It Really Is That Intense – Part III(a) – The Corporate Climber

To recap, I have reviewed my youth and upbringing at a high level in Part II. These were the first 18 years of my life and ‘the sober years.’ In Part I, I identified the beginning of my drinking and the early rebellious years. I saw that even in that period of time my drinking was not controlled or manageable but was written off as something that was normal part of growing up. The ‘early 20’s.’

Now, in my mid-20’s I began to navigate the real career. This was my safety net. I built it based on smarts and determination. I escaped my passion career in the music industry and wallowed through my disappointment and painful failure or as viewed it as such at that time. I joined the late 90’s boom of technology. I became one of the very few women in my occupation in those early times and I learned very fast how to navigate the corporate environment. See, this is where the “functioning” comes into play. I could 100% party on a Monday night and do a very good job the next day.

I could still ride through hangovers like a champ. This didn’t begin to become difficult until later. I also became what I look back as the “khaki” days. I wanted to bury any semblance of who I was in my early days.

I was ashamed. I had shame of myself, my actions. I changed everything. I wore khakis. I started to dress very dance club and not the kind of dance clubs I was use to. I started to embrace Britney Spears. I still love her. Don’t judge. Either way, I fell in love. He was so sweet but he broke my heart. I bought a condo. I settled into a quiet town. I continued to date the wrong guys. However over those years, I was starting to panic. I was in a panic because I wanted to know when I would get my next drink. It didn’t matter if I was with the guy I was in love with or the guy I didn’t see a future with; I had to drink. The single years will be captures in another episode; this one is about WORK.

When I was in the music business, it was OK to party. It was what we did. I never missed a day of work. I was there at 7:00AM and would leave when it was time to leave. Nobody questioned a hangover or the need for a cigarette in the office. Beer was available but we never really touched it. We had the corporate weed dealer and I swear my boss came in every day high on coke. Nobody cared.

Now in the corporate world, something was happening. It was the rocking early 2000 timeframe and the company I worked for had a local bar. We’d all head there on Thursday nights. Our director would drink with us. We would hit the bar hard. It would start with beer and end with shots. Usually I was OK to drive the 12 miles of backroads to home. I probably shouldn’t have but lets just be thankful I am here to type.

Over the years some crazy shit happened in that job. Stuff I NEVER imagined.

  • Dated a co-worker for a long time. It was semi-serious but I never fell hard.
  • Did way too many shots with my boss on my birthday and got rides home.
  • Used another co-worker to get over another heartache.
  • Flirted with other co-workers.
  • Yelled, gossiped and confessed at the bar God knows what
  • Told things to others that I still cringe about when I see those people
  • Worry to this day what people know and do I have a reputation – doesn’t motherhood and baby change that?
  • Almost passed out in the morning in a hall before a presentation that thankfully I wasn’t giving (Vegas rules)
  • Blacked out at a conference after too many tequilas and yelled at another co-worker in passing
  • Needed to be walked back to room at conferences on more than one occasion by peers and employees
  • I believe I was hit on once in San Francisco or followed back to the room – but was saved by a friend
  • That friend above also was the one who helped me obtain my lifelong goal of having alcohol poisoning; something else reckless happened that night. It involved pool sharks, too much whiskey and some lap dancing.
  • There was that band I was in and thought I was a good singer. There is video on archive at my office hidden somewhere!
  • Got my keys taken from friends in bar parking lot. I had a hissy fit of epic proportion.
  • Drag raced my Volkswagen down some highway after a few to go to another bar
  • Drank at lunch a few times; that I guess was normal on Thursdays and another company was buying the Mai Tais – my boss only went because they were strong.

This list can go on and on but the gist of it is – this happened between the age of 28 and 34. This is what I accomplished in that time:

  • I became a well paid individual contributor.
  • I went to graduate school and got my Masters degree
  • I was promoted to Manager of a small team
  • I was promoted to Sr. Manager
  • I built a team, executed many programs, VPs, Sr. VPs knew me by name
  • I presented in front of thousands of customers about technology

I guess I might have fooled them all. Time was running out though. I met my future husband.


Author: jenA.

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