185: Why Leaving a Corporate Job Might Be a Good Decision

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There are numerous benefits to working a corporate job. The job is often pretty well defined; employees boast a fairly good salary, health insurance, and for the most part, they don’t have to worry about work once they leave the office. Sounds great, right? However, Gallup reports that only 30% of Americans are actively engaged at work. Which means most Americans wake up unhappy each morning thinking of quitting their job. Many people dream about leaving behind corporate life, but few actually make the leap. Making that massive leap comes with risks few are willing to take. The idea of giving up a steady paycheque leaves many people paralyzed with doubt of what the future holds. Yet, working just for the paycheque is not sustainable. Life is far too valuable to waste on something you don’t like. 

The Most Interesting Things About Working in The Toy Industry and The Automotive Industry [08:15]

Although promising strides have been made in encouraging women to pursue STEM, women and girls remain deeply underrepresented in STEM. And the ones that do make it through face persistent gender disparity and the inability to achieve their potential. Dr. Nagthall is one such individual. She worked in the automotive industry for four years and later switched to the toy industry, where she spent another 11 years. Her journey has not been without a few bumps. But her resolve to be the best and work among the best is the one thing she believes has helped her succeed.  

During her time at Toyota, Dr. Nagthall noticed that the company is really great at providing training. They believe in the idea of continuous improvement, even though they are a world leader in car manufacturing. This trait is something Dr. Nagthall has carried with her throughout her career. She believes that it never helps to be comfortable in your current role just because you signed a new contract extension. At Toyota, everyone is challenged to grow in their jobs by constantly solving problems creatively, experimenting, and learning. It would be best if you did that, too. Challenge yourself to always keep improving. 

On the other hand, the toy industry is very stressful and volatile. There are a limited number of ways to be creative, yet the market demands new and unique toys every season. So, to spark their creativity, they would look for inspiration in places outside their line of work. For example, they’d take a cooking class or watch a play. Sometimes getting out of a regular routine is all you need to be inspired. 

Dr. Nagthall’s Transition From The Corporate World to Higher Ed [15:10]

The American Dream is built on the belief that anyone can attain their own version of success. For the most part, people chase success in the corporate world, where they’re encouraged to climb the corporate ladder and burst through glass ceilings. In her 20s, Dr. Nagthall never would have thought that there would come a time when she would leave the corporate space. She loved her job, enjoyed the job security, and the pay was good. But then, suddenly, she lost her job and was torn between going back to the corporate world or pursuing something else.

By this time, her priorities had changed. She no longer craved the fat paycheque; she wanted a little more flexibility and fulfillment. And so, with that, she decided to pursue a career in higher education. The pay is slightly lower, but she’s got a little more time to pursue her other passions. She believes that no matter how much money you make, always ensure you have enough time to spend it. 

Dr. Nagthall’s Definition of Success [23:01]

We all know success means totally different things to different people. And to Dr. Nagthall, she believes success is derived from fulfillment in whatever it is you’re doing. You might be working 60-hour weeks and be happier than the person working 40-hour weeks. So, as long as you’re happy, money shouldn’t be a defining factor. Dr. Nagthall further explains that the one thing that has helped her become successful is having a “personal board of directors.” Your “personal board of directors” are people who are experts in their fields and keep you accountable for your actions. They may be your friends, workmates, or family members, but the relationship should be mutual where you all motivate and keep each other accountable. 

A recognized leader in business and higher education, Dr. Natalie V. Nagthall currently serves as the Los Angeles/Orange County Guided Pathways Regional Coordinator for the Foundation for California Community Colleges. Natalie’s specialties include professional development, curriculum design and workshop development. The Brooklyn, New York native earned a BS in Marketing and Logistics/Transportation from the University of Maryland, College Park and an MA in Organizational Management from the University of Phoenix. Natalie received her Ed.D. in Organizational Change and Leadership at the University of Southern California. Her dissertation explores the use of culturally relevant instructional practices in STEM under the title, “(Re)Imagining STEM Instruction: An Examination of Culturally Relevant Andragogical Practices to Eliminate STEM Inequities Among Historically Minoritized Students in Community Colleges.” Connect with Dr. Nagthall on LinkedIn or through twitter