I have to thank my sister for recommending “Where in the OM Am I?” by Sara DiVello. It’s uncanny how my sibling always knows the books that will resonate with me. “Quiet” by Susan Cain is another example. But there’s a problem. I’m having a love-hate relationship with DiVello and the stories of her life. This auto-biography is about my life, or at least my past life, when I paid my dues in the house of corporate horrors.
Though I still hold a corporate position, I’m in a much different place now, which was partly engineered and mostly luck. The Boston rat race in the book parallels my past life as a young professional racing through the corporate speedway of New York City. I lived DiVello’s episodes of lunatic bosses, outrageous demands and multifarious office characters. Her escape to yoga every night mirrors my lunch-time desertion for long walks to nowhere. Her angst, sense of entrapment, and inability to simply flee conjure up vivid memories. The author’s references to “putting out fires,” the “familiarity of dysfunction,” and the “treacherous undertow of my daily life” are painfully recognizable. Identifying with a story should be what we yearn for, right? Well, yes, but…
I should have written this book. I wish I had DiVello’s sense of humor and her ability to see that she was surrounded by insanity. I thought it was me. I wasn’t writing back then. Maybe that was the therapeutic exercise I needed, but the corporate roller coaster leaves little time or energy to explore creative outlets. Maybe it’s not too late to tell those stories and make peace with it. I have so many tales to tell that I wouldn’t know where to start or if I am prepared to dredge up the deeply buried memories. Also, I may not be equipped with DiVellos’ insightful comic lenses. I haven’t finished the book yet and I’ve already laughed aloud several times, a phenomenon I can’t recall from any other book.
Perhaps I should start a new blog and call it The Corporate Cage. I could exhume my own anecdotes – my self-important superior who was a tyrant by day and rock star wannabe by night; the manager known as Casper who mysteriously disappeared throughout the day; the supervisor who would rather email me than traverse the distance from the adjacent desk to engage in a live conversation; the boss who was enraged because we didn’t bond during the mandatory team-building exercise; the business travel arranged for me in a cold, dive hotel where Burger King was the only nearby dining option.
On second thought, do I really want to re-live all that? No, I think I’ll just enjoy reading about the corporate darkness of my past and bask in the light that shines on me now.