The Simple yet Remarkable Ways to Survive the Corporate World
How to make it in the corporate world without discarding your love for poetry.
A good part of my life was spent in the corporate world. For a little over forty-four years, I worked for a large defense contractor, starting in 1967 and finally retiring in 2011. Over the years, the company had changed hands and names. It started out as Univac, the company that pioneered the computer industry. Then Univac became Sperry Univac, Sperry Corporation, Unisys, Loral, Paramax, and finally, Lockheed Martin. You could imagine how my career unfolded, dealing with vacuum tubes and room-sized equipment. Then we moved on to semiconductors, miniaturization, and the apps. It was no joke to work in the corporate industry.
Success in the corporate world meant you are flexible enough to adapt with the flow and to grab the opportunities along the way. It also meant you have the necessary stamina for an uphill battle. I began as an assembly dispatcher, then a scheduler, a buyer, a senior buyer, subcontracts agent, purchasing manager, subcontracts manager, and ultimately, as a group manager. During my career, I was relocated from Minnesota to Colorado, to New York, and then back to Minnesota. I worked with many divisions of the various companies that owned us and also interacted with our suppliers all over the world. It was imperative that I travel a lot. With all those responsibilities, I had barely enough time to do anything else. Life in corporate world demanded all of my time and energy.
Even though the corporate world did not let me make use of art in any form or means that much, I somehow did get to express my love for the art of poetry a little over the course of time. I wrote poems for celebrations—birthday parties and retirement parties. During my years of training in the procurement department, a poem or two would pop into my presentations. But mostly, I learned to appreciate life, people, and places I saw. My thoughts and insights were reflected in the poems I produced.
The experiences I gained from a career that spanned more than four decades created an impact on me as a person and as a poet. Writing poetry had also stirred my deeper love of Minnesota. And working in the corporate world allowed me to see how work environments differ between the East Coast, West Coast, the South, and Midwest. All these observations were a great inspiration for corporate-oriented poems I have written over the years, which I was planning to get published one day.
Difficult as it might sound, but finding the right career and cultivating one’s passion only needed the willingness to compromise. I did and I learned a lot from finding the common ground between the two. I knew how to make it in the corporate world while never forgetting my passion for writing poetry.