550

Similar situation as you. I decided to start looking. I was surprised to get 3 offers, 2 of which were significant increases in my salary. Working now for a better company, more benefits, more money. Don’t be afraid to start looking!

Re: Coping with Megacorp rat race

Posted: Mon Sep 14, 2020 1:40 pm
by RJC
The closer we are to FI, the less I care about office politics and all that BS.

I just do my job and enjoy the simple things (e.g. working with people I like, interesting projects).

Re: Coping with Megacorp rat race

Posted: Mon Sep 14, 2020 1:58 pm
by humbledinvestor
There are always pros and cons to everything including Megacorp vs small companies. I was super tired of the Financial Industry megacorp I worked for. Began adding new tech skills and aimed to work for one of the FAAMNGs. The idea was if I did not get in then at least I would have learned a whole heck of a lot and gone to a small company, independent contractor, whatever.

The hard work paid off. I landed in a big tech Megacorp and it was an amazing job, even though they run like clockwork, there are be issues. I then ended up working for super small startups, startups in Series B funding. While that was interesting, they had their issues too. Now I work for a Life Sciences company, really great job, but some Megacorp issues. But after all these years I have navigated to a company whose products I care about and think they help people. I get paid well, great benefits and some BS is just fine by me. Reality is when one has a child, providing for them is also priority. Will I put up with Megacorp BS if it gives my child a great place to live, best schools etc? Yes I will. My parents worked in factories as immigrants. Dealing with Megacorp BS is nothing compared to that.

The way I cope it is to have new and exciting skills (lot's of self study at night), be in a group that is doing cool stuff and be able to implement new technology, skills etc. Oh another thing: I have stayed away from politics by not taking management/snr management roles. A senior engineering role with a team of outsourcing company staff, I just have to build cool stuff.

Re: Coping with Megacorp rat race

Posted: Mon Sep 14, 2020 2:10 pm
by stoptothink
BGeste wrote: Mon Sep 14, 2020 10:19 am I worked at megacorps for 30 years and reached senior levels. The politics get worse as you get higher up and over the last 15 years many megacorps have become very woke and less of a meritocracy.
I'm 5.5yrs into my first Megacorp (well, medium corp) experience. It was an absolute dream for 5yrs; had the chance to grow, am now in senior management, genuinely enjoyed working, and thought I had no reason to ever leave. This year has been eye-opening; things are different, your statement is exactly what I am experiencing. Insane politics and drama, great departments turning toxic seemingly overnight. I know I still have it really good, but I'm becoming rapidly more interested in calling it quits as soon as I can (maybe as early as 45, but surely by 50).

Re: Coping with Megacorp rat race

Posted: Mon Sep 14, 2020 2:29 pm
by WildBill
market timer wrote: Mon Sep 14, 2020 9:48 am A few things that work for me:

1. Find a project of interest where I can have more or less complete autonomy. Usually this is a project that I pitch and team that I manage. I enjoy seeing my ideas take on a life of their own.

2. Know when you can afford to take it easy. Sometimes I'd work no more than 15 hours per week for months at a time. Maybe I was in between projects or just didn't have the resources to do what needed to be done. I'd wait patiently, listen to audiobooks, take long lunches, hit the gym, or study.

3. Make the income tangible, not just a balance in an account. Maybe you are saving for early retirement and can visualize progress through a countdown. Maybe you are already FI and can use the money to splurge. A corporate job should afford a very nice standard of living.

4. Make your own rules. Playing by the rules your employer set--competing in the rat race--just turns you into a rat. Play a different game. Often, I like to detach from my role and become a scientific observer, more interested in understanding the power dynamics and the company as a system, rather than with a specific role to play. There is often little reason I need to care about the same things my employer does.

5. Become independent from the job. You can do this financially by saving enough to become FI, as well as keep your skills current and interview enough that you can always find another job. You can do this emotionally by having friends and relationships outside of work.

6. Delegate the bad parts of your job. Everyone has some things they are good at and enjoy, and other things where they need help. Make sure you have people under you who can complement your weaknesses and do what needs to be done.
Howdy

This is all pretty good advice, with the actionability of it dependent on specific circumstances. You also need a track record of delivering to use the advice correctly.

My most enjoyable and professionally successful years were when I essentially resigned from the rat race and focused solely on working on high priority projects and ignored all bureaucratic rigamarole, policies, and etc. I wasn’t in anyone’s face - just aggressive non compliance and pretended obliviousness. Got promoted twice, go figure.

