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The Escape Manifesto – Discussion #3: Why is it so hard to keep the ‘I’ll do this for 5 years’ promise?

A while ago we were approached by a lovely chap called Iain at a publishing house called Capstone. He asked us whether we would be interested in writing a book.

Write a book?! Our initial response was that we were still just starting out with Escape the City. We were hardly in a position to write a ‘how we did it’ book (à la Innocent or Zappos).

“No,” responded Iain, “I’d like to help you write something about the beliefs behind Esc – your position on careers, work and the corporate world.”

And thus the Escape Manifesto was born – our chance to have a good old-fashioned constructive rant about ‘doing something different’ – in book format!

Read on to hear our plans and for your chance to get involved.

Crowdwriting the book

Even more exciting than the opportunity to put 50,000 odd words down in print was the chance to include Escape the City members in the process.

So, a couple of months ago, we announced the project on a single Monday newsletter and invited people to help us write the book. The result? An incredible 252 people said they’d be keen to help us with the writing.

The small matter of crowd-funding £600,000 from our members over the past 3 months meant that we had to beg an extension from Iain (kindly given!). We are now on deadline for October 15th (Rob’s birthday) and we would love your help.

The book’s objectives

We want this to be the book that we had read when we were planning our own corporate escapes. It is part story, part call to action, part how-to guide…

Key ingredients:

  • Why – Why you should step off the corporate treadmill and do something different with your career.
  • Advice – How to make the transition based on what we learned from quitting our corporate jobs to start Esc.
  • Inspiration – A call to action for anyone considering making the big leap away from the corporate world.

In the comments of these blog posts please help us…

  • … explore some of the core concepts of the book
  • … flesh out the ideas with case studies and quotes
  • … understand your own career experiences

Each week we’ll post a new discussion on this blog and email the 252 manifesto volunteers to let them (you) know. Anyone is welcome to get involved though. Right, after that lengthy preamble… here is this week’s discussion point:

Why is it so easy to get stuck?

So many of us tell ourselves: “I’ll do this corporate job for 5 years and then I’ll go and do something more interesting / exciting / entrepreneurial / adventurous / meaningful* (*insert ideal career ingredient here*).

Why don’t we make good our escapes?

We play it safe to start – It often makes sense to spend some time working in big corporates – you gain valuable experience, probably earn a good salary, and get some sensible company names on your CV.

Lack of viable alternatives – Often people complain about not having ‘that start-up idea’ or not really knowing what their passion is… the result is that they’d rather not make a move until they’ve figured it out.

Too many alternatives – An interesting idea (that was addressed in this Huffington Post article) is that through travel, technology and progress there are actually so many options open to us today that we feel paralysed.

The money question – The sad truth is that it is very easy to get very used to a corporate salary. Your expenses tend to rise with your income – negating any options for escape, transition, taking risks, or trying something new.

“Responsibilities” – The other  factor is that it is much easier to change careers, start a business, or go adventuring when you don’t have a wife / husband / mortgage / kids / pet* (*insert ‘weight responsibility’ here).

Fear of starting again – It’s crazy how often people only 3, 4, 5 (or even +10) years into their careers decide that it’s too late to make a change. They feel they’re destined to be Accountants / Fund Managers / Analysts forever.

Some of are genuinely powerful reasons for people reneging on the “I’ll do this for a few years” promise that so many of us make with ourselves. If it were easy there wouldn’t be so many people feeling stuck…

What else keeps people in jobs that aren’t right for them? Please let us know what you think in the comments…

What can be done about it?

