Wondering why you don’t feel fulfilled in your corporate job, despite your successes? Feeling burnt out from working endless hours, hoping the next promotion will bring you that satisfaction?
Consider this: there is nothing wrong with you as an individual, but there may be something wrong with the values of the system we live in. You don’t have to get that next promotion, win the next project, or earn the next dollar to find your purpose.
Whether you want to be an entrepreneur or climb the corporate ladder, your purpose is already inside you. It's time to discover what ‘success’ truly looks like to you.
In this week’s episode, I chat with Jennie Blumenthal, CEO and founder of Corporate Rehab. Her coaching consultancy helps executives ditch workplace hustle culture and intentionally reclaim themselves and their lives to find more fulfillment in their careers and at home.
Join us as we discuss:
(1) How the pervasiveness of hustle culture has shaped corporate America
(2) How to redefine what it means to have a fulfilling career, success and accolades aside
(3) How men and women are affected by hustle culture in different ways; the dynamics of masculine and feminine energy, and the benefits of each
(4) Finding your purpose; what it means to find balance between a fulfilling personal life and creating a meaningful career
(5) Jennie’s tips on how to break free from the toxic hustle culture and embrace what it means to truly thrive in your work and personal life
If you’re ready to ditch the hustle culture and reinvent your career, tune in to learn how making intentional decisions can help you create a life where you’re THRIVING instead of just surviving!
Connect with Jennie
Corporate Rehab Book
Note: The above links are Amazon Associate links, which means I may receive a small commission if you click through and make a purchase (at no cost to you). I only promote products that I believe will change your life & business!
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Hello everyone and welcome back to the podcast. Today I'm chatting with Jennie Blumenthal, who is here to help you break free from hustle culture, reinvent your career, and re-engineer the way you work. Jennie is a speaker and author. She's the CEO and founder of Corporate Rehab, an acclaimed professional coaching consultancy that has helped hundreds of executives ditch workplace hustle culture and find their path toward a greater sense of purpose.
She just released her new book, Corporate Rehab: Ditch the Hustle Culture and Thrive Again, where Jennie shares her story of 20 years leading in corporate America and the 300 female executives she's interviewed across a variety of industries. So if you're ready to reclaim yourself and intentionally get more from your life and your career, you will not wanna miss this episode.
Jenny, welcome to the podcast. [00:03:00]
Jennie: Thanks so much, Lindsay. I'm really happy to be here.
Lindsay: I'm so excited to have you here. So, to start, could you tell us more about your own journey in corporate America and what led to you creating Corporate Rehab?
Jennie: Sure. So my journey really started, it's been across different industries in corporate America, but started on the nonprofit consulting side and then wound up just taking different consulting engagements through a couple of different companies. And at the end of my corporate career, at least for this chapter, I was a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers, and really on the consulting side, leading a lot of the hospitality, marketing, sales, and service groups.
So that was kind of the outside career success, ladder perspective, but I think on the inside I probably had a little voice that I was trying to ignore for the last 10 years that said maybe there are other things I should be doing and maybe running away and getting on a plane three times a week is not the best thing for my life or my two kids and husband or [00:04:00] myself.
And so my own story is just this great career success. Really proud of a lot of things that the team and I achieved there. Had some great mentors, had some not-so-great ones, as any place is full of, but really, had a moment where I looked around and said, this isn't what I want anymore, or this isn't what I thought I would get at the end of the career ladder.
I thought I would find more purpose than I was finding at that moment. And that's really what led me to do some internal work and look inside and say, really what do I want? And what is the next chapter? And that's what really started Corporate Rehab, which just became a joke, which was the response I gave to people when they said, you left so quickly, what are you doing now?
And I said, “I'm putting myself from my own corporate rehab.” That's really where the whole thing started.
Lindsay: I love that. And we were talking before we hit record, but PWC is also where I worked. Funny enough. So who would've thought that we'd be here now? Oh, man. So [00:05:00] you said that for about 10 years, you had that voice in the back of your head. So can you talk more about that and like when did you start feeling like maybe there's something else out there that I should be doing and I guess, why did it take so long for you to actually act on that thought?