The quote above is an excellent roadmap for success.

W B

Re: Coping with Megacorp rat race

Posted: Mon Sep 14, 2020 2:33 pm
by vested1
I worked at megacorp for 31 years and was considered the best at what I did. Like many others, I fell victim to the notion that there were greener pastures at other places that would better appreciate my talents and give me more freedom to explore them. I went from a corporation that employed over 100k employees to one that employed 5, lured away because of my reputation.

I was promised increased pay but was exploited and lied to by the 1st company with glowing promises of increased compensation and a prestigious title, with what turned out to be a 50% cut in pay and a meaningless title. I increased their business dramatically for pennies. I lasted a year there and the owner was shocked when I left with no notice. It turned out that the owner was stealing equipment from megacorp at night then selling it back to them on jobs for which they were contracted. When I found this out by having the owner ask me to participate, it precipitated my departure. I turned him in after I found out.

I was offered a job by a different firm immediately with about 100 employees who increased my pay to a bit more than I had been making at megacorp, but which didn't give me a raise for 5 years, despite promising me one repeatedly. They, like the previous firm had a habit of cheating their customers, cutting corners, and having one toe over the line of ethical/lawful business practices. But hey, my title was even better there. I increased their business there too. That I refused to participate in their unethical business practices was overlooked, something no one else did because they were afraid not to do so.

Finally, I was lured away by the last firm I worked for with a great salary, double that of the previous firm, and an impressive title in "management". They promised me the moon. I made clear that if they broke their promises I would be gone. I lasted 4 months before I kept my word and quit. Working from home never materialized, commuting, which should have been minimal, became 5,000 miles a month. Working on weekends and overtime for free was supposed to be only for emergencies, became every weekend for both days. I had plugged a gaping hole in their capability to produce and they were incredulous when I walked out the door. I refused to approve work without obtaining the proper permits, and I ignored the threats I received, like I had with the previous two employers. I also refused to send misleading pictures to the client of supposedly completed work which hadn't even begun.

At all three firms I quickly rose to be the top employee for production and quality of designs (telecom engineer). The problem was with them, not me. Not only were they dishonest with me, they were dishonest with their employees, their customers, and with the government. At all three I refused orders to betray customers. At all three I refused to follow directions to break the law. I was the only one at all three to do so, yet I was never fired, despite threats that they would do so if I didn't do what all the others were doing.

Megacorp contacted me and asked that I return as a contractor, training their electronics engineers, but they wouldn't agree to my terms so I declined. The one thing I got right was my finances, so I was ready to retire at 63.5 years old.

At megacorp the rules seemed onerous to some, and the oversight was burdensome to everyone, but I came to realize there was a good reason for that. The constant complaints from fellow employees had always seemed trivial to me, but being a member of a larger herd with little chance of distinguishing myself from the others bothered me more. Glowing praise didn't improve my finances. At megacorp I was the stepping stone for those who were more ambitious and who had no qualms about taking credit for my accomplishments on the way up, and that took its toll.

I found that the lack of ethics and honesty is rated on a different scale out in the big bad world, far away from the spotlight that is shone on every move of megacorp. For me it was an eyeopener, and not a pleasant one. It seems to be human nature to get away with whatever one can, at least in business. Now that I'm retired I am well out if it, and what do you know, no more idle threats to ignore.

Re: Coping with Megacorp rat race

Posted: Mon Sep 14, 2020 2:40 pm
by rich126
Frugalbear wrote: Mon Sep 14, 2020 9:23 am I'm 32 working for a Megacorp and I'm feeling burned out. Kind of exhausted from all the smoke and mirrors... sleight of hand actions.

I've thought of getting a new job, but fear of the unknown and current compensation keeps me here. Then I have thoughts that I should be grateful to have a job.

How did or do you cope with it?
I never did. I'm kind of glad I stuck to doing things I enjoy, lower stress, almost never over 40 hours, made good money and did some stuff others never could do. Now that I'm in my 50s and looking back, I know how valuable my free time was and would have hated to have given that up. Of course some that do that, end up with huge compensation (and unfortunately get addicted to it) and may have retired early. I will retire around 60.

I spent 2/3 of my time with the government which was stressful in many other ways but at least job security was good. I still left it twice and would like to go back to finish my career there since money isn't a factor right now, instead doing certain kinds of work interest me.

