Punk Rock HR is underwritten by Headspace for Work.

In this last episode of 2020, I’m going to be talking about Pfizer. That’s right, I’m talking about the global drug company, my former employer, and the place where I decided to end my career in human resources.

Back in 2012, Mitt Romney made the statement that corporations are people. At the time, I hated it because I loved Barack Obama. But, in retrospect, he was right. Companies are made up of people–good, bad, and indifferent. Just because you have a bad experience at a company doesn’t mean that reflects the company’s overall sentiment or culture.

Today I’m discussing my own experience at Pfizer. I’m taking you through some of my deepest struggles and eventual realizations about what I had to do to create the life I wanted. I learned that if I wanted something bad enough, I had to be willing to invest in it and I want to share that same message with all of you today. Tune in to hear how I went from being miserable in a corporate job I hated to pursuing my dream to fix work.

In this episode you’ll hear:

  1. My biggest struggles throughout my time working in human resources at Pfizer.
  2. When and why I decided to end my career there for good.
  3. The problem with not investing in ourselves.
  4. All about my experience getting lap band surgery in Mexico.
  5. Why it is so critical to do whatever it takes to improve our well-being.

Key Takeaways

Laurie, what were your biggest struggles throughout your time working in human resources at Pfizer?

When I worked at Pfizer, I was truly surrounded by people who made a big deal out of nothing and fought constantly over things that were unimportant and unrelated to patient care and well-being. These people really thought of themselves as performing at a very high level, but the output was very mediocre. However, the truth is I was mediocre too. I wasn’t bringing my best to work every single day. Instead of pursuing my ideas, being a leader, going back to school to get my MBA, or even launching my career as a writer, I just stayed in that job. I thought I didn’t need those people but just needed to collect a paycheck. Had I had the courage to fix my own employee experience, I would have made my life and the lives of other employees better. Instead, I was just stuck in a state of learned helplessness. As the days turned into weeks, and the weeks months, and the months years, I sat in this job and grew increasingly disconnected from friends, colleagues, and even from myself. I was depressed, isolated, and suffered from insomnia. The only thing that soothed me was food, leading to even more problems as weight packed on quickly. Beyond that, I was traveling all over and constantly hustling across an airport or trying to catch a taxi. It was all increasingly complicated as my size and my endurance degraded.

When and why did you decide to end your career in HR at Pfizer for good?

I had a realization that companies put themselves first. If I wanted to fix work and my attitude toward it, I had to be like Pfizer and play a bigger, better game. I had to consider my long-term interests, invest in my future, and put myself first. The first step towards doing this for me was questioning the story I told myself. I asked if I really was stuck in this job and what benefits I would gain from continued employment there? I asked myself if I could make some short-term sacrifices and improve my long-term options if I stayed in my career in the trenches of HR? I asked if it was worth the physical and emotional toll on my body? I asked myself what I really dreamed of doing with my life and what I could do in six months to change it? When I asked and answered those questions, a bigger version of my life emerged. I realized that with a little bit of money put in the right places, I could be anything I wanted to be. So, I decided to go for it.

Why is it so critical to invest and do whatever it takes to improve our well-being?

The one way you can make it in life is through investment. Invest your money and invest your energy. If you want something bad enough, reallocate your budget to go and get it. Back when I worked at Pfizer, I had a sense that if I wanted to do something great in this world, I needed to get a handle on my well-being. For me, that meant addressing my size and my health. At the time, I wasn’t thinking about goals. I was merely thinking about survival. All of that negative activity was permanently changing my body and it can do the same to you if you don’t invest in improving your well-being. You don’t have to do exactly what I did, but the problem for so many of us is that we’re not doing anything at all. We’re not investing in ourselves and putting ourselves first. So, whatever your goal is, whatever will reboot your life and gives you another chance at happiness, get after it.

Resources From this Episode

Laurie on Instagram

Laurie on LinkedIn

Work with Laurie

Betting on You: How to Put Yourself First and (Finally) Take Control of Your Career