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We asked, you responded – some comments about Esc’s present status and future direction.

A few weeks ago we asked you – Escape the City members – what you thought of us.

Specifically we asked you:

  1. What do you think we stand for?
  2. Who do you think we are for?
  3. What opportunities do you think we list?

We received over 200 responses – many of them many lines long and extremely thoughtful.

The first thing is to gratefully thank you for some excellent and honest feedback. I don’t think many businesses have a community of people prepared to invest time and energy in making it better.

I wanted to take a few moments in this blog post to address four themes related to your feedback and give you an idea of what we are planning and how we hope to be able to help you.

Theme 1 – Why Escape the City?

Our name has its roots in the environment that inspired this idea. “The City” is the financial and professional services hub of London. It is the belly of the corporate beast and was where we three were working (as two management consultants and one banker) when we came up with an idea for a website that helps people make big career transitions (and wow have some members made big career transitions!).

Escape the City is a metaphor for rejecting unfulfilling work and making the decision to build a working life based on things that you believe matter. Although this idea came from our corporate jobs, we are building the tools to help any professional make a career transition regardless of their current position, location or industry.

We are on a mission to help the world’s professionals make exciting career moves. Our goal is to help as many people as possible escape unfulfilling jobs and ‘do something different’ with their lives. We dream of a world where we can match peoples’ aspirations with genuine opportunities. It’s not about opting out, it’s about rejecting unfulfilling work and opting into the challenges we chose for ourselves.

Theme 2 – Why are you so UK focused?

Many of our roles are London and UK-based. As our base and main source of momentum is London, about half of the roles we post are in the UK and half are “Rest of World”. As we continue to grow we hope to be able to offer a much broader range of opportunities around the world – reflecting the diversity of our member base.

There are a few things worth mentioning on this front for the time-being. The first is related to the Top 10 in the newsletter. Going forwards we are going to separate our paid-to-promote listings from our pick of the week’s best opportunities. This will permit us to curate a list that has something of interest for everyone. We’ll pull listings we are paid to promote into a separate list of “sponsored listings”.

The second thing is that we send round a very simple email on a Wednesday called The Wednesday Digest. It is simply a list of all our opportunities divided into two columns – UK-based roles and International roles. Usually that list is 50-50 between the two columns. To subscribe to that newsletter just click here.

Theme 3 – What is an Escape opportunity?

There are many different definitions of what constitutes an “Escape the City opportunity”. Some of you are only interested in adventurous opportunities in Africa, whereas others want to use us to transition into a more fulfilling / entrepreneurial / meaningful job in the city where you live.

Some of you don’t want to use us to find a job at all – you want to escape to build a business or go on a big life-changing adventure. The definition of meaningful work is different for every single person you talk to. We are all so different (our experiences, our current jobs, our future aspirations). There is no one-escape-fits-all.

Many of our members do work in big corporates but many work in smaller organisations, charities and NGOs. Not everyone is on the career trajectory that we three have followed (big corporate to building a startup). We all have unique starting points and aspirations. The common thread is people who are looking to transition their skills and experiences into new areas – areas that will excite, inspire and fulfill them more than their current jobs.

We aim to list opportunities that are in some way different, remarkable or interesting. Although our idea was inspired by our corporate job frustrations, you will see the odd corporate-ish job opportunity on our site. One person’s idea of ‘just another job’ is another person’s idea of a really interesting career transition. We aim to list roles that have at least of these ingredients: Entrepreneurial Work, Positive Social Impact, Exciting Brand, Adventurous Challenge, Exotic Location.

Theme 4 – What are you building?

So what could this idea become when we have finished building it?

What we have discovered over four years of building Escape the City is that this idea has struck a chord far beyond the “young corporate professional in London” who we initially built it for. Escape the City members come from all experience levels, all industries, and all countries (literally, every single one!).

The thing that unites all these people is a shared determination to find fulfilling work. It goes without saying that sending the same list of job opportunities to 135,000 people every week isn’t the right way to help all of those people find what they’re looking for.

Our plan?

Escape Profiles (with identity control) that allow you to showcase your past, set your future, and filter incoming job notifications, opportunity matches and contact requests from organisations based on what you actually want to do. We want to match you with new opportunities that fit both your past experience and future aspirations.

Our pitch? Tell us what you’re looking for, we’ll help you find it – a personalised experience.

The recruitment market is inefficient. It either involves manually trawling job boards and applying to jobs with frustrating response rates or it involves dealing with recruitment agencies who are less interested in what you want to do than what you’ve done – and you can easily be limited by your past experience rather than opened up to genuinely new opportunities.

Our plan is to flip the recruitment model by empowering people to define what they’re looking for and then receive incoming matches or approaches based on what they actually want to do next.

So this is our vision – a global community of professionals united by a belief that work should be fulfilling, exciting, meaningful, entrepreneurial and impactful. A platform that empowers candidates by putting them in the shop window (anonymously if they need). And a service that allows employers to approach the right candidates with opportunities that fit the bill.

Have your next move find you.

[We love feedback. We’re building this platform and community for you, it will only be successful as long as it really works for you. Drop us an email to feedback@escapethecity.org to let us know how we could help you better. Thanks so much for your support.]

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If you want to receive new Escape the City blog posts directly into your inbox just click here. We write about leaving big corporates, pursuing exciting careers, building businesses, and going on big adventures. We are hard at work over on the main site building Escape Profiles that help people make big career changes and find jobs that matter to them.

Want to chat? Best place to reach us is @escthecity on Twitter and www.facebook.com/EscapetheCity on Facebook. Follow both accounts to hear about new job opportunities and inspirational / useful career change resources.

www.escapethecity.org - Do Something Different!