The Corporate Compromise

Over spring break I wanted to fly to Chicago by myself. I wanted to prep for my upcoming year abroad by flying alone. I wanted to stay with my aunt and learn tips and tricks for my future in business. Despite the selfish and strategic origin of the idea, I ended up having a very different trip than the one I had initially imagined. Since planning the trip, my major had shifted, my studying abroad had been pushed back, and my mother and I took the train.

When we arrived at my aunt’s apartment, it had a gorgeous view of Lake Michigan and the city skyline. From the 38th floor, of one of the nicest buildings in Chicago, her life looked like a corporate success. Buddy, her little lap dog, guards the apartment and her designer clothes while she drives around town in her BMW. Not to mention, she basically designed her own job. Staying with her, I witnessed all of the stereotypical perks of corporate success, but I also saw stereotypical downfalls as well.

Throughout the trip, I watched as my aunt’s vacation was taken over by a series of emails, phone calls, and meetings. When something went wrong, she was called. When people flew into town, she had to meet with them. I watched as this stereotypical busyness consumed her vacation and the stress encroached on the time she did have away from work. Even when she was with us she wasn’t with us, she was constantly thinking about her job.

My father used to say, “some jobs are so terrible they have to pay a lot.” There is some truth to that statement, but this is not what I am advocating with my aunt’s story. Nothing is wrong with making money, or with working long hours. Corporations are not all evil. Still, the stereotypes above exist for a reason. There is generally a tradeoff between luxury and hours worked or stress level. Here is the bad news: all careers have perks and downfalls. Here is the good news: acknowledging this tradeoff allows you to choose a career that aligns with what you value.

Tell us what you think: what are some perks and downfalls of working in your hopeful future career?

Written By: Career Peer Ahna

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