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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Is the Corporate World for You?

Is the Corporate World for You?
Walking to the front edge of the stage, I take a peek down at my notes before looking out at the workshop crowd. Three hundred healthcare IT professionals smile back as the presentation theme music rolls out with the classic rock guitar lead from Money for Nothing.

"Good afternoon, my name's Evan..."



Five great questions of life: Life * Love * Learning * Labor * Leadership

Labor: How Will I Make a Living?

Is the Corporate World for You?

By Evan Nehring


Walking to the front edge of the stage, I take a peek down at my notes before looking out at the workshop crowd. Three hundred healthcare IT professionals smile back as the presentation theme music rolls out with the classic rock guitar lead from Money for Nothing.
  “Good afternoon, my name’s Evan, and I’m a five year veteran of Epic go-lives and optimization. I’m going to show you a very accessible way to keep organizational workflows available to your users.”

Hours earlier, my co-presenter, Tristan, had wheeled his Honda Civic to the right as an orange-vested attendant pointed us to the designated parking area. The direction was hardly necessary as we followed hundreds of vehicles like a line of ants into the underground parking structure at the Epic corporate campus outside Madison, Wisconsin.

 Thousands of healthcare IT professionals streamed up the stairway to the towering Epicenter auditorium at the heart of the corporate campus.

How did I get here?

Is the Corporate World for You?
Epic, Verona, WI
It’s a question I've asked over and over as I've found myself making a living in adventurous new ways. Big business has been an eye opener.

Who’s really suited for a career in corporate America?

There’s nothing like driving through downtown Minneapolis or Chicago with the convertible top down or the sunroof open. Look up, baby! It’s unbelievable! Skyscrapers are the icon of big business!
The competitive
I work for the largest corporation in my county. There are opportunities to move from rookie to veteran to team lead to manager to director to executive. It feels like salmon swimming upstream, fighting the waterfalls and racing to the top. We see it happen as the years go by. A coworker recently got a promotion after 30 internal interviews in 6 years. Some go quicker. Others wait longer. If you can’t handle watching the years go by, do something else.
The collaborative
Corporations are multi-departmental organisms. The obvious advantages offered by their size are offset by the disadvantages of bureaucratic clunkiness. Committees meet monthly to approve changes. Budget cycles are annual. Some policies are more rigid than others. Completing projects means working with accounting, IT, HR, management, facility, reception, operations…and many, many more! It can be very powerful, but if you don’t like group projects, do something else.
The collective
Working in a corporation is similar to going to high school or college. You get the full sweep of personalities, ambition levels, skill sets, morals, hobbies, skin colors, worldviews, and quirks. Yes, it can be very similar to episodes of The Office. My wife worked for many years in a small insurance office. She found the move back to a large corporation very refreshing. It’s definitely social!
The combative
It’s hard to write people off as irrelevant to your job when they work for the same company. As Anakin from Star Wars put it, sometimes “aggressive negotiations” are involved. There’s a balance of resolve and compromise needed to coexist in the corporation. People skills are a very big deal. Even though some departments don’t place high value on hiring for people skills, they are still a big deal.


Your direct upline will probably have more to do with your happiness in your corporate job than anything else. Inside info is worth an awful lot if you can get it. Working for a corporation? That’s your call!

Comments are Always Welcome...

Have you found your place in the land of cubicles and water coolers? I'd love to hear about it!

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