  • Save – Money gives you options. Simple as that. If you can afford to live for 12 months without a salary you can start a business, go back to school to learn new skills, or go on a big adventure.
  • Develop new skills on the side – The best way to combat the feeling of being a one-trick pony and of already being committed to your current sector / job title is to learn new stuff in and around your job.
  • Network – The best jobs aren’t on job boards. The best opportunities are made via peoples’ pre-existing networks. When you apply for a job on a job board you’re competing against 100s of others. Search differently.
  • Have limits – At work make sure to say no where possible. So many people get worked so hard by their corporate overlords that they barely have time to relax during their weeks, let alone plan an escape.
  • Take the charity days! – Dom used to say this to Rob. What he meant was: “we have 25 days holiday a year, you can ‘buy’ an extra 6, and you get 2 charity volunteering days” – take the charity days!
  • Realise how quickly time is going – Just the other day we were all fresh-faced graduates with ideals, naivety and dreams. We’re already getting grey hairs. Time is going really fast. Nuff said.
  • Accept certain things as myths 1 – There is no such thing as a world-beating Post-It style business idea. Most start-ups are derivative. You’re probably not going to build the next Facebook. Start a sensible business.
  • Accept certain things as myths 2 - There is no such thing as a Damascene ‘I’ve just realised what my passion is’ moment – and even if there was, you probably can’t build a career around it. Just do stuff you enjoy.
  • Do many things that interest you – Instead of casting around for ‘that one thing’ that will save you from the corporate grind, you should explore many different avenues and pursue those that interest you.
  • Reassess how we feel about failure / status – Many of us stay in ‘good’ jobs that we hate because of our peers, family and social expectation. Surely that’s a rubbish reason for being miserable? Make your choices your own.

What other advice or tactics could people employ to make sure they don’t get stuck in their job for years on end? Please let us know what you think in the comments…

Thanks so much for helping us write the Escape Manifesto – watch this space for the next discussion point.

[To get new discussions and blog posts directly into your inbox you can subscribe to our blog by clicking here.]

  • http://www.thorstenstrauss.com thorsten strauss

    Hello ,

    I believe in the threshold theory. That says rapid changes happen after a certain threshold and things are not 100% proportional in life.

    For example, we, humans, do not behave in a linear way (although many companies which we would: aka trigger -> response), we do not learn in linear fashions (double the hours of math class is not double the understanding), we do not develop in linear ways, we to not remember things in linear ways and so we also do not decide in linear ways.

    Therefore I absolutely agree with what is said above in terms of what can be done. Save money, explore your idea, only in exchange with other do we really grow etc… The key ingredients are time, exposure and money.

    Once you reach a threshold of money you start feeling safe. This is totally dependent on your footprint (hence it would be smart to reduce it as much as possible – a whole other chapter …) and your psychological ability to live with uncertainty (depends on culture and individual).

    The next threshold is exposure and that is what many undervalue. Get out there. Start interacting with people, groups, off line and online. Emerge yourself in the subject but remain level-headed and see the bigger picture and constantly challenge yourself if what you are doing has some 1) insight or 2) network or 3) financial benefit. Otherwise you are wasting time.

    That brings me to time. As you correctly stated in your myths, insights happen not out of the blue. But they can happen spontaneously after you spend hours, days, weeks, on a subject (science has proven that a good night’s sleep often leads to breakthroughs which has something to do with our subconscious continuing working problems out – “Got to bed with a problem, wake up with the solution in mind” by Thorsten Strauss). So expect to put a lot of time in. Maybe not the 10,000 hours to excellence but a significant amount before you make the connections between what you have learned and before you see how unrelated issues can be bridged, hence a new solution is born – that is really what innovation is about.

    Reduce your risk by reducing your spending and start saving, start exposing ourself to new ideas, new groups, new knowledge and expect to have to put some time in until you have a breakthrough moment. And breakthrough is not world changing, it could be as minor as opening another store just to better serve an unfulfilled segment (often the basis for tourism businesses).

    Good Luck with your Book!
    Thorsten Strauss

    • Team Esc

      Hi Thorsten,

      Thanks so much for kicking off the discussion with such a great contribution. You’re absolutely right that changes and decisions don’t happen in a linear fashion. We found that we took on as much information as we could before making the big leap… but once we had decided to resign things went really quickly. I suppose that’s relatively straightforward isn’t it…? You give yourself lots of time to assess a decision and gather inputs… and then you decide and act.

