Feelings on leaving the corporate world

I have had many conversations with women about their feelings on leaving the corporate world. They want to work in a different way and to have more balance in their lives. I have noticed a pattern in the feelings they talk about. The feelings resonated with me, and I hope they will with you too.

Feeling a bit lost and unsure.

When you have been part of the corporate world for a while you have an identity in that world. This will include who you worked for and your job title for example. As work plays a big role in your life this will most likely have been a big part of who you felt you were.

When you step away from the corporate world you lose that part of your identity. Who does that mean you are now?

It can also impact on your self-worth. This is particularly true if you were earning a good salary. You may now be starting again in some way either in a new career or in your own business. There is a clear link here between money as a measure of your worth.

These feelings can be a real sideswipe to what you expected when you decided to step away from corporate life. They can knock your confidence.

Remember, your worth is about who you are. All the experience and expertise you gained when you were part of the corporate world is still there. You can use the relevant parts of that in this next part of your life. You remain truly valuable, no matter what.

Feelings about who you are will emerge as you work in your new way and much of your identity remains the same.

Feeling guilty about not working hard

Talking about feeling guilty usually results in laughter as we realise the irony. You have stepped away from corporate life to have more balance. It is no longer about working hard.

There is a saying “work at what you love, and you will never do a day’s work in your life”.  This is true, and you can set your own rules!

It took me a long time to stop fretting about not being at my desk by 9am. I am not a morning person, so it suits me to start work later.

To have more balance in your life decide what works for you and forget the old norms around long hours. How you work is up to you!

Remember 3+3=6, so does 2+4 and 5+1. There is always more than one way. Find your way.

Feelings confused about success

When you left the corporate world, you may have had a good idea about what you were going to do or not. It depends on the circumstances at the time. Then life takes over, and things don’t quite work out the way you envisioned.

What you consider success to be now, may be very different to what it was when you were working previously. You may not have taken time to think clearly about what you want now and how you will know when you have it.

Getting really clear on what success is for you, means you will find it easier to get there. Remember that success is personal and unique to you. You get to define it.

It may help you to describe what your life will be like when you achieve your ideal balance between work and other aspects of your life. Take time to do this in some detail, what will it look like? How will you feel?

It is quite possible you will need to do this more than once. Things change so be prepared to be flexible.


The conversations I have had with women who want to work for themselves after years in corporate life have been interesting, informative, and challenging. Each time we have learned and grown. I love these conversations and the fantastic women who have shared their thoughts and feelings on leaving the corporate world.

If you would like to chat please do get in touch. You can find out more about how we can work together here and more about me here

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