I escaped private practice and beat over 200 people for this job…

…but I still find myself staring out of the taxi window on the way home every night and think “surely there is more to life?”

How is it that the brightest people end up in such soul destroying jobs, feeling completely burnt out and jaded at 29?


We received the response above to yesterday’s Escape the City survey. It’s a question I ask myself all the time – why do such bright people end up in such soul-destroying jobs?!

(And how, through Esc, can we help them out of there?)

5 important things to think about

Here are five areas you might want to explore if you’re interested in better understanding why we make the career choices we do.

1. Eric Berne: examine your script

“Everyone’s life follows a predetermined script – a script they compose for themselves during early childhood.

The script may be a sad one, it may be a successful one; it decides how a person will relate to his colleagues, what sort of person he will marry, how many children he will have, and even what sort of bed he will die in.

‘What Do You Say After You Say Hello?’ demonstrates how each life script gets written, how it works and, more important, how anyone can improvise or change his script to make a happy ending.”


Another way of looking at this is imagining you are 80 years old and writing your memoirs. What story do you want to have lived? If you can imagine it in reverse perhaps you can start living towards it…

(Extra: Check this out: A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: What I Learned While Editing My Life)

2. David Brooks: accept your desire for connection

“We have inherited an image of ourselves as Homo sapiens, as thinking individuals separated from the other animals because of our superior power of reason.

This is mankind as Rodin’s thinker—chin on fist, cogitating alone and deeply. In fact, we are separated from the other animals because we have phenomenal social skills that enable us to teach, learn, sympathize, emote, and build cultures, institutions, and the complex mental scaffolding of civilizations.”

“Who are we?

We are like spiritual Grand Central stations.

We are junctions where millions of sensations, emotions, and signals interpenetrate every second. We are communications centers, and through some process we are not close to understanding, we have the ability to partially govern this traffic—to shift attention from one thing to another, to choose and commit.

We become fully ourselves only through the ever-richening interplay of our networks. We seek, more than anything else, to establish deeper and more complete connections.”


Are you exposing yourself to connections that make you tick? Not in a social climbing way but from the perspective of engaging with the ideas, people and challenges that really turn you on. If you’re not, perhaps it’s time to re-evaluate the environment where you spend your working life.

3. Steve Pavlina: understand that income is the goal

…a job is just one means to achieving that.

“Why is getting a job so dumb?

Because you only get paid when you’re working.  Don’t you see a problem with that, or have you been so thoroughly brainwashed into thinking it’s reasonable and intelligent to only earn income when you’re working?

Have you never considered that it might be better to be paid even when you’re not working?

Who taught you that you could only earn income while working?  Some other brainwashed employee perhaps?”


[DEFINITELY also check out Seth Godin’s Brainwashed PDF.]

4. Daniel Pink: explore what motivates you

We’re driven by three main forces:

  1. Autonomy – the desire to direct our own lives.
  2. Mastery— the urge to get better and better at something that matters.
  3. Purpose — the yearning to do what we do in the service of something larger than ourselves.


Is it any wonder you’re unfulfilled if your current job doesn’t allow you any of these three crucial ingredients?

5. Maslow: understand the Hierarchy of needs


Thanks to Claudine for suggesting this topic to us on Twitter:

If there’s something you’d like us to blog about, just email adele @ escapethecity.org

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