      I like the Time, Money, and Exposure ingredients as well.

      Awesome thoughts.

      Thanks,

      Rob

  • http://www.freshairbtn.co.uk/ Karen Macmillan

    On why people get stuck: a missing element

    Other people!

    (1) Lack of realistic role models in their immediate circle – ie people who have actually unstuck themselves and understand what you are feeling. This links to the overwhelm of inspirational stories about people who seem, for some reason, to be cleverer, richer, braver etc than us.
    (2) Family, friends and colleagues who only know the regular way so are unable to be supportive of your change. They don’t understand and may have a vested interest in keeping you in their comfort zone. Or simply are afraid for you.

    What can be done about it:

    Again:

    Other people!

    Hang out with/get to know people outside what you know. Shadow, be curious and friendly. Spend more time with your encouraging, supportive friends.
    and gently reduce the time you spend with people who reinforce your own doubts (the good ones will come round).

    Be a beginner and get used to not knowing/uncertainty

    Explore, learn, be curious. Spend more time doing than thinking/analysing. Enjoy the journey

    • Team Esc

      Hey Karen,

      Thanks for getting involved. That’s really interesting and I think you’re right. On the one hand, the presence of “other people” in your life can lessen your ability to make big changes and, on the other hand, the lack of certain key other “other people” can mean that you don’t have the guidance, advice or support to make the leap.

      I like!

      Thanks again – Rob

      • http://londoniknow.wordpress.com Lola

        this is actually a great point! the question is where do you find these inspirational people? where do you meet them and how do you engage them into a conversation with you (i mean won’t they be bored? :) ) this is where i get stuck personally.

        • Adele

          Escape events! :) We’ve got loads more coming up over summer – we’re going to make them more regular, more niche, and more filtered so that you can meet like-minded people… watch this space.

        • Team Esc

          Hi Lola…

          Go to as many events as you can.
          http://www.meetup.com/
          http://generalassemb.ly/education/?where=london

          Follow people you are interested in on Twitter and read their blogs. Do you have an RSS feed? http://www.google.co.uk/reader/view/?tab=my

          Approach people directly and ask for advice and/or help. It’s amazing how generous some people are with their time if you ask them in the right way.

          Good luck!

          Rob

          • Lola

            Thanks guys, signed up for my first Esc meetup already! :)

  • http://www.boxerwatches.com Mustafa Khalifa

    3 words: friends and family.

    Those who love and care about you the most. Those are the people who are most likely to be holding you back.

    It’s not their fault as they just want what’s best for you and are trying to protect you. But eventually, you’ll have to do something dramatic to turn off the sound of the nay-sayers. To stop caring so much about what other people think of you or say about you.

    Leave Facebook. Or the country. Or both. You’ll be able to hear yourself much better then.

    • Team Esc

      Nice Mustafa – you should be a writer!

      Your comment reminds me of my Dad asking me whether we were trying to start a religion with Escape the City. It took a piece of Financial Times coverage for him to see the business potential behind the idea!

      We spend so much of our lives when growing up listening to people close to us and people who have lived longer than us. You’re right, if you are dead set on doing something sometimes you just have to ignore people even if they have your best interests at heart.

      Cheers,
      Rob

      PS. Great work with the hero profile recently… thanks so much for sharing your story with us [http://escapethecity.org/heroes/745-mustafa-khalifa] – Good luck with Boxer Watches too.

    • http://oysterforbreakfast.com Adam

      I totally agree with “leave the country” – suddenly you’ll have the chance to be whoever you want to be (not who you think other people think you should be). So liberating!!

      • http://www.inspiringadventures.co.uk Richard

        I’m also all for leaving the country. I think my experiences travelling and living abroad, and having time, have really helped me think about what I believe to be important.