Jennie: Yeah, so when I think about the voice, it wasn't something that was obvious or this billboard that I was trying to ignore. It was when I was the most successful or felt like I had really achieved a top rung of something I was going for, and there was really this emptiness underneath it, and I couldn't figure out what the emptiness was because I was getting, I was reaching and achieving all the things I had set out to achieve.
But there was this little piece that just said something like, ‘either this role isn't right, or the relationships aren't right in it,’ or you're doing fine. You're doing all the things on paper that look great, but there's this other piece that you're meant to do. And I didn't really [00:06:00] know what that was, which was the scary part.
If it was this flashing billboard that was like, ‘go save baby seals!’ I might have been like, okay, let me consider that. But it was just this little nagging voice that was like, ‘this ain't it.’ There's just something off here. And it showed up in a lot of other ways within, my interpersonal relationships, within the amount of work I took on.
Cuz I thought, well I'll just hustle even harder. And if I just go faster, maybe the next rung will feel more fulfilling, or maybe I'll get, I'll buy myself enough experience and power within the organization to be able to choose the thing that's going to feel more purposeful. So maybe that's the right angle.
And the further up I went, there were definitely career accolades and so many things I am proud of, but the voice got louder and it started to impact more of my personal relationships, which was really a little bit of a blessing in disguise. When we had the pandemic, I was grounded in terms of planes.
I couldn't get on the three planes a week and I was in the house with my husband and my two kids, and it really gave us a chance to look and say, [00:07:00] is this really what we want for our lives? And what is the amount of true connection that we want to pursue in our relationship and our marriage with our children, with ourselves?
With the actual meaning behind the work that I do and asking those hard questions instead of just assuming: if I just get the team set up, or maybe next week will be easier, or maybe if I buy the right planner, all of this will come together. It really gave me a chance to try to look inside and say what is really going on.
And what I found and, happy to share more on this, was I actually, as you'll appreciate, I could take the consultant out of corporate, but I couldn't take the consult consulting outta the girls, so I thought, what is it that really kept me in a situation that was good for me in so many ways and really not great for me in a lot of ways too.
Was it things within me? Was it things within the corporate culture or a certain boss? And the answer's probably all the above, and I think that's different for each person. But that's really what started me down this [00:08:00] path to figuring out why I stayed and what kept me almost trapped in that situation of my own making.
And you mentioned ‘what kept me from listening to the voice?’ Well, that's what I found out when I started actually doing some of the work on myself and capturing the stories of these 300 women is that I think the number one the familiar, often keeps us trapped. That there's... I had a ton of different offers when I was in the position.
Some great, other potential roles, other companies. But I kept thinking, oh, but I've got this network here, or restarting will be so hard, or I don't want to leave my team. And so there was this sense of the familiar that keeps us trapped. But there's also this sense of the hustle culture really being beneath all of this and saying, if you just keep running faster, you'll get it.
There's just something you haven't figured out, and there's nothing wrong with the system, or there's nothing wrong with the job. There's something wrong with you. And if you just go faster, you'll find.
Lindsay: Yeah. Yeah. I love so much of everything that you [00:09:00] said because something that I say all the time is if you don't listen to that voice, it's only gonna get louder. And I think you said that word for word, it’s just kept getting louder over those 10 years, and I do think that the pandemic in 2020 kind of accelerated that process for a lot of people, and especially women who it forced us to look at what we were doing and evaluate what do we actually want out of our lives?
To see, maybe, that lack of connection that we did have in our personal lives and our personal relationships. And I also hear all the time from people who I interview that, they had all of the, on paper, they were successful, they had all the career accolades, they reached the top of the ladder and they still did not feel fulfilled. And I think that's so important to hear because we're told that that is success and that is fulfillment. But for a lot of people, it's not. And so if you can find what is that thing that's missing, that's [00:10:00] actually going to fulfill you and do that earlier in your career, I think, the better off you're gonna be.
And to me, that is what should define success. Not, what your title is or how fast you moved up the corporate ladder, but it really does, that idea keeps us stuck in hustle culture like you said. So I'd love to hear from you; how would you define hustle culture? What is it and why do you think it's become so prominent in Corporate America?
Jennie: Yeah. So the New York Times had a great definition of this in an article from 2019. So all of this pressure, I think, was building up until the pandemic. And it was really the chance for the pandemic for us to realize things like burnout, things that have been going on beneath the surface that maybe we're just thrust to the national attention.
