It’s Not About The Ladder

I‘m not here to write about how to climb a ladder or how to be successful in Corporate USA.  There are plenty of articles on how to do that so if that’s what you are looking for, read no more.

Now, for those of you that stayed, I am here to write about how to retrain yourself to be successful despite not climbing the famous ladder.  Let’s be honest for a minute.  There are few seats at the top of that ladder, the rungs to get there can be treacherous and with each step, you can lose a little piece of yourself as you attempt to fit into the mold to make it to the proverbial top.

So no, I will not write one more thing about those characteristics that make up a good leader.  Isn’t there enough out there today about that topic?  Just try to siphon through the plethora of articles of doing these 10 things, 7 things, 4 things or emulate these 5, 4, 3, 2 characteristics.  It has become mind-numbing.

Ok, so you are still here huh?  Well, then I should probably let you in on a secret.  I don’t claim to have all the answers and I certainly have made a lot of mistakes along the way but I can tell you one thing, with each passing day I have one less day on the planet.  I have one less day to be who I am.  I have one less day to voice my opinion or share my thoughts.  I have one less day to share what I was thinking as I walked this great blue spinning orb of ours.  So I will not spend one more day trying to be someone I am not in attempt to the climb one more golden rung up the corporate ladder.

You see, while I am at work I am a part of the machine that makes up the business world but I am an individual contributor and happy to play that role.

So what do I do in my day?  Well, that’s an interesting question.  The reality is a portion of the day belongs to me and a portion of the day belongs to those that will reward me with a salary to use my skills to better their company.  So my day begins early.  Why?  Because I want to assure that before I begin doing for others I have done for myself.  I get up and have something to drink to replenish my body of the water it is mostly composed of.  I go for a walk to get fresh air and oxygen that I require to live.  I spend time painting to allow for my creative senses to wake.  I might read inspirational writing or a short story from someone like Larry Tyler.  I will do all of this before 7:30 in the morning.  At that time it’s time to switch off my “Raissa” hat and put on my corporate hat.  I will get ready to come into work.  Select what I’m going to wear, sit in traffic, get to my desk and begin my day as a computer.  One that enters data, configures systems, reviews error reports, conducts status calls, and creates status reports and meeting notes.  I will update project plans and work on tasks that are contained within them.  Along the way, I might have a short chat with a fellow co-worker.  I might ask them how they are feeling in a way to let them know that it’s ok for them to say that they aren’t doing so well.   You see, while I am at work I am a part of the machine that makes up the business world but I am an individual contributor and happy to play that role.  Sure, I have climbed the ladder and actually got pretty far but the reality is I didn’t much care for the view.

So, I’m here to tell you, it is ok to not feel the need to climb a ladder.  It is ok to be happy with where you are in your life today.  It is ok to not try to change who you are to make someone else accept you.  In the end, if you need to change to have them accept you then they probably are not worth changing for in the first place.

So go ahead, be who you are meant to be, try different things, you never know what you might uncover.

Raissa Urdiales
Raissa Urdiales
Raissa lived most of her life along the shores of Lake Michigan in Wisconsin. She currently lives in the quiet city of Tega Cay, South Carolina, just across the border from the very active art community of Charlotte, North Carolina. Raissa has not always considered herself as an artist. She spent a great portion of her adult life staring into computer screens and managing computer system implementations and upgrades in the traditional corporate setting. It was through a chance paint night that she discovered her passion for painting. On her 51st birthday, she treated herself to some acrylic paints and brushes and has not stopped painting since. She balances her passion for creating with her day job as a systems analyst. In the wee hours of the morning, you will find her painting before she immerses herself in the technology that is consuming the world today. Although Raissa does not have formal training in the arts she is very conscious of the benefits it has on the human psyche. She holds a Bachelor's of Science majoring in Psychology where she focused her studies on Organizational Psychology. Through her corporate career, she has learned how to strike a balance between that which provides monetary reward and that which fulfills us as humans. For her, this balance is obtained through painting, writing, and exercise. She is currently a member of the Guild of Charlotte Artists where she exhibits select pieces during the quarterly art shows in and around the Charlotte Metropolitan Area. She has also submitted and is featured regularly in the Light Space & Time online gallery. When she is not painting or working with computer systems, she is writing. She currently has a column with BIZCATALYST 360° named “Artful Being” where she writes on topics both in and out of her corporate life to help others gain balance on what it is to be human.


  1. Raissa, we must never forget who we are or where we came from. There is not enough room at the “top” for everybody. In the uncertain scary time that is our new reality, your article was a true breath of fresh air. Thank you, Raissa for sharing your article along with your efforts to make people realize that being where you are may not be the worst place to be. Thank you as well for gracing us with your and last but certainly not least your art.

  2. Great article. I grew up with parents who were depression kids and who unfortunately spent their entire lives waiting for the floor to drop out from under them, so work wasn’t just a way to make a living, it was also a way to stay out of the soup line. That as well bleed into my life and for 85% of my career I worried everyday in the same way. Then I lost everything, literally everything, moving from having 7 figures in investments to living in my car. I was lucky though as I was able to pull myself out of free fall but it was also a time when I learned to appreciate the little things, recognize how little the material meant and how to take care of me. So, so so important!

  3. Excellent post! love your way of thinking and approach. It shows how individual we are in our terms of working and creative habits and environment. I fully agree on ladder vs. bilateral ;) – moving horizontally is often the right way forward. We should never forget that we live in a 360 world, not flat in any direction.



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