Choosing between a crack pipe and a shot of wheatgrass juice

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crack-pipeLiving in the world of abstraction, it is easy to think that making decisions about the direction of your business will be straight-forward and simple if you have done the hard work of setting life priorities, choosing a target market and creating a business plan.

Reality is much more complex.

Yesterday, I had a jolt of adrenaline which I would only imagine could be equated with the rush felt by crack addicts.  I was asked to facilitate a meeting of high-powered female executives, politicians and movie stars all in support of a really good cause.  It is the kind of opportunity that is the consultant’s version of a P Diddy video, except instead of vats of Cristal and scantily clad beautiful women, it is elbow-rubbing with Gucci-clad female executives, exchanging gold-plated business cards and magical phrases such as “you should really talk to …”

My social self, driven by status, power and external validation, was in overdrive as I considered the long-range implications of the experience.  Then I learned that in order to do it, I would have to devote a big chunk of time organizing the event.  And I would have to fly to Washington DC for two long trips.  And that I would be in the ultimate support role for movers and shakers.

Thankfully, my essential self spoke up.  None of the activities described above are related to my current life plan or business vision of helping oppressed corporate employees escape cubicle nation.  Spending weeks of time away from my baby would not only be a logistical nightmare, it would make me feel like a crappy Mom.  I didn’t wait 38 years to have a baby to spend it whispering goodnight through a phone.  And taking time away from the current steps to build my business would just delay my goals and dreams.  What I really needed to do was to back away from the crack pipe and take a big swig of wheatgrass juice.

Wheatgrass juice, for those who don’t know, is a soupy green liquid made by grinding blades of wheatgrass together. It is full of vitamins and turbo-charges your blood with oxidants and other life-enhancing nutrients.  I love the taste, although I have heard others equate it to chewing cud.

Keeping clear with my life purpose and business vision, which I call drinking wheatgrass juice, will give me long-term physical, emotional and spiritual satisfaction.  It is not a fast high, it is a lifetime of making smart, healthy choices.

Succumbing to the seduction of a high-powered consulting lifestyle, which I call smoking crack, will give me a short-lived euphoric high, shortly followed by a rapid descent into the meaningless pursuit of wealth and power for its own sake.  I will lose touch with myself and my family and find my life spinning out of control.  Not to mention losing my teeth and many other decidedly unpleasant experiences.

I have nothing against cavorting with interesting, creative and powerful people.  I will be the first to organize a “Million Drone March on Washington” demanding to cut the shackles of our unhappy corporate employees and celebrate freedom at work.  I will gladly speak and dance alongside (former Bain consultant — correction 1/19:  he worked at The Boston Consulting Group, not Bain) John Legend as he sings on the Capital Mall.

But for now, from my corner of suburbia here in Mesa, Arizona, I am meant to be here writing blog posts, changing diapers and slowly chipping away at my dream business.  Wheatgrass is good.

Be wary of a dressed up crack pipe.

36 Responses to “Choosing between a crack pipe and a shot of wheatgrass juice”

  1. […] Blog post about a crack pipe and a wheat grass shot by Pam Slim […]

  2. First off I want to say terrific blog! I had a quick question which I’d like to ask
    if you do not mind. I was curious to know how you center yourself and clear
    your head prior to writing. I have had trouble clearing my thoughts in getting my thoughts out there.
    I do enjoy writing however it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are
    usually wasted just trying to figure out how to begin.
    Any recommendations or tips? Thank you!

  3. […] This adventure reminded me of a blog post by Pam Slim about learning the difference between a crack pipe and a shot of wheat grass… […]

  4. […] description of this phenomenon was written by Pam Slim of Escape from Cubicle Nation when she wrote “Choosing Between a Crack Pipe and a Shot of Wheatgrass Juice”. She describes this rush of temptation of being pulled from her current vision like this: […]

  5. […] can be a classic crack pipe vs. wheatgrass juice moment, and saying no to a significant opportunity may sting.  It may help to realize that when […]

  6. hooka says:

    This is my first time visiting your site and i must say i like it alot.
    Your article was a good read.
    I will surely come back here more often!


  7. Health Nut says:

    Thanks for your honesty and sharing your unique perspective.


  8. Lisa Marie says:

    Congratulations Pam! I admire you for your self-awareness and agree with Carla Golden’s post that this opportunity will be someone else’ wheatgrass moment. There will certainly be more opportunities like this for you. Some will be wheatgrass and some will not. What’s most important is that you know the difference and honor your purpose. Thank you for sharing!