So the way that it's defined is this ‘always-on’ mentality. Everything has to be productive. Everything's 24/ 7. You're only as good as your last deal. And so it's this constant, you hit your numbers this year, so next year it's [00:11:00] gonna be two x, or you already hit this pinnacle, so we're just gonna raise the bar.
As opposed to giving yourself a chance to recover, giving yourself a chance to say, how much is enough? And we can see this play out in individuals where there's no rest, and you just vault from 60-hour work weeks to just work hard, play hard over the weekend, and then you come right back.
And there's nothing wrong with individual hustle. There's nothing wrong with trying to be in busy season as you were or close that big deal as we would have on the consulting side. And give yourself a break or give yourself that pat on the back. Right? The challenge becomes when we get stuck in that gear of it has to be a hundred miles per hour all the time.
And what I found in my research is that we do that, a lot of that to ourselves, where we are pushing ourselves constantly and saying, ‘oh, but if I don't get this deal, then I'm gonna have to fill in the blank.’ Then I'll get stuck with a crappy project. Then I'll, for me it was then I'm gonna have to fly away all the time and go sell work in [00:12:00] another state, so I really need to nail this now. I don't want to leave my kids. But I think there's a lot of that, that we keep ourselves hooked in the hustle culture.
But there's also something that I don't think we can deny, which I think is very different from the lean-in message I got when I was probably a couple of years into my career. The hustle culture gets embedded in our workplaces and our performance measures, and so there's this expectation of it never being enough, either. I had an interesting quote in the book, one woman I interviewed said, ‘we talk a lot about caring for our people and making sure that we take care of them, but we introduced mental wellness benefits the same week we upped our utilization requirements,’ and I thought that was an insightful perspective of hers.
We can say all we want, that we believe in mental wellness and we believe in balance and work-life balance, and it's the total person, but when we're actually running companies as leaders and saying, you are as only as good as your last deal, and you won't get promoted unless you hit that number or exceed your [00:13:00] targets. We're actually valuing what we measure versus what we say. And so I think that hustle culture gets trapped within our bodies and ourselves and our mindsets.
And we repeat that but then it also gets reinforced with the cultures around us and it becomes the air you breathe unless you take some steps to actively make sure that that's not the norm.
Lindsay: Yeah, I mean I definitely remember that as well. Like your performance evaluation, you were literally compared with your peers based on your utilization, which is how many billable hours you're working.
And I remember there were some people who I worked with, whose utilization was like 150%, which meant they were working. I don't know what is that 60 hours a week, like billable hours, 60 hours a week, which is crazy. And that's what you're being evaluated against so it almost becomes like you have to hustle more.
Like you have to work more and work harder, or you're gonna get passed up for a promotion or you're not gonna have a good performance evaluation, so it really does become [00:14:00] embedded in the culture no matter, like you said, how great your wellness benefits are, or how much you talk about the importance of mental health.
If your employees feel like they have to be working 60 hours a week in order to keep up, that is not gonna be good for their mental health.
Jennie: That's right. I think to your point, I think the employees tend to just absorb that we'll get it done, nights and weekends or one in the morning as opposed and then you don't see a lot of that input. And so in some cases, I think leaders keep that in place. And in a lot of cases, I think they're actually not even aware of how much gets absorbed by employees. And you only see it in turnover and burnout, which is what we're seeing ridiculous record levels of people saying, I can't do this anymore.
And to your point, just for your listeners, I saw this across the Big four, I talked to people from across all of the different companies. I talked to people in medicine, in law, in education, and entrepreneurs. So this is something that is pervasive. I think different industries have different levels of intensity and certainly size and [00:15:00] scale of company, but that example you mentioned, I heard that over and over, whether it was in medicine, doctor burnout or whether it was a consultant or a tax associate. So it's really pervasive.
Lindsay: Yeah. And the other thing that you said about how it really gets instilled in our bodies, I can't tell you how, and this happened to me, it still happens to me sometimes, but every single one of my clients, after they leave their job, I'm like your body needs a break.
Literally, just relax, you don't have to do anything right now. And it's like they physically get antsy because we feel like if we're not constantly doing something productive, that we're lazy, or that we're gonna fall behind. Especially as entrepreneurs, there's always something that you could be doing to build your business.