  • AC

    Thank you so much for writing this. I am feeling stuck, trying to figure out how to get unstuck :) Your ideas on how to address this really resonated with me, particular the ones about getting new skills on the side and networking.

    I think many of us think that you have to make the leap in one fell swoop, when I’m learning that you can plant seeds along the way to make the transition “out” less stressful and more likely to last.

    • Team Esc

      No worries at all. If you liked this hopefully you’ll really like the book!

      You’re absolutely right that it needn’t all happen at once. See escaping your current situation as a gradual process (and enjoy the process!). We found that reading countless books about start-ups and speaking to people who had already started businesses prepared us really well for the transition. And then you can make the big leap when you’re in a strong position to do so. Can’t stress the importance of having an escape fund saved up as well.

      Have a great weekend!

      Rob

      • http://londoniknow.wordpress.com Lola

        what i liked about the How To above is the note on life work balance. it seems that so many people can not escape because they just don’t have time and/or are too exhausted. i seriously did consider following the advice of one mom’s blog at some point (system is called FlyLady) and using egg timer to time each task (no more than 15min for each), to maintain focus and eliminate distractions! hence advice to start carving out 5min there and 5min here and devote them to hobbies/ things you like is spot on, i believe!

    • Adele

      AC – a great book that I often recommend to members is this one: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Getting-Unstuck-Guide-Discovering-Career/dp/1422132323/ref=tmm_pap_title_0 — it helped me a lot when I dropped out of law school. It’s also in our Esc Library, so if you’re coming to an event, just let me know and I can bring it for you to borrow.

  • http://oysterforbreakfast.com Adam

    My philosophy is that we are too risk-averse… well in fact that we are averse to a perceived risk, which doesn’t actually exist. I made my “escape” last year, let me share my thought process with you.

    For the last two years I was in my job (I used to work in IT at an investment bank) I wasn’t happy. Up to that stage I had been carried along by the “prestige” of working for an IB, but as the financial crisis kicked in I started to find the work more stressful and, ultimately unfulfilling. I had many thoughts going round in my head for those two years about what I should do and why I couldn’t/shouldn’t do it – the strongest were “what will my parents/family/friends think?” and “am I giving up the chance to advance in a great career?”.

    After perhaps a year and a half of these thoughts, something changed. I’m not sure what triggered it, but I started to look at the risk of not quitting my job and following my dream. The risk was that I would regret it in a few years… and with this realisation I made up my mind. Once I had made it up, I had a few moments of panic before I actually handed in my resignation, but in January of 2011 I did it. On March 17th I jumped on a flight to Sao Paulo with a backpack in the hold and a one-way ticket in my hand. And not for one second in the past 16 months have I regretted that decision nor missed my desk in London. It was the best decision of my life!

    Since then I’ve been travelling, I’ve lived in Colombia, then I travelled again and now I’m setting up home in Mexico. I still don’t really know what I want to do with my life, but I don’t think it’s important to know. Just go with whatever feels right at the time and stay confident that things will work out. And try re-framing the risks you perceive in following your heart – for example, what are the risks of NOT doing so?

    • Adele

      Too true! One of our favourite quotes: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.”

      I don’t think ‘knowing’ the answer is even possible when you don’t know what’s out there – personally I think it’s so important just to explore and to keep making time to meet like-minded people – often that’s where the best opportunities and projects end up coming from.

    • Team Esc

      Hi Adam – thanks for such a great comment.

      I think you’re spot on regarding risk. The past few years in financial services have shown that corporate job security is often an illusion. Credit Crunch / Lehmans…

      And yet it is so easy to decide that big career transitions are too risky… when (as you say) sometimes the risks of not making a decision are actually way greater. I.e. wasting your life / waking up one day and realising you missed your chances!

      We need to reframe the way we assess risk. It’s hard. Being ‘out there’ away from the duvet of the corporate world is damn scary. Accountability, responsibility, and relying directly on yourself for your income. Scary but worth it.

