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Working From the Ground Up

After years of climbing the so-called “corporate ladder” I was almost at the top. I’d worked so hard going to school, trying to keep up with technology and ahead of my whip-smart younger colleagues. I had my own office. An assistant. Only a rung or two more!

I was empty. The view from (almost) the top wasn’t as fulfilling as I imagined. After years of pursuing what I thought I wanted—what women have fought so hard for, like the right to make a living, hold a position of power—I realized I was tired, incredibly tired, trying to make it. I found I was climbing the wrong ladder. My soul yearned for freedom, to pursue other far more important matters.

I climbed down and started again. With feet back on the ground I refocused my passions on helping people and the planet, and on citizen journalism, returning to my original purpose of aiding those whose voices must be heard.

Now I face a new set of challenges.

The first is time. The reality is I must keep a full-time job. Yet, as much as I love teaching, I can’t help the nagging feeling that I’d rather be working on rainforest research, writing about the environment and human rights. In fact, I’m stealing a few moments between teaching classes, writing reports and marking papers to write this Week Three assignment.

The second challenge: limited finances. I’ve been looking for ways around this. Maybe it’s a longshot but I’d like to become more successful at publishing articles and (the ultimate goal!) to obtain a book contract that would provide enough money for me to take time off and bring this important issue of palm oil and deforestation to light, as well as donate to rainforest conservation.

Which leads to the third challenge. I’ve been so focused on improving my writing skills that I haven’t left much time for learning how to reach a wider audience. I admit I need help with getting a “publication mindset” and learning how to harness Web 2.0 to the fullest of my abilities. It’s a lack of confidence, too: that nasty little voice that says “What makes you think you can pull this off? Who will even listen to you? You’re no expert!”

I’m thankful to have found this community of women on World Pulse because it is giving me the strength to muster my courage and step out into the jungle, write stories that matter, and share them with the world. Simply connecting with other women who send messages of encouragement and support really helps to drown out those voices of doubt and fear.

I’m dedicated to this mission, and I will not give up!


Adepeju's picture

Awww! I love your courage.

Awww! I love your courage. Not a lot of people will take the step you have taken to climb down the corporate ladder and climb up the humanity ladder. I truly salute you.

katyrdz's picture

Wendy, I agree with Adepeju,

Wendy, I agree with Adepeju, it was very brave of you to pursue your true dream instead of going with the flow and the "important", high paid job. Kisses!

Monica Clarke's picture

Hi Wendy I do know about

Hi Wendy

I do know about climbing down to climb up, having changed careers three times in my lifetime. So what 'm saying to you, girl, is that the right place to be is where the heart is happy. Keep on the heart ladder, and you will be guided all the way.

Lots of loving and strength from Monica in France

Monica Clarke, Writer & Storyteller, bringing human rights alive.
I wish you 'Nangamso', that is: May you continue to do the good work which you do so well.
(A blessing from my ancestors, the Khoikhoi, the first people of South Africa).

Stella Paul's picture

Been there

Dear Wendy

For past 2 years, I was also heading a team of 55 community reporters and communication dept of a media org that had offices in 3 countnries. And then, this summer, I chose to become a nobody. Its very tough to begin all over again, especially when you are no longer in the safety zone of a post and a paid salary. But dear, your personal mission will keep you going, believe me. And when people come to you, say a word of appreciation, it doubles your dedication and your passion because you realize, you are doing something great after all!

As for using social media and web tools, we are all here. Together, with shared knowledge, we will overcome everything. In a way, I am also like you. I was lending all my web skills (html, social media apps, marketing and analysis) to the office I worked for. I never used them for personal spaces.
So now, I am starting from the scratch, to build my audience base for my blog and my accounts elsewhere. Will be more than happy to help you whenever you need any!

Stella Paul
Twitter: @stellasglobe

WendyBoneAbroad's picture


I love "humanity ladder" and "heart ladder." Nice choice of words for the ladders that we climb : ) Thanks Adepeju and Monica! Also thanks to Katy--I sincerely hope more women are able to recognize when they are going the wrong direction and try a different way. Even if the new way is hard, it is definitely worth it. I never feel empty any more; I always feel full and complete because I am following my heart's true mission. I hope the same for all women (and men)!

Stella, what you have done is so impressive. It is so wonderful and humbling to give away what is wrong for you to return to yourself again. A big salary doesn't make us "somebody" anyway! Thanks for the advice. I look forward to learning more from your blog and supporting you also in any way I can : )


CourtneyWilson's picture


I also love your use of the word ladders, and I admire your courage for standing up for what you believe in. Good work, now just believe in yourself and use Web 2.0 to spread your vision.

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