And so it's hard to remove yourself from that mindset of ‘I don't actually need to be constantly working and constantly hustling in order to have a successful career or have a [00:16:00] successful business.’ That's something that can be a really hard transition once you actually leave the corporate world cuz it's literally ingrained into your body.
Jennie: I totally agree with you, and I actually see this happening a lot within, I'll say, millennials although it's a broad group, where people are saying, you know what? I don't think this is what I'm meant to do, but now I'm in this constant where my boundaries have already been tested, and I'm already used to working these 60-hour weeks. I'm seeing it in women in, I would say in their forties and fifties who are saying, I'm halfway through child-rearing, I don't want the rest of my life to look like this. There's gotta be a different mode and I can take my skills and I can shift them into another role in the company. A company that has a work standard, or go into business on my own. So they're making all these moves in kind of mid-career, midlife.
And then for men, I'm seeing two things, either at the parent and caregiver level that they say, I want a different relationship with my kids than [00:17:00] I saw my dad have, or my grandfather have and I want to be that more active caregiver. Everybody would love to be delivered a Martini at 5:00 PM when they get off work, but most of the men I speak with are like, 'Hey, I want something different for my kids,' and more power to them. But they realize that requires a different set of behaviors and attitudes from home into work. But then the other group of men are men who have just retired and said, well, I put so much into my corporate identity or my career identity, cuz it really goes across industry, and now who am I without that job? What do I do and how do I start to reposition where I get value from and start that reconnection with the people that are most important with in my life, now that I have more time?
And so your point is right, that everyone's looking at how they do that. It just shows up differently based on age and stage. And hopefully we'll change a couple more times throughout our lifetime as we go through different priorities in our lives.
Lindsay: Yeah, that is really interesting, [00:18:00] cuz it is different, I think for men and for women where women are probably more inclined to prioritize, our family and our household duties or whatever you wanna call it.
Whereas men have always adopted their careers as part of their identity. And so there's this, hustle culture in the sense of, men have always been competing in that way of wanting to climb up the ladder. And it's not a coincidence that the majority of these people who have quit their jobs in the great resignation are women because we don't want to keep up with that.
And I think, to your point more men now are taking a look at that and they're like, well, I don't wanna be working all the time. I wanna actually have a relationship with my kids. And it's almost as if we need more men to have that attitude in order for the culture itself to change.
Because as long as there are so many men who are gonna be willing to still put in these hours and climb up the ladder and do things how they've always been, then companies have less of an incentive to really [00:19:00] change the way that they're doing things. Is that something that you've come across at all in your research?
Jennie: Yes. That's a great question. So you're absolutely right. Men absolutely have to be part of the conversation. One piece where that really comes across clearly and the research I did, is in caregiving. We're one of the only developed nations that has no national caregiving paid leave, which is ridiculous.
If you look at what Finland's done recently, what any other developed nation, we've made all of these advances where the graduates coming out of college are 57% women. And then you get to the C-suite and it's a ridiculous number. It's 8% women CEOs, and even at the C-Suite it's about 20% within female partners across law, consulting, and professional services; it's usually somewhere between 15 and 20%.
So that's a huge drop-off when you think about all of these people entering the workforce, and then the talent pipeline is still broken. I know McKinsey just published something on this called the Broken Rung On the corporate ladder. So I think we see a lot of [00:20:00] that dropoff and a lot of challenge to figure out how to change that.
I think the caregiving piece is a huge part of it because I see the first big dropoff comes between manager and director is typically aligned where, roughly, we should be manager or vice president as women start to enter, family stage of caregiving and usually you have companies that have been more gracious when it comes to paternity leave.
That's been one of the best things that's happened recently in the last couple of years. But then after that, we're still operating it like it's 1950. And we have these women that are trying to do the same job as men but then also adding caregiving. And one of the recent studies said that women who are partnered with men in a domestic arrangement are doing 20 hours a week more of caregiving activities. When you add that up over time, that's enough for a part-time job, 20 hours a week, so we're doing at least, a job and a half, if not two. And when you get kids out of diapers, and they are entering [00:21:00] pre-teen, and they have more emotional issues than they have physical ones, you get women doing, making some of these same decisions of saying, ‘someone’s got to be here when my kids get bullied, or someone's gotta be here to take someone to a two o'clock school information session,’ which is always the mom.