I've been negotiating with some smaller contractors and while the money is very good and the hours very good, in some ways it just seems too mercenary to me.

In your case it is hard for others to tell you what to do. I had a manager once tell me to write up two columns with pros and cons regarding a life situation/choice and then tear it up and do what your heart tells you. He said his father told him that many years ago.

My only comment regarding fear is that it controlled me for too long. Fear of failure. I had never failed a class or certifications, etc. but at times keeping that streak alive prevented me from trying new things. In younger days it was fear of rejection that controlled some of my decisions. However no one ever passed a test or learned something new without taking it or trying it.

And every house I sold, bought, job accepted/resigned, etc. always came with serious second thoughts but mostly worked out well.

Good luck.

Re: Coping with Megacorp rat race

Posted: Mon Sep 14, 2020 2:43 pm
by luckyducky99
WildBill wrote: Mon Sep 14, 2020 2:29 pm
market timer wrote: Mon Sep 14, 2020 9:48 am A few things that work for me:

1. Find a project of interest where I can have more or less complete autonomy. Usually this is a project that I pitch and team that I manage. I enjoy seeing my ideas take on a life of their own.

2. Know when you can afford to take it easy. Sometimes I'd work no more than 15 hours per week for months at a time. Maybe I was in between projects or just didn't have the resources to do what needed to be done. I'd wait patiently, listen to audiobooks, take long lunches, hit the gym, or study.

3. Make the income tangible, not just a balance in an account. Maybe you are saving for early retirement and can visualize progress through a countdown. Maybe you are already FI and can use the money to splurge. A corporate job should afford a very nice standard of living.

4. Make your own rules. Playing by the rules your employer set--competing in the rat race--just turns you into a rat. Play a different game. Often, I like to detach from my role and become a scientific observer, more interested in understanding the power dynamics and the company as a system, rather than with a specific role to play. There is often little reason I need to care about the same things my employer does.

5. Become independent from the job. You can do this financially by saving enough to become FI, as well as keep your skills current and interview enough that you can always find another job. You can do this emotionally by having friends and relationships outside of work.

6. Delegate the bad parts of your job. Everyone has some things they are good at and enjoy, and other things where they need help. Make sure you have people under you who can complement your weaknesses and do what needs to be done.
Howdy

This is all pretty good advice, with the actionability of it dependent on specific circumstances. You also need a track record of delivering to use the advice correctly.

My most enjoyable and professionally successful years were when I essentially resigned from the rat race and focused solely on working on high priority projects and ignored all bureaucratic rigamarole, policies, and etc. I wasn’t in anyone’s face - just aggressive non compliance and pretended obliviousness. Got promoted twice, go figure.

The quote above is an excellent roadmap for success.

W B
I also support this advice. If you are capable and good at working independently on your own terms, and can land yourself in an organization with management that recognizes this, then in many cases you can define your own role outside of the rat race.

The most important thing, I think, is finding a group/team/org whose management will recognize, respect, and support this.

Re: Coping with Megacorp rat race

Posted: Mon Sep 14, 2020 3:43 pm
by McGilicutty
market timer wrote: Mon Sep 14, 2020 9:48 am 6. Delegate the bad parts of your job. Everyone has some things they are good at and enjoy, and other things where they need help. Make sure you have people under you who can complement your weaknesses and do what needs to be done.
Couldn't agree with this more. OP, get a bunch of underlings to do the crappy parts of your job and become the "idea" guy.

Your goal should be to not actually do any work, but to go from meeting to meeting during the day spouting off great-sounding ideas for others to implement.

Good luck.

Re: Coping with Megacorp rat race

Posted: Mon Sep 14, 2020 4:22 pm
by Normchad
I was at the same place mentally at 32. I asked a consultant which companies did it best, and he told me “man, it’s just a grind everywhere”. And I now completely agree with him.

The point is, this is what work is. It’s not going to fun, meaningful, or fulfilling for 50 years. Here are my two suggestions for you:

1. Make sure your compensation is competitive in the market place. Go interview and get some offers to see what you are really worth.

2. I’m sure your job isn’t truly terrible. They probably don’t beat you, etc. so really, it is your emotional reaction to work that eats at you. Spend significant time in that, reshaping your mind so that you don’t have that reaction and feelings to work.

There is nothing wrong with changing jobs. But there is decent chance you won’t be happy at the next place indefinitely either. The grass isn’t greener over there, they are spray painting it.

