Keys to Managing The Corporate Life (Part 1 of 4) – The Prison Break


I recently had a conversation with a friend of mine who mentioned that he was miserable in his current job and wanted desperately to get out. We chatted for a while about all of the reasons why he’d outgrown the role and about some probable next steps. During the conversation it was evident that at that time he was really cloudy on what those next steps should be. So you can imagine my utter surprise when the following week he called me and told me how excited he was about a new prospective job offer.

In fact he was so excited that he was feverishly working on his CV and wondered if I would mind taking a look over it before he sent it out to meet the deadline. I think my response jolted him and inspired me to write this post.

Although I had no problem helping him with his CV, I believed that we should be chatting about something much more critical. He needed to look at the reason why he was considering this new role in particular. I wanted him to walk through the next steps before he took them to be sure that he was not just making a ‘Prison Break’ from the old. Was he really making this decision based on his conviction of his life purpose and what he really wanted to be doing? Or was this his ticket out of the red hot frying pan into the proverbial wild forest fire?

It dawned on me as we were talking that so many times people are feeling stuck in a particular area of their careers,  they desperately need to make a shift but don’t spend the necessary time to wait and be internally critical as to why they are making that decision.

Are you a Prison Breaker?

This is where you’ve come to the end of your end in your job or career. Yes, this is the place of STUCK and need to get out pronto!  But before you tie the rope to the wrought iron bars, hit the jailor over the head and climb down to freedom at midnight, I’d like you to consider some of the cons peculiar to breaking out of prison.

  1. A prison break is usually planned over and over in your head but the secrecy causes much anxiety. When you’re anxious you cannot make critical decisions. So before you bust that joint from that job that get’s on your last nerve, make sure  you are leaving for the right reasons and have learned all of the lessons that you were supposed to. Otherwise guess what? Whatever you haven’t overcome  or learned in your current position will be there to haunt you in your new one.
  2. When a prisoner is planning on breaking out of prison, very few people know they’re planning to leave, so there’s minimal space for the voice of reason to kick in and let them see the good, bad and the ugly of breaking out. If you’re planning to leave your job make sure you have wise mentorship and council to help you make the right decisions and ask you the right questions.
  3. A prisoner dreams of clearing the barb wired fence to freedom but there’s no way of knowing if there’s a sharp cliff right after the fence beckoning their crash landing. When planning to escape the grind of your job, it’s important that you have some kind of plan of what you really want to do. If your’e starting a business it’s advisable to ensure you can make at least 25% of your past income before hacksawing the company gates to get out.
  4. When a prisoner breaks out of prison they have to lie low so that their location can never be discovered. Similarly, when you walk out on a job after years of undermining, lack of growth and frustration you don’t necessarily have all of the gusto to go out and change the world.

Some people have had the wind knocked out of them so severely that they leave their job and go into a new position feeling deflated, unaccomplished and depleted of their self esteem. In fact I’ve met so many people that have been crushed by the corporate grinder who by the time they actually decide to leave their job, can’t even remember why they exist, much less what they want to do next. This is not the best state of mind to go into a new position with. However, it can go 2 ways, if you’re lucky you may go to a new company and thrive under great leadership or you may encounter bad leadership and relive the cycle all over again. Unfortunately, the latter seems to play out far too often.

So the questions you need to be asking yourself if you’ve packed your bags and are ready to split the work joint are…

  1. Why do I want to leave?
  2. What do I want?
  3. What will I do differently if I take up another job?
  4. Does this position lead me closer to my purpose and what I really want to do in life?

The answers to these questions will help you define whether or not you’re making the right decisions from a place of awareness and intention. They’ll help you make conscious choices about where you want to take your career. And they’ll prevent you from experiencing the consequences of a corporate prison break.

I hope you’ll join me again for the next edition of this 4 part series on ‘Keys to Managing The Corporate Life’. Do leave me a comment if this post has been useful, if you’re experiencing or have experienced this situation in the past. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

4 thoughts on “Keys to Managing The Corporate Life (Part 1 of 4) – The Prison Break

  1. I am a prison breaker. I have worked in the legal industry for 17 years. Recently, I decided that the legal industry was no longer fulfilling for me so I am now transitioning into the medical/mental health industry. It is challenging and exciting for me at 45 years old.

    • Thanks so much for your comment. I can see how your law career was prison like for you. However, it doesn’t sound like you are a prison breaker. You sound like a person who’s made one of the most courageous and deliberate choices that so many people are so afraid to make, especially at 45. The post was really speaking to people who jump from job to job without taking the time to make the kind of life changing decision that you have. It is challenging at first because you are leaving all that’s familiar. When I left the corporate world to start my own business it was quite a scary place but you’re so right, it’s really exciting. This is a new chapter in you life and I’m so excited for you! I want to congratulate you on your decision and wish you all the very best. And thanks for dropping by.

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