So there's that piece that's broken, and we need men to be visible about, 'Hey, I'm leaving to go to my kids'.... not just soccer practice, to go read in my kids' classroom or to go take my kid to a high school play, or whatever it might be in the middle of the day so that there's that representation. The biggest reason is not only does it hurt women, but it hurts men. We're leaving all of these men in this position where they're pigeonholed, where to be a dad is just to provide financially, and they're missing out on the rest of their lives with their kids.
And unfortunately, many of them find that out at 60-something when they retire. So I see a legion of men now who are reaching out and saying, help us change this now. Cause we want a different relationship, with our [00:22:00] lives, but also with our children. So that's a huge piece to get men more involved.
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Lindsay: Yeah, it's good to hear that there is that shift happening. It reminded me, honestly, of a comment I got on a TikTok video that I posted. I don't even remember what the video was. Something about corporate hustle culture and how a lot of workplaces are toxic or something. And a man commented on it, [00:24:00] saying, ‘women wanted to work, and this is what working is. So if you guys can't handle it,’ something along those lines, and I'm like, why are...? That is not the mindset to have. Why are we assuming the problem is women not being able to keep up with the workplace? And the problem isn't that there's something fundamentally wrong with how we've structured the workplace.
Because to your point, it also negatively impacts men and their ability to really show up and be there for their family and spend time with their kids. And it's not something that only affects women, but a lot of probably older men have this mentality of we've been doing it this way for years.
And now all of you younger people are complaining about it. Well, yeah, because we've realized that it's really a flawed system. And so it's nice to hear that there is that shift, especially cuz we can't make this change without men realizing it needs to change as well. So yeah, it's refreshing to hear that that [00:25:00] mentality is shifting as well.
So we really already covered why so many women have left their jobs but are there anything else that you've discovered from the women you've interviewed and through the research that you've done of why is it that the majority of these people who have quit their jobs in record numbers are women?
Jennie: So I think we've talked a little bit about the caregiving piece. I do think that there's also a bit of a more spiritual and emotional and power scenario too that's playing out. I'll talk about it this way, there are a bunch of different ways to look at this that go back to ancient Chinese wisdom, to Hindu, all kinds of different... but if you think about it, just accept the concept that there's feminine and masculine power in each one of us, regardless of your gender, regardless of sexual orientation, we all have what typically gets told or labeled as masculine qualities versus feminine.
So masculine, these are all constructs that we all agree that men do these things and women do these things, right? So that's another [00:26:00] whole podcast probably, but masculine power is typically described as doing, achieving, conquering, and leading, versus feminine power is typically described as collaborating, nurturing, caring, and helping.
And if you think about that being in each of us, what we found is so many of the power structures, but let's start with men dominating the workplace, and so it's been dominated by more masculine power expressed in that leadership style. And so really where we are, is that you're finding many more women in the workplace.
I think the pandemic, of us being at home, drove a lot of us into this digital world where all of a sudden information was democratized. You saw people that were being fired over zooms. You saw, the information of, oh my gosh, I just got this dream job and it's paying more. And I never thought I could leave this and look what I've been able to do.
You saw people being able to have a little bit more transparency [00:27:00] and salaries and marketplace trends in a way that wasn't the case in 2019, where there are some cultures, based on the research I did, that really have this undercurrent of ‘you'll never be as understood as you are here. No one else is gonna know your value the way we do,’ which is a bit paternalistic and patriarchal, frankly, but it's pervasive, and I would pause it that how could that not be? If we've got societies that are run by men and you've got men in those positions of power, on the one hand, you could assume a number of them are evil actors and out there to keep everybody down.
And there definitely are those people. And on the other, you could assume that the people that have ascended into the c-suite have had to trade off other parts of their lives in order to attain that, and that becomes their worldview. And so, how could they make any other decision? How could they possibly, unless they embrace a little bit more of the feminine aesthetic of, or power of empathy and collaboration and reaching across the table? [00:28:00]
Until you get some of those C-suites and boards to be a balance of feminine and masculine power, whether those are men and women is almost immaterial; it really matters what types of power you're balancing. Until you get there, you're going to see so many of these leadership decisions made by a group of people that really can't see another alternative reality. And so I think that's partly where, when I think about your question of, why were so many people, why did the majority of people who left were women? Caregiving is the number one issue. When daycares were closed, and women are doing zooms with kids in their laps, it was a reality.