In my case, I’ve changed jobs twice and happy I did. But I’m also happy I worked at the other places for a time.

Re: Coping with Megacorp rat race

Posted: Mon Sep 14, 2020 4:38 pm
by LittleMaggieMae
My hindsight also recommends saving as much as you can while you have the "compensation that's chaining you to your employer" - if you can save enough/keep your lifestyle expenses low for a time you can break the chain that binds you to your employer. Staying chained to an employer solely because of the compensation is not a happy way to live. It gets harder and harder to break the chain - especially if you grow to depend more and more on that level of compensation.

My hindsight in addition also recommends coming up with a 1,2, or 3 year plan for how and when you will break that binding chain. What do you see your life being like in 10 years? 20 years? retirement? Figure out how to take advantage of everything your employer has to offer you. Figure out what kind of work you'd like to do (and maybe where you'd like to do it). Can you do that work at your current employer? if not it's time to move on. Keep your expenses low/save as much as possible so you can move on to another opportunity.

My hindsight recommends that the people who are most able to take advantage of awesome or unexpected opportunities are those people who have short/medium/long term goals - they are always looking ahead and moving towards a goal. It's ok if the goal changes - the act of moving towards a goal usually puts you in the path of opportunities and the flexibility to decide if you should take them or not.

Doing nothing/the same thing and hoping an opportunity will come along OR doing the same things and thinking you will be rewarded with an opportunity/better job - just because you held the line and did all the things that were "expected" generally leads to being bitter and unhappy in your 40's and 50's. You are the captain of your ship. Steer it.

Re: Coping with Megacorp rat race

Posted: Mon Sep 14, 2020 6:05 pm
by Murgatroyd
It’s time to market yourself. Get on LinkedIn. Confidentially ask peers if they know any reputable headhunters. Develop a resume. Etc.

Not all companies are the same. You may find a better fit elsewhere. Start now.

Re: Coping with Megacorp rat race

Posted: Mon Sep 14, 2020 6:50 pm
by k b
It’s too early to “give up”. I would say either find a less stressful job or find one that pays more in an area you might not necessarily enjoy. The best protection you can “buy” for your future self is good health and sufficient savings.

Re: Coping with Megacorp rat race

Posted: Mon Sep 14, 2020 7:08 pm
by BV3273
I’m 34. I feel the same way. Although I felt this way prior to COVID it certainty didn’t help the situation either. The job can be a bear sometimes, but management is the real issue. My boss can make it unbearable at times. Although the comp is good I am now asking myself if it’s even worth it. You can’t really put a price on what constant stress and aggravation is worth. So I’m looking elsewhere and was actually offered a job today. It’s less money but it will definitely be less stress and I’m seriously considering taking the leap. Back in the day you could work for a company for 30 years and move up the ladder, today it’s rare.

Re: Coping with Megacorp rat race

Posted: Mon Sep 14, 2020 7:10 pm
by cashboy
Frugalbear wrote: Mon Sep 14, 2020 9:23 am
How did or do you cope with it?
always remember that
'you'
are not
'your job'.

in your mind always maintain a 'space' between the two.

Re: Coping with Megacorp rat race

Posted: Mon Sep 14, 2020 7:23 pm
by flaccidsteele
Working at something you hate is called stress

Working at something you love is called passion

Personally if I’m going to be stressed, I’ll leave for the best compensation

Re: Coping with Megacorp rat race

Posted: Mon Sep 14, 2020 7:32 pm
by Horton
McGilicutty wrote: Mon Sep 14, 2020 3:43 pm
market timer wrote: Mon Sep 14, 2020 9:48 am 6. Delegate the bad parts of your job. Everyone has some things they are good at and enjoy, and other things where they need help. Make sure you have people under you who can complement your weaknesses and do what needs to be done.
Couldn't agree with this more. OP, get a bunch of underlings to do the crappy parts of your job and become the "idea" guy.

Your goal should be to not actually do any work, but to go from meeting to meeting during the day spouting off great-sounding ideas for others to implement.

