I often worry about coming across as a smart arse, sniping at organisational life from the sidelines. It's easy for me, I work for myself. I have a degree of agency that many would envy. But I remember.
I remember the creeping feeling that something's not right but that you can't do anything to make things better. Sensing that your boss is displeased with you in some way, that you don't measure up, but not knowing why. Working for someone who doesn't understand either you or your job. Whose values are very different from yours and who seems to hold your future in their hands. I remember trying to do the right thing, trying to fit in, trying to please others. I also remember hating myself for doing it.
Then I read. I read every self help, personal development book I could lay my hands on. I still do. I started to get a sense of possibility, that things didn't have to be the way they were. I started seeing myself and others differently. I realised that I had choice, even in very small ways. I started taking very small steps. Over time these steps got bigger and they speeded up. Things started getting better.
They still are.