Greg de la Cruz works at NCR Corp's R&D center in the Philippines. He is interested in economic history and current world financial affairs.
Should You Reset Your Life by Quitting Your Corporate Job?
A corporate job is often cozy. You get a regular working schedule, decent pay, comprehensive healthcare benefits, good bonuses, and a career path lined up for you. While in college, it’s often someone’s dream to land a position at some big-name company and be set for life. If the guaranteed stream of income doesn’t make you feel good about your corporate job, then the prestige of working for a well-known brand will.
Despite all the great things that working a corporate job brings to one’s life, people still find a reason to leave. Whatever the reason might be for you, if you’re one of those still planning on switching jobs, you might find these seven reasons to stop wasting your time at a corporate job useful.
7 Reasons Why You Should Quit Your Corporate Job
- Time Is Your Most Valuable Resource
- It Might Be Taking a Heavy Toll on Your Body
- You Could Be Making an Impact Where It Truly Matters to You
- You're More Easily Replaceable Than You Think
- You Might Be Spending Too Much Money on Needless Things
- You Might Be Eroding Important Skills at the Cost of Moving up the Ladder
- Your Job Could Be Changing You (For the Worse)
1. Time Is Your Most Valuable Resource
In an eye-opening TED Talk given by Lacey Filipich in 2018, she talked about how time was a person's most valuable resource. Like many who had very early success at a corporate job but gave it all up to pursue independence, Lacey was on the fast track to becoming a VP at a prominent mining company in her mid-20s.
She didn't take a single day off for more than a year because she felt that, given her position and the stakes involved, she couldn't be away from work for even a single day. Then, one day she got sick, and her illness kept her sidelined for a month. Long story short, that event in her life prompted her to take a course correction and advocate about "mini-retirements"—chunks in between one's career (typically a few months of breaks every few years) where a worker does not attend to work but pursues life instead.
If you're working a corporate job and have been comfortable (or miserable) for some time now, maybe you should take time to re-evaluate what you want for your so-called "career." Is it one where you continuously go about your work, move as high up the ladder as you can, and hopefully one day retire in your 60s? Or is it one where you're continuously being challenged, deliberately planning out your days, taking a few months to travel, and by age 60, you look back at your life with few regrets?
2. It Might Be Taking a Heavy Toll on Your Body
Another lesson from Lacey Filipich’s 2018 TED Talk was that your body feels the effects of a prolonged unhealthy lifestyle, and it will surprise you one day after you haven’t paid attention to it for a while. There are workstyles that promote a healthier lifestyle, but working a corporate job often entails working behind a cubicle for several aggregate hours, interrupted only by meetings in conference rooms and the few breaks within the day.
Sitting in front of a laptop for several hours, carried over for several years—not to mention the work stress and pressures that accompany the job—can be very unhealthy, especially when there’s minimal physical activity or rest outside of work.
3. You Could Be Making an Impact Where It Truly Matters to You
When you are working a corporate job, you are trying to fit into a role that existed before you did. That means that there is a pre-existing mold that you are trying to fit your skillset and experience into, and you may find out later on that you’re not that great of a fit for the job.
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Or worse, you could end up hating your job and regretting that you took it on in the first place. The underlying reason for perhaps all of the reasons you would never truly ‘fit’ into the corporate job that you took on is that it is a job where you ultimately are not making an impact on what matters to you.
Well-known people have left cozy corporate jobs in favor of pursuing their true passion. Jeff Bezos left a secure Wall Street job to start a book delivery company, one which eventually became the largest employer in the world after over two decades. You could be working a comfortable job with a steady paycheck and outstanding benefits but be filling in a role where the output doesn’t create meaningful impact.
4. You’re More Easily Replaceable Than You Think
College degrees just don’t mean what they once used to, as more and more sectors of the population have been able to access higher education. Good jobs are no longer only accessible to those who can afford a college education—scholarships, government programs, etc., have created more equity throughout the past two decades.
What this has meant for the job market is that more and more people have the same skill sets or, at the very least, have access to learn these skills. And the democracy of the internet has made sharing knowledge and expertise online more widespread than it has ever been.
Online universities, boot camps, and coaching sessions have enabled people to learn any skill they wish to learn. As the democracy of sharing knowledge and expertise continues its steady improvement, so will companies’ ease of being able to replace you. You might think that your education, skills, and experience are unique for you and are in totality enough to make you irreplaceable, but that is hardly true. You’re more easily replaceable than you think, and if your company can find a way to automate your job or outsource it for cheaper, it will.
5. You Might Be Spending Too Much Money on Needless Things
Taking a high-profile job often means moving to a high-cost location. Some people value relative wealth more than absolute wealth because income is only ever as good as how well you can keep expenses down. Paying expensive rent for an apartment that’s close to your place of work or stocking up a pricey corporate wardrobe to keep up with standard work attire—these often end up being needless things. If you took a job that didn’t require you to be at some corporate office in some major city, then you wouldn’t have to spend for either the rent or commute or both.
6. You Might Be Eroding Important Skills at the Cost of Moving up the Ladder
One of the most important and yet most overlooked reasons on this list is the idea that you could be eroding some of your more valuable skills in the course of your employment. If your corporate job involved a day-to-day routine of responding to emails, pitching your ideas in meetings, organizing spreadsheets, and creating slide decks, what exactly are the skills you’re building?
I’m not saying that these skills aren’t valuable at all—in fact, these are quite valuable soft skills to hone that will help you succeed and will probably get you promoted fast. But will these skills make you a more valuable asset outside of the context of a corporate work environment? You have to ask yourself this very question, especially if you feel like you are stagnating. One of the most common reasons people switch jobs is because their current job doesn’t enable them to improve the skills they value.
7. Your Job Could Be Changing You (For the Worse)
When they say that you lose a part of your soul while working a corporate job, that just might be true. When you’re inside the room where a plan for carrying out layoffs in your company is being discussed, and all you can do is nod in agreement or else be thought of as soft or incapable of making hard decisions, it’s not surprising at all that you would lose a part of yourself that feels human.
Your corporate job could be changing you, and one day it might be too late for you to realize how much you have changed. It’s easy to think that we can all compartmentalize our work lives from our personal lives, but doing so 100 percent is impossible. Some traits we have at work have a way of manifesting themselves at home. The worst way you can realize this is when your personal relationships suffer as a result of the person you’ve become because of your corporate job.
Taking a Calculated Risk
Quitting a job can be quite exciting, but it has to be a calculated risk. Make sure that if you were to quit your secure job, you’d still be able to manage your expenses to the point that you won’t be desperate enough to come crawling back to another corporate job.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.