Good luck.
The again, the OP may have a boss like this and that’s why he’s venting. 🤔

Re: Coping with Megacorp rat race

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 6:23 am
by investingdad
BV3273 wrote: Mon Sep 14, 2020 7:08 pm I’m 34. I feel the same way. Although I felt this way prior to COVID it certainty didn’t help the situation either. The job can be a bear sometimes, but management is the real issue. My boss can make it unbearable at times. Although the comp is good I am now asking myself if it’s even worth it. You can’t really put a price on what constant stress and aggravation is worth. So I’m looking elsewhere and was actually offered a job today. It’s less money but it will definitely be less stress and I’m seriously considering taking the leap. Back in the day you could work for a company for 30 years and move up the ladder, today it’s rare.
You can still move up the ladder. But as you spend more time in the workplace, you realize the ladder becomes narrower as you go up. There's less and less room the higher you go. Regardless of what most companies will tell you, the people destined to go the highest are often identified very early. Their climb is then facilitated.

If they know their climb is being facilitated, they can become a major PITA to deal with and you'll find that their mistakes don't stick to them.

Occasionally a very high level outsider may come in that throws a wrench in the works. That's when things get nasty. It's the ladder climbers that spend as fast as they earn that are forced to try to keep climbing.

I've said this here before... if you can save and invest heavily starting in your 20s, this whole crap show can be avoided.

Re: Coping with Megacorp rat race

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 6:35 am
by BV3273
investingdad wrote: Tue Sep 15, 2020 6:23 am
BV3273 wrote: Mon Sep 14, 2020 7:08 pm I’m 34. I feel the same way. Although I felt this way prior to COVID it certainty didn’t help the situation either. The job can be a bear sometimes, but management is the real issue. My boss can make it unbearable at times. Although the comp is good I am now asking myself if it’s even worth it. You can’t really put a price on what constant stress and aggravation is worth. So I’m looking elsewhere and was actually offered a job today. It’s less money but it will definitely be less stress and I’m seriously considering taking the leap. Back in the day you could work for a company for 30 years and move up the ladder, today it’s rare.
You can still move up the ladder. But as you spend more time in the workplace, you realize the ladder becomes narrower as you go up. There's less and less room the higher you go. Regardless of what most companies will tell you, the people destined to go the highest are often identified very early. Their climb is then facilitated.

If they know their climb is being facilitated, they can become a major PITA to deal with and you'll find that their mistakes don't stick to them.

Occasionally a very high level outsider may come in that throws a wrench in the works. That's when things get nasty. It's the ladder climbers that spend as fast as they earn that are forced to try to keep climbing.

I've said this here before... if you can save and invest heavily starting in your 20s, this whole crap show can be avoided.
Makes total sense. I would say your manager also plays a key role in the future of an employees success. I have a relatively new manager who is insecure about everything. Someone slated on my team to move forward is basically being benched for an extremely technical reason. The rest of the team is watching this and taking notes because we all see how this manager operates. There is no alternate route around this person. Kind of a crazy situation.

I agree on the saving and investing part. Takes the pressure off for sure.

Re: Coping with Megacorp rat race

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 8:28 am
by alfaspider
BGeste wrote: Mon Sep 14, 2020 10:19 am I worked at megacorps for 30 years and reached senior levels. The politics get worse as you get higher up and over the last 15 years many megacorps have become very woke and less of a meritocracy. The only way to deal with this, if you do not want to take the risk of starting your own business, is to invest as much as you can and keep your expenses low so that you become financially independent as soon as possible. I achieved this level in my late 40s. I was then able to deal with a downsizing in my early 50s without any problems.
I think what's actually happened is a lot of people weren't as "meritorious" as they thought they were. Here's the difference: at the lower levels, there is a decent contingent of people who are just happy to do their job, clock out at the end of the day, and ignore work until the next day. When you get to higher levels, everyone fancies themselves the best of the best with ambitions to the very top. Many of them confuse good fortune with merit.

Re: Coping with Megacorp rat race

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 8:46 am
by davebo
Horton wrote: Mon Sep 14, 2020 7:32 pm
McGilicutty wrote: Mon Sep 14, 2020 3:43 pm
market timer wrote: Mon Sep 14, 2020 9:48 am 6. Delegate the bad parts of your job. Everyone has some things they are good at and enjoy, and other things where they need help. Make sure you have people under you who can complement your weaknesses and do what needs to be done.
Couldn't agree with this more. OP, get a bunch of underlings to do the crappy parts of your job and become the "idea" guy.

Your goal should be to not actually do any work, but to go from meeting to meeting during the day spouting off great-sounding ideas for others to implement.

