Yes, you know what you are doing but not entirely what you are getting yourself into.
What you know is that you are joining a really reputable professional services firm. You know that they will work you like a demon. But you also know that after four years of being a zombie and having no social life to speak of, you will be able to live the life you have always aspired to have. Drive a great car, live in the right neighbourhood, afford overseas holidays, and buy that designer wardrobe – an experience that is greatly under rated.
More important to you than finally getting your pay check to match your sweat, is the fact that you will gain, in only four years, a really great brand. This you will get by rubbing shoulders with the greats and the blessing that is the halo effect. The Firm’s brand will become your own and will rub all that 100 year goodness on you. And this will be your ticket to freedom. You will be ‘known’ and will be able to leave its orbit into the freedom you desire. This is the real reason you are signing on the dotted line.
What you do not know is the true allure of that brand and the blindness that comes from frenzied work. You are immediately plugged into a family of well bred prized ‘stallions’ and the first thing they tell you is how special you all are. The best and the brightest. You feel it. You look at those alongside you, on the corridors and you believe it. You have arrived. It has happened to you. How did you deserve this? Things at home and in the world are not that far from your experience at work. Everyone is proud of you, which translates to your family getting off your back. Benefits you cannot put a dollar value on.
It gets to your head and how can we blame you; your head is so tired. You work maniacal hours but cant complain too much as the fat salary and even more generous bonus become your strong motivating factor.
You begin to be described in relation to the brand like some rich man’s wife and you don’t mind. After all, it helps you hold your head a little higher, adds a spring to your step, and opens many closed doors that you did not even know existed. Your name becomes a welcome addition to invitation lists and you even get speaking engagement requests. You get a little drunk on it.
And then you grow up a little and complain more and more. Something in you doesn’t feel quite right so you complain about everything. The milk. The receptionist. What you, now that you have a car, call the parking situation. Everything except the real issue, which is by now too frightening to look in the eye.
But seated alone in the darkness, when all pretences are lifted off you, you accept the uncomfortable truth. In the years during which you have enjoyed the brand and formed yourself in relation to it, you have forgotten to work on your personal brand. You have erased yourself and forgotten to rebuild parts of you that you need to represent your value. The brand is how you are described now. You are the brand and you cannot remedy the situation. Or can you?