      Fancy sharing your recent experiences with the Escape community? We’d love to feature you. If so, just drop adele@escapethecity.org an email.

      Cheers,
      Rob

  • http://londoniknow.wordpress.com Lola

    i’ll post before i read other comments, so apologies if i repeat anyone. it’s true- getting stuck is so easy. suddenly i look back and i’ve been in finance for 8 years. why? parents’ expectations, salary hook, mortgage, partner who decided to change his career and i had to support him for some time, kids- it’s all there, but they are all excuses, let’s be honest. if anything, i believe it’s easier for married people to make a leap- they have support network, savings and lots of time (no need to date, cooked meals, etc etc :) part of the reason for being stuck for me though is not any of the above, it’s lack of knowledge of where else my skills could be applicable, as well as not knowing how to approach networking in the areas of interest (how do you network outside of your industry in other words). advice in these areas could help many escape i believe, it’s just not knowing how to go about it which keeps us stuck.

    • Adele

      Hi Lola – interesting about it being easier for married people to make a leap…! ;) Have you seen our e-book? http://www.startsomethingyoulove.com/ — wondering if it might have some useful tips for you for the stage you’re at, at the moment.

      • Lola

        Will check it out, thanks!

  • Claire

    I think people forget what happiness is like.

    It is so easy to coast along in what one of your commenters cleverly described as a “velvet rut.” You have all the accessories you are ‘told’ will make you happy and that you should aspire to – flat in the right postcode, skiing in the winter, idyllic villa in summer, clothes from the expensive shops, eating at the right restaurants etc. We think this is happiness. For many of us is isn’t. Its a form of claustrophobia.

    It can take a Road to Damascus realisation of true happiness before you see that you have been waltzing along with a poor imitation. You need to reach that moment, which isn’t the same as ‘hitting the bottom’, before you see the light.

    I’m not there yet, I’ve made the break but haven’t found my niche, however I remember very clearly a moment of walking down a dusty street in a largely forgotten part of the world and feeling this great upswell of golden happiness. I was on leave from my corporate job in sterile Singapore. I decided something had to change.

    • Team Esc

      Hi Claire – great comment.

      You’re absolutely right. It’s so easy to completely forget what happiness is. I remember being so clear on it when I was a student… a few years into the corporate world and I really had to remind myself what my core values were and what really makes me feel alive. I’ve had similar upswells of happiness and feelings of alignment and they’re never in a cubicle, in a suit, or in any of the situations that you outline above (buying stuff, consuming stuff, being in the right places, etc). Would love to use some of this in the book… thanks for the ideas.

      Rob

  • Adele

    Hi Claire – great point – there’s a great Kerouac quote – “I saw that my life was a vast glowing empty page and I could do anything I wanted.” We CAN do anything we want, but like you said, sometimes it takes some kind of trigger before we realise the magnitude of our own freedom. We’ve actually got a blog post from someone in Singapore coming up in the next few weeks – will look forward to hearing your comments on it…

  • http://www.littleleafguesthouse.co.uk Lee Strickland

    This is an interesting discussion and I’m not sure there is a definitive list of why people don’t make the break, and then a checklist of things that mean we definitely will, because everyone is so different.

    Personally I’ve found that we’re very used to our egos making the choices for us. Our egos tell us that in order to ‘be’ someone in the world we have to be in the right job, earn the right salary and live in the right area.

    Egos are a good thing, the ego is usually the part of us that got us into university and through that MBA when we thought we’d never go back to studying again; however when you’ve been in that world for so long, surrounded by other people whose egos are making their decisions, it’s very difficult to break out and realise that what we do and where we live are just material things and they never will be WHO we are.

    Walking away from all that is a leap of faith and there’s still a part of me that now I run a guest house wants to tell guests that I didn’t always cook breakfasts and make beds, that I used to be ‘important’. I have to laugh at that part of me now, the part that thought and cared about what other people thought and cared about me.