Good luck.
The again, the OP may have a boss like this and that’s why he’s venting. 🤔
Some of these answers seem strange to me. Telling people to just shift gears and lead a project or to hire people to delegate the parts of their job that they don't like. It all sounds very simple when you say it like that. ha

Re: Coping with Megacorp rat race

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 8:54 am
by BV3273
davebo wrote: Tue Sep 15, 2020 8:46 am
Horton wrote: Mon Sep 14, 2020 7:32 pm
McGilicutty wrote: Mon Sep 14, 2020 3:43 pm
market timer wrote: Mon Sep 14, 2020 9:48 am 6. Delegate the bad parts of your job. Everyone has some things they are good at and enjoy, and other things where they need help. Make sure you have people under you who can complement your weaknesses and do what needs to be done.
Couldn't agree with this more. OP, get a bunch of underlings to do the crappy parts of your job and become the "idea" guy.

Your goal should be to not actually do any work, but to go from meeting to meeting during the day spouting off great-sounding ideas for others to implement.

Good luck.
The again, the OP may have a boss like this and that’s why he’s venting. 🤔
Some of these answers seem strange to me. Telling people to just shift gears and lead a project or to hire people to delegate the parts of their job that they don't like. It all sounds very simple when you say it like that. ha
My take as well. The OP didn’t specify which level they are within the organization they work at. Tough to answer his post without a little more info.

Re: Coping with Megacorp rat race

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 9:19 am
by market timer
McGilicutty wrote: Mon Sep 14, 2020 3:43 pmYour goal should be to not actually do any work, but to go from meeting to meeting during the day spouting off great-sounding ideas for others to implement.
Regardless of my job title or description, this is what my work day inevitably becomes. Even better when you can do it all via Zoom.

Re: Coping with Megacorp rat race

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 9:21 am
by Wanderingwheelz
At 32 I was in the exact same position as you.

I quit to start my own business in a completely unrelated field. At 49 I am currently planning to FIRE from the same career that I ventured into at 32.

Re: Coping with Megacorp rat race

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 9:26 am
by Valuethinker
stoptothink wrote: Mon Sep 14, 2020 2:10 pm
BGeste wrote: Mon Sep 14, 2020 10:19 am I worked at megacorps for 30 years and reached senior levels. The politics get worse as you get higher up and over the last 15 years many megacorps have become very woke and less of a meritocracy.
I'm 5.5yrs into my first Megacorp (well, medium corp) experience. It was an absolute dream for 5yrs; had the chance to grow, am now in senior management, genuinely enjoyed working, and thought I had no reason to ever leave. This year has been eye-opening; things are different, your statement is exactly what I am experiencing. Insane politics and drama, great departments turning toxic seemingly overnight. I know I still have it really good, but I'm becoming rapidly more interested in calling it quits as soon as I can (maybe as early as 45, but surely by 50).
If you work for big corporates, it is wise to plan that your career will end at 50.

Unless you get promoted to very senior ranks, or have a protected technical speciality (and what is that, nowadays?), big corp will be looking to get rid of you in your early 50s. I have friends who have been through that at IBM for example - they were all highly rated performers and they were all gone by age 55 or sooner. Ditto at big banks. You are perceived (perhaps fairly) to be expensive and to be lower productivity (activity is often mistaken for productivity, in my experience) and also resistant to change and new approaches (may not be fair). But, mostly, you have grey hair.

Very senior you might have another 5-10 years, although when the new CEO is in his or her early 50s, will be looking to replace existing Finance people, divisional directors, with their own team.

I am watching the reorg go on right now, and it's taken out a whole raft of divisional directors, basically anyone with the experience & nous to challenge the CEO on her own ground. The wave will then proceed down the corporate pyramid towards us troglodytes in the ranks.

Re: Coping with Megacorp rat race

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 9:43 am
by Escapevelocity
Valuethinker wrote: Tue Sep 15, 2020 9:26 am
stoptothink wrote: Mon Sep 14, 2020 2:10 pm
BGeste wrote: Mon Sep 14, 2020 10:19 am I worked at megacorps for 30 years and reached senior levels. The politics get worse as you get higher up and over the last 15 years many megacorps have become very woke and less of a meritocracy.
I'm 5.5yrs into my first Megacorp (well, medium corp) experience. It was an absolute dream for 5yrs; had the chance to grow, am now in senior management, genuinely enjoyed working, and thought I had no reason to ever leave. This year has been eye-opening; things are different, your statement is exactly what I am experiencing. Insane politics and drama, great departments turning toxic seemingly overnight. I know I still have it really good, but I'm becoming rapidly more interested in calling it quits as soon as I can (maybe as early as 45, but surely by 50).
If you work for big corporates, it is wise to plan that your career will end at 50.