  9. Just Be Authentic

    Written by Jeni A bunch of Muckety Mucks running an internationally renowned sports apparel and footwear company for which I worked in the late 1990’s, sat perched in their luxury box seats one day and apparently declared it necessary for

  10. Just Be Authentic

    Written by Jeni A bunch of Muckety Mucks running an internationally renowned sports apparel and footwear company for which I worked in the late 1990’s, sat perched in their luxury box seats one day and apparently declared it necessary for

  11. Just Be Authentic

    Written by Jeni A bunch of Muckety Mucks running an internationally renowned sports apparel and footwear company for which I worked in the late 1990’s, sat perched in their luxury box seats one day and apparently declared it necessary for

  12. Chuck Beretz says:

    Love the blog. But wheatgrass juice? You are being scammed:

  13. Jeni says:

    Bravo! You obviously struck a chord with so many readers who took the time to comment on this topic. I am most interested in the subject of staying authentic within a business practice as my partners and I are developing a new brand of work and lifestyle products that draft off an ancient Japanese philosophy. In a nutshell, the products (in the form of blogs, guides and books) are designed to help people lead a more productive life by recognizing how to differentiate themselves from the rest of the pack and then lead a lifestyle that maximizes one’s strengths while minimizing life’s distractions. After reading this post, I plan on writing my next blog entry on authenticity, and I will use this post as a reference. Jeni

  14. Eric might have the right idea… how about just a puff or two? Is that possible with crack?

    IMHO having the kind of high-paying job that Astha is talkin about does not always equate with crack smoking… it’s more like being on tranquilizers.

    What Eric/I mean(s) is that maybe you should try it at least once…
    Certainly, given my current situation, I confess that I would jump at the chance, with perhaps the naive belief that I could put down the pipe if need be.

  15. Ann Bares says:


    Thanks for this post – the message came at such a good time for me. I just turned down a really high-profile, international opportunity that would have required up to a week of travel away from my family. It represented everything that I went into business on my own to escape doing, and yet the draw was so powerful – I was kicking myself all week for having said “no”. Your post helped me see and articulate (if only to myself) the reasons why my turning it down was the right thing, in line with my work purpose and values. Thank you for that reinforcement! Love your blog.

  16. Megan says:

    Great job Pam. The wheatgrass is a much more satisfying decision. (although it does taste pretty ordinary)

    Happiness over status any day, I say

  17. Pam, having integrity is one thing, the willingness to use it, now that is leadership! Rare quality nowadays! Here’s to you in a wheatgrass toast!

  18. Marilyn says:

    Good for you! I walked away from a career when I was 35 because I felt a big internal shift and wanted to head down a different, more authentic path. A couple of years later, I was asked to do a freelance job for my old company. I said no, twice…then finally acquiesced…and the project ended up blowing up (through no fault of mine). It reminded me in a big way how vital it is to heed the voice of my essential self.

  19. Helen says:

    Funny, I read this post after having a conversation with my husband about how his job interview went. My husband has been an at-home Dad for the past 5 years. He has really wanted to go back to the work force for the past 2 years but has not been able to get the right job. At times, he has felt that he is unemployable because of the persistent rejection. I’ve struggled with that because I would choose my husband as the person whom I would most like to be stranded on a deserted island with – not because he is my husband but because he can do anything he sets his mind to, on a deserted island he would save the day. Anyway, he had a great interview with a company he knows and respects, people he has worked with before and enjoys, doing the work that he would enjoy. But, the job came with frequent travel often 2 – 3 weeks at a time. And he turned it down. And he felt good about turning it down as there is power in knowing what you want and want you don’t want. His family is that important to him. Now, if we could just solve that money thing 🙂

  20. ann michael says:

    Pam –

    I hope this comes out right 🙂

    I am so proud of you!!! Those are such difficult decisions to make precisely because the opportunity IS so cool and “seductive”. I’ve messed up on a few decisions like that myself and I’m trying to do a better job of it.

    The bottom line is that if you haven’t really articulated your plan, a calling, or conviction – it’s almost impossible to make decisions like this well.

    Good for you!


  21. Friday Night Links

    Lagniappe–A SE Texas and S. Louisana term for a small gift given by the merchant to a customer, usually unexpected. While barging through the blogosphere I came across the following links that I thought you might like. Enjoy this lagniappe….

  22. Pam,

    I have 114 blogs in my aggregator. Yours is last (due to my categorization, not your talent) But of all the titles I have looked at in the last months, the title of this post was the most compelling. I just had to open it.

    Great post,



  23. Nneka says:

    Dang girl!

    I’m going to print this post and pin it to the wall next to my PC. I started this year to consciously work on my purpose and I have to constantly choose when presented with “opportunities”.

    You have exercised serious retraint and sent a clear message to your subconscious about your decision. New opportunities completely in line with your goals will start flooding in.

    In Spirit,

    PS. In all honesty, I probably would have smoked the crack.

  24. Pamela Slim says:

    Thanks for all your encouragement everyone! These things are never easy, but it does feel good to take a stand.

