Updated: Jan 14, 2021
I founded The Corporate Mind after I realised (the hard way) that I'd spent the majority of my career pretending to be someone I'm not. Every day when I put on the suit, heels, hair and makeup, it was as far as I could get from the real "me". It was An Act - the confidence, the certainty, the ambition. Oh, I enjoyed the challenge in my 20s and early 30s, the money was welcomed, and there was always a sense of prestige working "in the city". A couple of big fat fingers up to my humble beginnings in the north-east of England and lack of university education. But I had become a person my friends and family didn't recognise. I felt conflicted, deeply unhappy and anxious. My corporate self came crashing down while I was pregnant in 2015. It happened over a matter of weeks; my mentor and boss of 7 years exited the firm overnight and I found myself embroiled in the office politics left in his wake. In an already toxic environment where it was every "man" for himself, I was on the receiving end of some bully-behaviour by an MD in New York who, although having children herself, lacked kindness, compassion, and what seemed like any memory of being pregnant, not to mention zero understanding of UK maternity policy. Quite suddenly, the confidence drained out of me and I was vulnerable. Imposter Syndrome on steroids, I questioned my entire suitability for the corporate world, my 18 year career, what was I doing there? I was about to become a geriatric mother* at the age of 37. I felt a huge weight on my back, mortgages to pay, face to save. I panicked, I couldn't breathe, I spiralled downwards, paralysed at my desk for what could've been hours.
And that was where my mental health journey began...
The Corporate Mind by Ann Camargo
*Not my words, a Senior Consultant at the Royal London Hospital, who went on to ask me if I was "one of those career women" for leaving it so late, whilst assuming the baby was conceived through IVF (nothing wrong with that, but she had spent the last 10 minutes staring at my file).