Unless you get promoted to very senior ranks, or have a protected technical speciality (and what is that, nowadays?), big corp will be looking to get rid of you in your early 50s. I have friends who have been through that at IBM for example - they were all highly rated performers and they were all gone by age 55 or sooner. Ditto at big banks. You are perceived (perhaps fairly) to be expensive and to be lower productivity (activity is often mistaken for productivity, in my experience) and also resistant to change and new approaches (may not be fair). But, mostly, you have grey hair.

Very senior you might have another 5-10 years, although when the new CEO is in his or her early 50s, will be looking to replace existing Finance people, divisional directors, with their own team.

I am watching the reorg go on right now, and it's taken out a whole raft of divisional directors, basically anyone with the experience & nous to challenge the CEO on her own ground. The wave will then proceed down the corporate pyramid towards us troglodytes in the ranks.
For me (age 53), I'm not facing imminent lob loss, but regardless, I lost the desire to continue to serve as a cog in the machine about 5 years ago. Fortunately, I saved enough to clock out for good at age 55. If I needed to trudge through another 5-10 years of this, I would be in a world of pain.

Re: Coping with Megacorp rat race

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 12:01 pm
by stoptothink
Valuethinker wrote: Tue Sep 15, 2020 9:26 am
stoptothink wrote: Mon Sep 14, 2020 2:10 pm
BGeste wrote: Mon Sep 14, 2020 10:19 am I worked at megacorps for 30 years and reached senior levels. The politics get worse as you get higher up and over the last 15 years many megacorps have become very woke and less of a meritocracy.
I'm 5.5yrs into my first Megacorp (well, medium corp) experience. It was an absolute dream for 5yrs; had the chance to grow, am now in senior management, genuinely enjoyed working, and thought I had no reason to ever leave. This year has been eye-opening; things are different, your statement is exactly what I am experiencing. Insane politics and drama, great departments turning toxic seemingly overnight. I know I still have it really good, but I'm becoming rapidly more interested in calling it quits as soon as I can (maybe as early as 45, but surely by 50).
If you work for big corporates, it is wise to plan that your career will end at 50.

Unless you get promoted to very senior ranks, or have a protected technical speciality (and what is that, nowadays?), big corp will be looking to get rid of you in your early 50s. I have friends who have been through that at IBM for example - they were all highly rated performers and they were all gone by age 55 or sooner. Ditto at big banks. You are perceived (perhaps fairly) to be expensive and to be lower productivity (activity is often mistaken for productivity, in my experience) and also resistant to change and new approaches (may not be fair). But, mostly, you have grey hair.

Very senior you might have another 5-10 years, although when the new CEO is in his or her early 50s, will be looking to replace existing Finance people, divisional directors, with their own team.

I am watching the reorg go on right now, and it's taken out a whole raft of divisional directors, basically anyone with the experience & nous to challenge the CEO on her own ground. The wave will then proceed down the corporate pyramid towards us troglodytes in the ranks.
I'll be quite honest, I have seen absolutely none of this in my experience. My employer has never had a layoff in their history and it is next to impossible to fire someone even with an amazing amount of cause (as a director, I unfortunately know this too well). I've never known a single individual at my employer (or really, anywhere) who was "pushed out" and I have colleagues that are in their 70's and well past their productive years (at this point they are essentially tenured professors). My wife is in tech and her (mid-size) corp is the same, never had a layoff and the majority of her colleagues are 50+. I'm sure it happens, but I've never seen it and I'm a high achiever so it's not something I am particularly concerned about. Nonetheless, I'm getting even more committed to being financially prepared to call it quits early because the corporate politics are getting old.

Re: Coping with Megacorp rat race

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 12:26 pm
by squirm
my wife is a manager and she's tired of the politics. i told her she can retire in 4 years.

Re: Coping with Megacorp rat race

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 12:33 pm
by Escapevelocity
squirm wrote: Tue Sep 15, 2020 12:26 pm my wife is a manager and she's tired of the politics. i told her she can retire in 4 years.
How did you guys come to the understanding that you are the gatekeeper to when she can retire?