    We get stuck in thinking that if we walk away from careers certain options will be lost to us and I guess that kind of corporate culture has been developed over centuries.

    The reality is that when we’re in one place we can only see one horizon, we have to take a step in one direction – any direction – to see a different horizon and a different set of options. I certainly don’t think that I’ll be running a guest house for the rest of my life but the reality of this escape is that now I can see all sorts of opportunities that I couldn’t see out of my office window in Soho.

    Once you’ve done it you realise how easy it is and you’re (certainly I am) much more likely to do it again. Watch this space ;-)

    • Team Esc

      Hi Lee – great to see you back on the Escape blog! Hope it’s going really well down there for you guys?!

      That’s really interesting that you sometimes feel the urge to give people the back story (and honest of you to say so). You’re spot on about the ego driving many of these decisions.

      None of us want to be seen as failures or not fulfilling our potential. But ultimately we have to judge ourselves by our own standards and values rather than external ones. So hard!

      Why do you think we have such issues with failure in the UK? We’re all terrified of it (at least I know I am)!

      Reminds me of this one-liner from Gaping Void: “The best way to get approval is not to need it.” http://gapingvoid.com/2004/10/19/the-best-way-to-get-approval-is-not-to-need-it/

      Cheers,
      Rob

      • http://www.littleleafguesthouse.co.uk Lee Strickland

        Hey Rob

        All good here… enjoying the British Summer (NOT!). :-)

        I don’t know if it’s just in the UK we’ve issues with ‘failure’… I believe it’s probably most western societies where the emphasis (to external peers) is placed upon what you have and what you do. Changing someone’s job title can someone keep them in a job for another 2 years even without a pay rise or real promotion. People like to be recognised and in order to be recognised for what you’ve achieved there need to be recognisable benchmarks.

        Even if you go off and do your own thing people will ask you about turnover (it’s amazing how many people will ask us if we make a profit when you wouldn’t dare dream of asking someone how much they earned) or how ‘satisfied’ you are. People WILL compare their life with yours to see whose measures up better and it takes a confident person to let that go in pursuit of ideals and values.

        Do you know what… and it’s awful to admit this… it takes a lot to go off and do your own thing. Not only do you need the desire and the drive (which some people just don’t have) you also need to carry on in the face of adversity, to believe in what you’re doing so much that it doesn’t matter how many times you get knocked down you just get up and keep going.

        This is why Esc offers such a great ‘halfway house’ for a lot of people. They get to move out of the corporate world and go and work for other people who have values / morals and are doing ‘good’ work BUT they don’t have to start their own company or support themselves financially. The difficulty with moving jobs from the corporate world into something more worthwhile (and this comes full circle) is that you then limit yourself financially so going off and setting up something on your own, for most people, actually gets further away.

        Not sure if I’ve gone off on a tangent here…

        Lee

  • http://www.businessbecause.com Kate

    Money must be the biggie. Particularly for anyone in the city. Working for ‘just five years’ in anything is a long time and if these five years are in your formative twenties then the job and the associated pay cheque will start to define you.

    I worked for nearly two years in an investment bank (2007 – 2009) but only one bonus cycle. I intentionally quit before my 2nd bonus was announced, otherwise I would have been locked-in until pay date and potentially locked-in indefinitely waiting for ‘just one more bonus’.

    I left to set-up my own business and have earned peanuts compared to banking, but I’m glad I escaped the city before my life was on an irreversible track of black cabs, blow dries and Birkin handbags.

    • Team Esc

      Hi Kate – well done for getting out before you fell deeper into the money trap! I’d also say that the money is an opportunity if you can save it and resist the urge to keep earning more.

      Obviously there’s nothing wrong with earning lots of money. It’s just that ideally it comes with fulfilling work. And all too often people have the first without the second and before they know it they’re stuck.