    I will say that there is absolutely nothing sleazy or wrong with the opportunity itself … it is a great thing with great people that will make a big difference in the world.

    For me personally, the crack pipe part of it is that I will be sucked back into the world of corporate consulting, and I know that that work is NOT where my heart and soul are anymore.

    For someone else, this opportunity would be a true wheatgrass moment.

    The important thing is that you make decisions based on what is right for you in your life, not what anyone else tells you is right.

    It sure would have been a hell of a good time with fodder for great stories. I am sure whoever goes in my place will have a great experience.

  25. Carla Golden says:

    Bravo! Good for you, Pam! It isn’t always easy, because the temptation can be very enticing and alluring. Our ego starts to swell and we get a taste of POWER. There are many out there who have succumbed. Stay focused on your priorities.

  26. Davida says:

    Hi Pam,

    Great post! I was turned on to your blog by another blog (I forgot which one) and it’s now one of my favorites!

    It’s so easy to get caught up in something we think is glamorous that we fail to see the reality of the situation and how it will affect us. Although your opportunity sounds exciting and can take you to new heights in your career, you found out what really matters to you in the long run. I decided to do something similar but in a different situation: I’m moving from New York City to North Carolina in a few months to get away from the rat race in order to raise my daughter and start my own business. I worry if I’m making the right decision, but in the end I know what I want for my daughter and I and moving out of the Big Apple, no matter how cosmopolitan and hip it is, is the way to go. Your post further reassured that for me, so thanks.

    By the way, John Legend worked at The Boston Consulting Group…I worked on some projects with him while we were both employed there! 🙂

  27. Lee says:

    I live in DC, the center of the universe for “crack smokers”, and it is so refreshing to read about someone who just said no to the power and glitz.

    Rock on Pam!

  28. Gwen Delmore says:

    I was so delighted to read this post, as one of the things I like so much about your blog is that you are so clear about your values.
    Your posts have encouraged me so much, even though I have never had a real corporate job, and have always had my best work experiences being my own boss.
    As another comment said, your children grow up so fast, you will never, ever regret being home with them.

  29. Jake says:


    Great stuff as always. Haven’t spoken with you in a while, but know that I am still an avid reader.

    Your post relates quite directly to my current situation of whether or not to pursue my MBA. The sacrifices (in time, money and focus) would be great, as would the experience. But in the end, is this really in line with my real life objectives? And will my business suffer or be catapulted as a result of this decision… Thanks again and keep up the good work!


  30. Jim Durbin says:

    Gutsy call, but I’m sure it’s the right one. Learning to appreciate offers without taking them is a skill few people have. I used to see that as a recruiter, as the simple act of calling someone and telling them you may have a job for them was enough to get them excited.

    Sometime the grass isn’t greener.

  31. Pam, two months ago the largest accounting firm in my capital city phoned me and offered full time work. I am at home with my 3yo starting up my biz, and its financially tough. However I made the decision to stick with my plan. I was oh so tempted and lost sleep over it, but I’ve made my choice and will move forward. There’s more around the corner, and I’ll only choose what’s right for my business and family. I’m so glad to see you being so honest and open and so proud to be a mum . . children are precious, and they don’t stay young and impressionable for long. Their little developing personalities and minds need us.


  32. Pete Aldin says:

    Pamela, what a great metaphor and what a vital life lesson. I have a friend on the eve of a multi-million dollar business expansion who is scaling down his working life to spend more time with his wife and kids.

    We need more of it.

  33. Pamela, I respect that you are walking the talk. It’s refreshing to see someone making a choice to stay on purpose instead of chasing the buck when it’s out of alignment with what’s really important to you. As the saying goes, “Actions speak louder than words”.

  34. Lauren Muney says:

    Can you consult on a brief time-limited (2-3 day) basis? Then you can do both: keep your family values but also guide those already-crack-smoking people who also desperately need you?

  35. Eric says:

    I could really go for some Wheatgrass right now. There’s only one place that sells it in my city, KevaJuice, and it’s on the other side of town. DAMN!

  36. Astha Jane says:

    Hi Pamela,

    Am in complete acquiesce with your statement – “Keeping clear with my life purpose and business vision, which I call drinking wheatgrass juice, will give me long-term physical, emotional and spiritual satisfaction. It is not a fast high, it is a lifetime of making smart, healthy choices.”

    Yes, indeed a lifetime of making smart, healthy choices. Though I don’t share a direct entrepreneurial streak, I believe in my goals and have taken regular doses of ‘wheatgrass juice’ versus the momentarily tempting ‘crack pipe’ with due diligence and perspicuity.

    In another continent, more than a decade younger…I equate the ‘crack pipe’ to a very high-paying job without the freedom to explore your own talent, create changes, and make a significant difference to the organization you work for.