But the emotional and spiritual aspect of that, I think, is that women are intuitive. Women have a different level of thinking that compliments masculine power, and that's the way it should be. It shouldn't be this separate and divorced men rule the board; women serve the coffee.
It should be a more balanced perspective. And a lot more women were waking up to that and saying, 'I don't have to put up with this.' There was a lot of toxicity that was [00:29:00] exposed as well with Me Too and everything else before, and so I think it's a combination of all of those factors of women saying, yeah, we don't need to run things this way anymore.
I can be even more powerful on my own, or I can be part of this situation and change it from the inside. And that's what I'm hearing the most.
Lindsay: Yeah. That's so powerful. So for the women who you interviewed, had they all left the corporate world, or were they still in it?
Jennie: No, so it was about half and half. So a lot of them had decided to leave and were in a toxic situation and had gone to another company. A number of them had left and done their own, had set up their own, were now female entrepreneurs, and set up their own companies. And really, when I started to do the interviews, it was almost by accident.
My whole process was: I did some of this work for myself, and I tried to figure out what problem we were solving, and I found out it wasn't just me; it wasn't just the culture. It was this hustle culture that is so pervasive across everything, [00:30:00] whether you're in the boardroom or whether you're trying to get kids out the door with shoes on their feet, it's this constant hustle.
But it was interesting as I started to dig into more of the interviews, and I heard more and more of the stories I just asked women: if you have a story where you felt like the hustle culture was driving a decent part of your decisions, or that you were trapped in a situation that wasn't good for you and you didn't know how you were gonna get out of it or why you were stuck.
Those are some of the stories that I asked people to share. And, my inbox got flooded, and I wound up interviewing 300 women almost by accident. But it became this thing that once I started interviewing them, the stories they told me were equal parts, hilarious and horrendous and inspiring and unbelievable. And, if any of them would, were willing to go on record. Most of the companies have big issues that we should, that we need to address. Most of them wanted to remain anonymous, so I kept everybody anonymous for ease, but really what I found was that this hustle culture beneath all of it is really driving these [00:31:00] situations that aren't really that great for us and trying to help them figure out how to make some of those transitions.
What I found was that people who are in the midst of that are saying, I'm in burnout, but I don't know what to do next. Or, this thing at work is not that great for me, but I don't know if it's just me. Am I not showing up strong enough or finding my voice, or am I really dealing with a jerk boss?
And so that's why I wound up putting all the stories in the book because hopefully they help people feel seen. Right, where they are and so it's a mix of people who, I was in this toxic situation and then I switched and I figured out that I brought it with me. Or that it was really that boss or a mix of people who are still in corporate America, but have found a role that actually aligns more with what they want to do with this phase of their life.
For some, that's going back into a sales role and being client delivery; for others, being in more of a philanthropic role. But really the bottom line is the whole process and their stories are about making intentional decisions so that you know whose story you're living out and you're not [00:32:00] just on autopilot.
Lindsay: Yeah. I think one thing that you said that really stood out is this idea that some women went back to a sales role, back to a role that I think a lot of times we feel like if we're taking a step back in our career, cuz we tie so much of our identity to our career. It can be hard to do something that might be seen as taking a step back or seen as stopping your progress cuz like we were saying in the beginning, this idea of success is climbing that corporate ladder and it's always like this forward kind of motion and I think a lot of people are hesitant to maybe step down to a role that might actually be more aligned for you at that point in your life, right?
If you are about to have children, or if you have young children and you want to be spending more time with them, but the role that you're in right now requires you to be traveling a lot or working 60 hours a week, that might not be the best role for you right now. And so [00:33:00] we have a lot of pressure from society, but we also put that pressure on ourselves to always be hustling and reaching for that next career goal. But what looks like success for you might not be getting to an executive role right now. It might be working less so you can be home and spend more time with your children.
