The reality is that we all have to acquire ways to meet our basic needs. And for all urban dwellers, there are bills to pay — whether it’s for electricity, or for a ridiculous amount of subscription boxes and streaming services. For some, working the “9-to-5,” brings the comfort in knowing that there’ll be a steady source of income, a general idea of what an expected work day will be like, PTOs, and possibly health benefits and 401(k) match. Those working in tech and advertising have even more gains like corporate happy hours, lunch-and-learns, education loans or sponsorships, commuting expenses, the yearly holiday party where there’s always THAT one person who gets totally drunk and his/her intoxication is captured by all coworkers, and office pets.
Now, you may be wondering why in the world would a person consider giving all of that up!?
LivLIFE has been online for two years. It initially started as a digital portfolio to answer to all the “Do you have writing samples?” and “What is your personal social media following metrics like?” questions in job applications and interviews. It even became the catalyst for getting me through the door for job opportunities, and a deciding factor alongside with my experience and skill set. What I always saw as a way to get a corporate job, I never viewed as a way to get out of the “9-to-5.”
After spending most of my 20s in a vicious cycle of working 11-40 hour work days (yes, 40. Maybe it was more. That whole period of my life was a blur of caffeine fueled hours), racking up earnings and PTOs with no time to use them, losing personal connections — “We didn’t invite you because we assumed you’ll be working” (it was on weekends, and they were right), and episodes of stress-related fainting, it was time to change directions.
Whatever your circumstance, lets break things down to figure out if you’re longing to escape the cubicle life.
1. You Long For Freedom
Whether it’s the freedom from the restraints of traditional work hours or doting micromanagement, you’d like to be the boss of your own time and work. You get to do what you want to do, and when and how you want to do it. You have a scalable idea that can generate revenue through an actionable plan. It is also a vehicle for your vision, voice, and beliefs.
2. Things Are a Snoozefest
Maybe you’re at a company where there isn’t much opportunity for lateral or vertical growth. Or if you’re not about a fancy title change, it may be an environment that doesn’t encourage learning or creativity. The overflowing inbox, the weekly meetings, sit-all-day, rinse, repeat. If you rather hit snooze than wake up to attend a snoozefest, you may want out.
3. “Is That It?”
You find yourself wondering if there is more to it than earning-spending-consuming. There has been more than one study with findings that an income level beyond a certain threshold doesn’t contribute to day-to-day contentment. People say that money doesn’t buy happiness, and according to this study by Doug Short, how much you need to get to that point is dependent on where you live. You want to take part in creating something, instead of taking part in someone else’s creation.
4. “I Wish…”
You admire those who don’t let the corporate world dictate their life and time. You wish that you had the courage to pursue your passion like them. Even if you’re unsure of what it is, you know that it’s not what you’re currently doing. Society defines success as power, prestige, and money, but you know it isn’t what dictates your happiness.
I often see how an individual pursues his/her career is usually a reflection of how one handles romantic pursuits. If you see your corporate job as the comfortable relationship that’s “not bad but not great,” is something mediocre worth sticking around for? Is fear alone holding you back?
If more than one of these factors resonated with you, which path will you take? Whatever you want to do, do it now. It’s time to not hold yourself back, and live by what aligns with your values. Embrace the possibilities.