The following is an excerpt from my upcoming book Escape The Cubicle: Quit The Job You Hate. Create A Life You Love.
My internal–external conflict
From the outside, I had it all. I had a great education, having graduated from a top tier UK university and landed a lucrative banking job that paid big bucks. But what I didn’t understand at that young age was the big bucks came with a trade-off for my free time and my life.
Slowly, I became sucked into the grey corporate world, running after promotions and job titles I thought would make me happy. But the more miserable I became, the more I sought solace in retail therapy and would spend my bonus on pointless pairs of expensive shoes and overpriced handbags. I was searching for happiness hits in heels and handbags. My life was bloated with all the things I didn’t want or need. All that consumption was giving me indigestion in a big way. Looking at my overflowing wardrobe, I felt compelled to throw everything out. The signs of success surrounded me, yet inside I felt like the biggest failure ever.
I was tired mentally, emotionally and physically. I had stopped doing the things I loved due to lack of time and energy. I was eating all the wrong foods and drowning myself in daily sugary treats just to get me through the day. Then I would come home to a dinner of chocolate and ice cream to numb away the pain, absorbing myself in mindless time-suck TV to suppress the reality of my life. I felt lost. I didn’t know how to move forward. And I was grieving for my dad.
Fat, frustrated and fed-up
Emotional eating, chronic neck pain and a stressful environment had left me fat, frustrated and fed-up. When the pain of not changing became greater than making a change, I finally made a decision. Either I could continue living like this, or I could change my ways. I could create a different path. The cubicle I wanted to escape from was the literal cubicle I sat in during the day job. But it was also the cubicle I had created in my life, where I had no freedom and lived according to others people’s expectations. And this metaphorical cubicle had also trapped my mind into thinking there was no other way.
But the reality is that changing your life only takes an instant because it starts with the decision to commit to a different path. And I changed the course of my life in an instant when I decided I wanted to live a life full of freedom, excitement and adventure. A decade was far too long to be waking up dreading to go to the office every day, and far too long to be spending my time with people who drained my energy in a toxic environment.
I knew what I had to do, but I just didn’t do it. That’s when I set off on a quest to save myself. But to save myself, I needed to get to know myself again after years of chronic neglect.
Case Study: Escape The City
Rom, Dom and Mikey were fed up with the corporate treadmill. When they decided to change careers, they looked for a website that had some information to help them escape their corporate jobs, but there wasn’t one. So they started their own. Just a few years later and they have started a global movement called Escape the City (http://www.escapethecity.org/). This is a tribe of professionals who want to pursue exciting and unconventional careers and lifestyles. Their members are passionate about finding and doing work that matters and makes a difference. The community has over 100,000 members (myself included) and serves as a source of guidance, inspiration and support to would-be city escapers and other professionals.
- Take 100% responsibility for your life by owning your thoughts and actions
- Having a clear sense of purpose will reduce the inner and outer conflict, as all your actions will be driven from your inner being
- You have the ability to change the course of your life in an instant if you make a committed decision to do so