Corporate America: The ultimate pyramid scheme and how to turn the tables in your favor.

Written by on July 23, 2019

You build it and they profit.  You rent it and they own it. You give your life and they live the life.  Is this what you signed up for?


It’s unnatural.  All of it. The corporate America experience we call the rat race is really a maze in which there is no solution and no cheese at the end.  


Get up, sit in traffic, sit in our cubicle, eat something, sit in our cubicle some more, go home, complain about our day, and then do it all over again.  And we dare to wonder why we’re so stressed out, underpaid, and underappreciated.  


Before we get all up-in-arms about that Nigerian Prince that wants to wire us money, let’s take a look at the more deadly scheme happening much closer to home.  We’re not just talking about losing our life savings, rather saving our life.


Here are the three ways corporate America is akin to a pyramid scheme and what you can do about it.

You do the hardest work AND have little to nothing to show for it.

If you’re not already in a C-suite – in which case you’re laughing your ass off because you know this is all true – then you’re probably working really hard to build someone else’s company.  It might be for a private owner like George Jenkins of Publix or it could be for the millions of shareholders that own Monsanto.  


What’s important is that your labor is not building your future.  Just like the pyramids of Egypt, only the Pharaohs and their upper echelon were allowed inside upon completion.  


Sure, you get some income.  After all, even throughout history, slaves got shelter and food.  It just makes economic sense. Dead people can’t build palaces.  


But is the purpose of life just to survive and make it to the end?  Can there not be something more?


Those higher in the chain are able to do less AND get paid more.

I would never begrudge anyone their due compensation.  It is worth questioning, though, how that the higher up the pyramid we go, the less actual labor we do and the more money we make.


This does not mean executives do no work, it’s just that the work changes from manual to mental, tactical to strategic.  It’s akin to the difference between the folks rowing the boat and the captain that steers it.  


So what’s the issue?  The amount of compensation can get quite disproportionate to the amount of work involved.  According to the Economic Policy Institute, the average CEO makes 271 times more than the average worker.  


Naturally, the only way for the higher-ups to get paid more than they’re worth is to pay the builders at the bottom less than they’re worth.  This is third-grade math


Your opportunity to reach the top gets more narrow the higher you go.

It’s called a pyramid for a reason.  This the tried and true structure of corporate America is one where the bottom is wide and crowded and the top is narrow and lonely.  


The baloney you were sold was that if you work hard, you can make it to the top.  Well, that crap meat has long expired. Work ethic means far less than you think.  


The advent of the salary – a word derived from the word salt – has helped us disconnect compensation from work ethic.  Simply put, the harder you work, the same you make. This is one of the finest examples of the unnaturalness of corporate America.  


When you consider that you and a few hundred or thousand other people are clamoring for the top, it’s no wonder we can’t seem to reach the next level.  Just like crabs in the bucket, we pull each other down rather than trying to lift each other up.  


The Escape

So what can we do?  First, realize you weren’t supposed to win. It was a ruse and you took the hook.  Do your pity party, get in a good cry, and then follow these steps:


  1. Change your mindset.  You are now an apprentice, not an employee.  You are in a temporary position (whether you like it or not) and the only purpose is to learn a trade or a skill.  You are planning your escape every day.


  1. Determine your purpose in life.  What would you do if you got paid in happiness?  How could you bring your passion and skills to the world AND monetize them?  What would get you up in the morning without an alarm clock?


  1. Start something on the side.  You don’t have to be great in order to start, but you do have to start in order to be great.  Do it for free in the beginning, but get experience, feedback, and competent mentors around you.  Just do it.


  1. Set a freedom date.  When would you like to fire your boss?  From this date, work backwards and create the plan.  Remember, it won’t be easy, but then again, neither is slaving away like you are.  However, it will be worth it.


The good news is that there is an escape hatch.  Look, if you’re happy as a crab, I mean, clam, in your corporate America role, then God Bless and keep trucking.  I hope it happens to work out. If not, other than hope for the best, what are you going to do about it?


  • Do you agree with us about corporate America?

  • Did any of these things surprise you?
  • Do you have a story you’d like to share about an experience you or a friend have had with any of these things in corporate America?



One of the stated missions of Broke Is No Joke is to help people escape the rat race and monetize their passions on their way to becoming the best version of themselves


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Visit our website at for more articles, videos, and tools you can use today to help survive and even escape the rat race.

Corporate America: The Ultimate Pyramid scheme and how to Turn the Tables in Your Favor

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