And so, like you said, intentionally creating, what does success look like for me? And making your decision that way rather than just going with this pressure that you have to always be advancing your career and getting to that next level is where you're gonna find a lot more alignment and a lot more fulfillment in your life.
Jennie: Yeah, I agree. And this is where it's hard because it's on both levels. It's on the individual, but it's also in the culture. And sometimes in society, sometimes it's the company culture, and sometimes the microculture that a certain boss or mid-level manager will put in place.
And I think that's what's really hard when you're a [00:34:00] leader is to try to keep tabs on all of that and say one thing from the C-suite, and then if someone's not carrying that through, how do you actually identify that and make sure that certain teams are protected. And so to your point, on the individual level, yes, you can make that option to say, I'm going to downshift for now; I think the challenge has always been it's a pyramid, right? For most of these companies. There's not this easy on-ramp that says, here's the career path. If you've done that, we're not going to just vault you into where you would've been because you really did spend less time or miss two years, or whatever it is, right?
But here's the alternative and have something painted for somebody so they can see themselves in that. I think the challenge is we only have the people who have stayed or the people who have gotten sidetracked, it used to be called mommy tracked. Something where they're some sort of internal role or something that they're not as excited about, but gives them flexibility, and we need something in the middle that says, this feels really [00:35:00] purposeful, but it doesn't cost me blood, sweat, and tears.
And for people that want to put that in and hopefully have done the work to say, why do you want that? And is that your choice, or is that because you're trying to prove something to somebody else? They'll get to that point, but if they still want that path, Go for it, knock yourselves out. But here's another path for a lot of the other people who have a ton of value to add to your organization, but don't think the game needs to be played the way it was construed in 1950.
Yeah, and that's really what we're saying, is that there are other ways to actually get value from the talent that you're leaving on the table at this point. And I've seen this time and time again, and unfortunately, you get a lot of companies that say, ‘he or she just couldn't hack it.’ They just weren't cut out for it, as opposed to he or she sees a different way to define value in addition to revenue and would like to add that to the organization. Let's figure out how to make that work. And I think the companies right now that I see that are doing that well are actually listening to Gen Z and saying, [00:36:00] okay, this isn't just a new 21-year-old that's entering the workforce that has these lofty ideals and wait till we break them down.
This is a generation that's shaped by different pressures. Their parents weren't raised in the Depression or in World War II. They might have seen a financial crisis, and that's really important to them, but they're not shaped by the same influences of scarcity, on a broad level, that really fueled this hustle culture, that a baby boomer has. And so by definition, every person's different and has their own set of experiences, but each of these generations, it's not, I don't think Gen Z is gonna say, ‘Hey, now that I could afford my mortgage, I'm gonna give up on purpose.’ It's a fundamentally different set of values and notions that each of these generations are bringing to the table.
So when you look at this multi-generational workforce, it's really gonna be incumbent upon leaders to say, how do we make space for all of these different preferences but also still achieve scale? And not have a cookie cutter approach and not have a completely customized approach and really [00:37:00] navigate that space in the middle.
Lindsay: Yeah. Yeah. It'll be interesting to see how everything shifts over the next few years as more of Gen Z enters the workforce. Cause it's definitely a different generation than the ones that have come before. So in all of the women that you talked to, did you find any common threads as far as what was that moment when they knew it was time to leave?
Jennie: Yes. Most of them, I would summarize by saying women put up with a lot, and most of them who left had a toxic situation of some sort or another. It could have been abuse; it could have been a narcissistic boss. It could have been having their boundaries constantly pressured to be violated, time, energy, what have you. Other boundaries, of course, as well. That was the number one situation. And actually that doesn't surprise me, given the research I did. Donald and Charlie Sull have a great podcast that they did with Brene Brown last year. They did this research on what were the [00:38:00] main factors driving the great resignation, and it wasn't paid and it wasn't childcare. It was respect.
That was the number one thing that people said was making them choose to leave. And so that tells you there's a lot of toxicity that's influenced in these cultures. They also pointed out that microcultures are a piece there too, that it could be, you could have a great overall company culture, but it takes constant tending. If you have a couple of outliers or a couple of teams that are really driving a certain standard of behavior, that's really, going to start to poison the rest of it.