      The crazy thing is you’re not actually stuck… you just feel stuck because of the social / personal pressures mentioned above – as well as the natural unwillingness for your income to drop.

      Presumably you’re much happier now even though you’re earning less?

      Congrats on your own escape and start-up. Would you be up for sharing your story with us on Escape? Just ping adele@escapethecity.org an email if so.

      All the best,
      Rob

  • http://www.pyrenees-mountains.com Sian Grigg

    Hi all,

    My Mum (thanks Mum!) passed on what I think is a great formula for figuring out if you can make a change. Change takes three things: Vision, Plan, and Dissatisfaction. Give yourself a mark out of 10 for each of these things, and then multiply them to give yourself a mark out of 1000. If you have a great vision, and a good detailed plan of how to make it happen, but are not actually annoyed enough with your present situation then you might only gain a mark of 100-200/1000 which indicates you are unlikely to make the change happen. I like this because it reflects my experience of making any changes: you have to be dissatisfied enough with the status quo to really kick things off.

    We moved from Sydney (Aus) to the Pyrenees (France) where my husband is from and I remember the defining moments of the decision – I hated the traffic once I had children and couldn’t avoid peak hour, I disliked the social positioning associated with corporate/city life, I couldn’t see how we could manage a family life in any sane way while both working.

    Good luck with the book.

    Sian

    • Team Esc

      Hi Sian.

      Thanks for a great comment (and thanks to your Mum!). I really like the Dissatisfaction angle. We’ve got a section in the book draft called ‘Beware Comfortable Cruising’ – and in it we’d like to explore the idea of being somewhere between satisfied and dissatisfied. Our theory is that many of us spend a lot of time in that middle zone.

      Another phenomenon which a surprising amount of our interviewees have shared with us is the fact that often it takes a personal tragedy or near-tragedy to shock people out of their apathy and decide that they need to make big changes in their lives. Perhaps that’s because it’s easy for dissatisfaction to be dormant for a long time? You know something isn’t right but you tell yourself… it’ll get better, this is a good job, I’m being ungrateful, I have no good alternatives currently, etc.

      Thanks for the good luck!
      Rob

  • Tom

    Great article and even cooler idea – here are some of my thoughts!

    1) Guilt
    Every day here in Australia we hear about job cuts both locally and abroad. Youth unemployment has topped 50% in Spain and Greece. I’ve been fortunate enough to secure a comfortable job and advance quite quickly. I’m sure many others have experienced this feeling of shame – that we are being ungrateful. We are lucky enough to have a job at a time when so many others are struggling and comprimising to make ends meet, yet we are still restless.

    2) Location
    I think that this is linked to the abundance of opportunities mentioned above. Browsing ESC it’s easy to be inspired by the plethora of cool start-up roles or interesting social opportunities – though the reality is most of these are based in London and New York. As highlighted above, these opportunities generate hundreds and thousands of responses, and are extremely competitive. Often, it is easier to find a role through networking. It is hard to do this from the other side of the world.

    I think the reality for many of us is having to take the plunge and move overseas and hope that the timing is right to secure an ESC-type role. This relocation risk is expensive and daunting, which probably keeps a lot of us in our corporate jobs.

    I think this could be one of the interesting challenges for ESC going forward. This is a global community – yet still many of the roles rely on networking. How can we facilitate this online? How can democratise the process so that the role goes to the most qualified candidate irrespective of current location?

    Sorry for heading off on a tangent! Thanks again for providing the inspiration for all of us out there still in the corporate world!

    • Team Esc

      Thanks for your thoughts Tom. You raise an interesting thought about guilt / shame. And the pressure to keep your head down and feeling grateful to have a job (any job!).

      In terms of location – hopefully you’ll be pleased to hear that we are designing the new site (currently under construction) to be far more relevant for people no matter what their location.

      Watch this space and thanks for the feedback!
      Cheers,
      Rob