Re: Coping with Megacorp rat race

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 12:37 pm
by fullplay2024
I don't see anyone mentioning this. But, while you are still at Megacorp in a somewhat stable job, I strongly recommend you to hire a career coach. Start asking for referrals in your network for great coaches. You can also search for career coaches on LinkedIn. Talk to at least 3 of them. It will help you formulate and articulate your problems better and also help identify someone you can trust as a coach. It will be a good investment of your time and money to work with a coach who can help plan your transition to something more meaningful.

I was in a similar boat a year ago. After having worked at a Megacorp for 10 years, I was ready for a change. Working with a coach really helped me refine my thought process and eventually zero in on what I wanted next.

Re: Coping with Megacorp rat race

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 12:50 pm
by alfaspider
stoptothink wrote: Tue Sep 15, 2020 12:01 pm
Valuethinker wrote: Tue Sep 15, 2020 9:26 am
stoptothink wrote: Mon Sep 14, 2020 2:10 pm
BGeste wrote: Mon Sep 14, 2020 10:19 am I worked at megacorps for 30 years and reached senior levels. The politics get worse as you get higher up and over the last 15 years many megacorps have become very woke and less of a meritocracy.
I'm 5.5yrs into my first Megacorp (well, medium corp) experience. It was an absolute dream for 5yrs; had the chance to grow, am now in senior management, genuinely enjoyed working, and thought I had no reason to ever leave. This year has been eye-opening; things are different, your statement is exactly what I am experiencing. Insane politics and drama, great departments turning toxic seemingly overnight. I know I still have it really good, but I'm becoming rapidly more interested in calling it quits as soon as I can (maybe as early as 45, but surely by 50).
If you work for big corporates, it is wise to plan that your career will end at 50.

Unless you get promoted to very senior ranks, or have a protected technical speciality (and what is that, nowadays?), big corp will be looking to get rid of you in your early 50s. I have friends who have been through that at IBM for example - they were all highly rated performers and they were all gone by age 55 or sooner. Ditto at big banks. You are perceived (perhaps fairly) to be expensive and to be lower productivity (activity is often mistaken for productivity, in my experience) and also resistant to change and new approaches (may not be fair). But, mostly, you have grey hair.

Very senior you might have another 5-10 years, although when the new CEO is in his or her early 50s, will be looking to replace existing Finance people, divisional directors, with their own team.

I am watching the reorg go on right now, and it's taken out a whole raft of divisional directors, basically anyone with the experience & nous to challenge the CEO on her own ground. The wave will then proceed down the corporate pyramid towards us troglodytes in the ranks.
I'll be quite honest, I have seen absolutely none of this in my experience. My employer has never had a layoff in their history and it is next to impossible to fire someone even with an amazing amount of cause (as a director, I unfortunately know this too well). I've never known a single individual at my employer (or really, anywhere) who was "pushed out" and I have colleagues that are in their 70's and well past their productive years (at this point they are essentially tenured professors). My wife is in tech and her (mid-size) corp is the same, never had a layoff and the majority of her colleagues are 50+. I'm sure it happens, but I've never seen it and I'm a high achiever so it's not something I am particularly concerned about. Nonetheless, I'm getting even more committed to being financially prepared to call it quits early because the corporate politics are getting old.
My company used to be like that. Then, the industry entered a serious downturn that has persisted for the last 6 years. Since then, I've been through two across the board layoffs and quite a few more less publicized targeted layoffs. CEO is the same, but almost everyone else from director up to the rest of the C-suite has turned over. All of the mid-level 60+ retired in place folks are long gone.

Long story short is that so much depends on the strength of the company/industry.

Re: Coping with Megacorp rat race

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 1:01 pm
by Normchad
fullplay2024 wrote: Tue Sep 15, 2020 12:37 pm I don't see anyone mentioning this. But, while you are still at Megacorp in a somewhat stable job, I strongly recommend you to hire a career coach. Start asking for referrals in your network for great coaches. You can also search for career coaches on LinkedIn. Talk to at least 3 of them. It will help you formulate and articulate your problems better and also help identify someone you can trust as a coach. It will be a good investment of your time and money to work with a coach who can help plan your transition to something more meaningful.

I was in a similar boat a year ago. After having worked at a Megacorp for 10 years, I was ready for a change. Working with a coach really helped me refine my thought process and eventually zero in on what I wanted next.
This is a great idea. I wish I would have done this 20 years ago.

In general, we don’t spend enough effort improving ourselves to pursue success. When the fit isn’t right, we’re too quick to blame it on the system or the culture, or the boss. Challenges exist everywhere. Getting professional training to succeed in spite of those things seems like a genius idea.