Waking Up in Corporate America: Interview, part 4

By Scot Herrick | Book Reviews

Feb 07

I’ve been a long-time subscriber to Epic Living, by Eric Pennington, with his writing about the crossroads of life and work. I was really satisfied to learn that Eric recently published his book, Waking Up in Corporate America: The Seven Secrets That Opened My Eyes, and was eager to hear from Eric himself about the book.

This week, I’ll be interviewing Eric with a question a day — kicking off this past Monday with Part 1. It’s all about career management and personal growth, something near and dear to my heart. We’ll have the question, the answer, and some commentary as it relates to our work in cubes.

Question: In your book, Waking Up in Corporate America, you provide readers seven secret principles that helped you navigate and survive in corporate America. Which of the seven principles was the hardest for you to learn and implement? Why was it the hardest?

Eric Pennington: That’s a good question, and tough. I’d have to say Secret #3: Don’t Chase Success.

It was the hardest because I made the mistake, early on in my career, of thinking that self-worth and net-worth were the same. But as many have found, they are not the same.

When you intertwine your self-worth with success you begin to let your identity be shaped by all your trappings. It doesn’t matter if it’s where your office/cube is located or how long your title is.

Identity defines us whether we like it or not. Needless to say, it took a lot of time and work to wake up from the lie that says you should chase success.


Here’s the simplest lesson I’ve learned in my career: whenever I’ve chased success, or thought that I finally had arrived and got a little smug, life gets in there and smacks me down.

Most of my successes in life were presented as opportunities when I wasn’t chasing them. Once I grabbed the opportunity I worked it hard, of course. But chasing success? It just doesn’t work.

Eric’s right on the money with this principle.


Eric Pennington is a passionate thought leader who has helped organizations capitalize on the power within their people through sales growth, leadership training/development and Epic conversations. Eric is the author of “Waking Up In Corporate America” and a member of National Speakers Association and Leader to Leader Institute. Read more of Eric’s bio here.