The joke about the rat race is that even if you win, you’re still just a rat (I didn’t say it was a funny joke.)
I did it. I was 37 years old. I had given 20 years of my life to corporate America as an engineer and manager. I did everything I was told to do growing up. Get good grades, get college degrees, find a safe and secure job, and that was how to succeed in life.
I climbed the ladder and was relatively successful, at least compared to my peers. Then one day everything I thought was right, wasn’t so right. I wasn’t free. I was in the rat race. The endless, pointless, self-defeating cycle expecting that one day I would find that “cheese” that doesn’t really exist.
So I escaped. It wasn’t easy and it didn’t happen overnight, but I did it. And it’s the best decision I ever made.
I’m not suggesting that corporate America is the worst thing in the world. I am suggesting that not understanding how it works and then betting the livelihood of you and your family on it can be the most risky thing in the world.
For those that are still underpaid, underappreciated, and stressed out, there is a way to escape into the new world. It’s going to take time, help, and a lot of mental toughness. The good news is if I can do it, so can you.
Get the wake up call
This is probably why you’re reading this. Maybe you lost money in a 401(k), lost another safe/secure job, the stress of the job starts affecting home life, or you were passed over for promotion, etc.
At some point, something is going to rattle your cage. You’ll catch a glimpse of how what you’re doing may not be working.
One one hand, the wake-up call may be big enough and important enough to give you the impetus to do something, anything to never have to go through that again. This is where you will find a way out.
If you chose to ignore these flags, you will likely become more and more numb to the next one, until you’re too disillusioned and hopeless to ever do anything about it.
The real question is, how many times does life have to hit you in the face before you wake up?
Realize that you can’t win
If you take the wake-up call seriously, it will cause you to look around and re-evaluate everything you think you know.
The safe and secure job will now be seen as neither safe nor secure – after all, not one single part of it is under your control.
The 401(k) that you believe will retire you will now be seen as an expensive savings plan that we never supposed to retire you – by design. At least, according to its founder Ted Benna and the principles of mathematics.
The loyalty you expect from your employer will now show you that the years you’ve spent sacrificing your family and hobbies for the job will go unrequited.
You must, necessarily, come to the realization that it’s a race you’re not going to win. There is no cheese. It’s not that you’re incapable of winning, it’s that you’re probably in the wrong vehicle. If fully understood, this will provide the motivation to take the next step.
Must commit to self-development
Once you’ve determined that you must get out, you must commit to outgrowing your position. Imagine you’ve been stuck in a cage (only slightly metaphorical here). One way to bust out is to keep growing beyond the cage.
Think of the cage as the set of old beliefs that you still follow. The old wives’ tales of how you’re not good enough, talented enough, or strong enough to make it on your own. That you’re just not cut out for success, or how success requires special talent that you weren’t born with.
This is the time to start seeing in 3-D. Elevate yourself above the maze and view things from the outside. Personal development is that key tool that helps you become the person worthy of success, which is step one in actually becoming successful in anything.
You wouldn’t pilot an airplane by yourself without first getting instruction and building competence, right? Well, don’t make that same mistake with your life.
Find your own cheese
Before you go quitting your job and jumping off the cliff, you may want to determine where you’re going first. Too many times people leave the nest with no idea where else they wish to be.
It’s not enough to escape. You must have a destination. Leaving corporate America without a plan is not an escape, it’s a delusional tether that will snap you right back into the cage.
We were told that we can either love what we do or make lots of money. What if you could do both? Imagine that instead of working a job you hate in order to make money to spend on things you love (hobbies, traveling, etc.), you can do what you love and make more money by doing that?
Here’s a question to ponder. What would you do if you were paid in happiness? If happiness were the national currency, as money is now abolished, how would you bring value to the world? This might offer a small clue into what you should consider.
Monetizing your passions isn’t as crazy as you think. The last thing you want to do is to replace one poor vehicle with another. There is a very solid process for doing just this that we’ll discuss another time.
Once there is a basic level of competence and a clear direction, it’s time to do it. This is often the scary part. Any time you feel this is too scary, remember how scary the alternative is.
Leaving the old habits and beliefs, the old job, and entering a new world where success is actually possible is very scary and unnerving. The only thing that should elicit more fear and trepidation is staying where you are.
What if you could take action while still keeping your job? This is not a jump-in-the-fire-only approach. Many people are successfully starting something part-time. You could even volunteer in the area you wish to pursue in order to build experience, competence, and expertise.
The process of leaving the rat race will not be all sunshine and rainbows. Then again, neither is staying in the endless, pointless, self-defeating cycle that you’re currently in. So it’s only a matter of what you will get in return.
The good news is that while the latter will lead to devastation and regret, the former will at least give you a chance to live the life you’ve only dreamt about. It takes courage, a solid plan, and the mental toughness to see it through, as described here.
- 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
We would love to hear your thoughts and opinions on this topic! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit our website at www.brokeisnojoke.org for more articles, videos, and tools you can use today to help survive and even escape the rat race.
You can even check out our free webinar at www.ratraceescape.org