"Arrrrgh! Damn you Corporate America! Why do you mock me so? You haunt me to my doom!" Although you may not be so Shakespearian in lamenting your lot in work-life, I am near certain that you have felt this sense of resignation and frustration in almost every corporate job you have held.

Misery Doesn't Give a Crap About Company

Despite what others will tell you, it is cold comfort to know that you are not alone in this regard. For some reason this situation seems to be the exception to the adage "happiness shared is doubled, sorrow shared is halved." I believe there are several reasons for the sheer depth of this dark pit of despair, the most primary being that people do not see any reason for their suffering. Most hard-working people don't mind suffering, as long as it is for a cause and they see an end. Even a very distant end for the people that come after them is good enough, and that can be a cause in itself.

I hope to shed some light on the cause for the suffering. In doing so, I am attempting to give people some perspective and hope in preparation for the next time they are faced with the soul-crushing weight felt from being under the thumb of "The Man." Although the darkness seems to lurk around many corners with a seemingly endless variety of sources, most of the scenarios can be classified into two different themes -- getting things started and getting things finished.

Hardest Thing #1 - Getting Things Started

Getting things started in medium and large enterprises is the hardest the thing to do in Corporate America (except for the other hardest thing to do -- getting things finished). Executive management is fond of saying "Just get started!" This mantra is a direct result of the "veto effect" that seems to dominate so many corporate cultures.

You may be unaware of the veto effect, but I would argue that you are not unfamiliar with it. How many times have you seen ideas and concepts go nowhere because of one or two negative voices who seem to see only the obstacles rather than the possibility? The manner in which this one "no" shuts down efforts to improve can be highly baffling, as it doesn't seem to be correlated with authority as much as it is to consensus. 

The resulting stagnation of the veto effect is akin to a turd in the punch bowl because, once there, no one even likes the thought of drinking punch. This "aversion to punch" is a direct result of people not wanting to be attached to an idea that might fail after someone highlighted a concern.