And so that's a big piece that came across loud and clear that a lot of these women have just had to deal with a lot of disrespect for a long time. And most of them, again, as I said, this is the type of thing where there's stats behind some of it, but some of it's anecdotal, you get to a point where you're over 40, and you say, ‘I just don't have to put up with this stuff anymore,’ and I think that's where a lot of them got to and said, ‘I'm gonna take my skills and go across the road,’ or ‘I'm gonna take my skills and set up my own [00:39:00] shingle.’ And obviously, that's a privileged perspective to be in, where you're making sure you’re able to cover rent or mortgage or put kids through college, depending on where you are on that.
But there's a lot of this awakening that women are getting to and saying, ‘I don't have to tolerate this in order for me to have value and purpose and drive revenue at work.’ I wanna point my ambition towards the things that feel healthy and feel really purposeful and still knock my goals out of the park.
And I think we can do both. We just need to both shift our own mindsets and patterns, and we need to shift the way that corporate culture gets played out across the boardrooms of Corporate America. And hopefully that's what we're doing here at Corporate Rehab.
Lindsay: Yeah, so tell us more about your new book.
Jennie: Yeah, so the book has the 300 stories in it. It has a lot of my anecdotes as well, and then it actually walks through a framework; as I mentioned, I can't stop with the consulting, but I really did it because it was really hard. I had more people saying, ‘I feel burned out. What do I do next?’ Or [00:40:00] ‘send me your top podcasts or your top books to read’ and the list became 50 of each and it's a little bit overwhelming.
And so what I did is distill that down into a framework. And when I wrote it out, it actually spelled out the word rehab. So R stands for recognize your life story and the context for the values and some of your decisions. And the next is E for evaluate and that's where we get into energy and habits and relationships and patterns.
H is for heal across mind, body, and spirit in ways. Whether you're detoxing from burnout, you're healing from the hustle culture, you're giving yourself a chance to do some of that repair within your body, within your mind. Bring on new, newer mantras that you can say instead of that little voice, that can be so mean. A is for arise where we get to play and do some of those fun things and add back skills that maybe you've prevented yourself from learning if you've been so focused on climbing a ladder. And then B is build, where we build a roadmap of the dimensions of your life [00:41:00] and your career that you'd prefer to choose intentionally now. And that's really what it does is lay that out for you so you can just start that with some of your own exercises. Then I also do coaching and workshops and speaking in my private business to executive women and men who are looking to shift from just surviving to thriving in their work and life.
Lindsay: Yeah. Amazing. So where can people get Corporate Rehab if they wanna get the book?
Jennie: Yep. The book is on Amazon, so that's the easiest place to go. And you can go straight to Amazon, or you can go to my website, which is www.corporate-rehab.com, and it has all the buying information right there as well. And if you pick it up, I'd love to hear your thoughts. So please send me a note and tell me what parts resonated with you.
Lindsay: Yeah. And I will leave those links in the show notes for you guys. And before we wrap up, Jennie, I'd love to hear from you. What is your biggest piece of advice for the woman listening who has been wanting to leave her job but she hasn't quite made [00:42:00] the leap yet?
Jennie: Okay. I would say get really quiet and listen because you have a lot of these answers already within you.
And if you can stop running long enough, just for even five minutes, whether it's meditation, taking a walk, or just something where you're not trying to achieve anything or do anything for anybody else, just listen to what comes up. Because I've been surprised in my own process that when I get really still, there's a lot of the answers that I already have within me, so I think that's a good place to start, and hopefully, if that doesn't help, you can certainly go through the book and see if that gives you a nice kickstarter as well.
Lindsay: I love that advice. All right. Where can the listeners find you if they want to connect with you? Are you on social media?
Jennie: Yes, so LinkedIn is my primary source because that's where most of us are hanging out, trying to get more out of our work and more out of our lives, in that combo. But then I'm also on Instagram, Facebook, and, unfortunately for my 14-year-old, on TikTok.
Lindsay: All right. [00:43:00] I will leave all of that linked in the show notes. Jennie, thank you so much for coming on, for sharing your story, and everything you've learned from talking to so many women, and I just really appreciated your insights. I'm sure a lot of the listeners do as well, especially those who are still feeling stuck in that corporate world and hustle culture. So thank you again.
Jennie: Awesome. Thanks for having me on, Lindsay. Great talking to you.