One of my favorite bloggers is James Altucher, who writes articles like 10 Reasons You Need to Quit Your Job and 10 New Reasons to Quit Your Job in 2017, and makes infographics about how to make $2,000 in a weekend.
I strongly agree with much of what he has to say regarding jobs and work in the 21st century.
Just consider these facts::
- 94% of net job growth in the last decade was in the gig/freelance economy
- 47% of US jobs could be automated in the next two decades
It’s not that hard to believe that the corporate lifestyle is dying.
And to that, I say, “good riddance!”
However, I also understand that many derive their livelihood from corporate positions and the disappearance of corporate America will mean the disappearance of a paycheck for a lot of people.
I don’t wish that on anyone.
I started this blog not only to chronicle my own escape from corporate America, but also to provide readers with the tools they need to do it too!
So why should you not rely solely on your corporate job for your income?
Here are 10 reasons:
1. The self-made wealthy have multiple income streams.
Do you want to be wealthy?
Most people would answer “yes” to that question.
Because wealth solves many of our problems, which, in the 21st century, are often financial in nature.
So how do we become wealthy?
If we take our cues from the self-made wealthy of the world, we should diversify our income streams.
A quick internet search reveals that most millionaires have at least seven sources of income.
I can’t seem to find a source for this (alleged) fact, but I believe it.
In the finance industry where I currently work, I know the financial situation for many high net-worth individuals and I can assure you that most have at least seven income streams.
So here are three strategies we recommend for building wealth:
2. The corporate lifestyle is dying.
Most people are good at general predictions and horrible at specific predictions.
For instance, an easy general prediction to make is that the future will bring automation, with computers and artificial intelligence primed to take many of our jobs.
This is probably why the average income for people ages 18-35 has dropped from $36,000 to $33,000 since 1992.
So begin preparing for the future by understanding that the corporate world won’t be around forever.
You never know when the future will come, but it will come.
3. Corporations reflects industrialism, not the creative and unpredictable human condition.
Do you ever wonder where the 8-hour work day originated?
I’ll give you a hint.
It wasn’t based on some massive study of modern productivity.
Its origins are in the industrial revolution.
Much has changed since then, including our understanding of how humans should maximize productivity.
Because frankly, we’re asking the wrong question if we’re thinking about how to maximize productivity.
Instead, we should ask how we can align how we make money with our aptitudes, our passions, and commercial intent.
If you can make money doing what you’re skilled at and what you love doing, you don’t need to worry about productivity; you’ll be happy doing what you love, and productivity will come as a byproduct.
(For the skeptics out there, this concept is consistent with the research Angela Ducksworth has conducted, which found that the greatest predictors of success are passion and perseverance – not mastering productivity)
Humans aren’t machines and were never meant to rigidly follow an 8-to-5 schedule with (just) two weeks of vacation and X number of sick days.
4. The corporate lifestyle gives you a false sense of security.
Imagine you run a business and someone tells you that every two weeks, they’re going to take money out of your business’s bank account.
As the business owner, you want that amount to be as small as possible, right?
You don’t this withdrawal to cause you to go into debt.
This is (almost) exactly what happens with employees.
Businesses agree to pay you a fixed sum every two weeks, but even the most predictable businesses can’t predict their revenue and expenses with absolute certainty.
So what do they do?
They pay you as little as they can so those at the top maximize their profit (in other words – so your salary reduces theirs as little as possible).
In contrast, this is not how the free market generally operates.
On the plus side, the free market can financially reward you significantly more than a fixed, bi-weekly paycheck can if you provide immense value (or moderate value to a large quantity of people).
On the other hand, if you don’t add significant value, the free market typically doesn’t pay you a dime.
This can make for a rude awakening if or when you lose your job.
In fact, I think the regularity of a bi-weekly paycheck is why people jump from one corporate job to the next without considering the alternatives.
It provides reliability that most would rather have instead of the volatile yet unlimited compensation possible in the free market.
5. Reliance on corporate jobs causes you to make bad decisions.
When I graduated from college, I was a (reluctant) corporate lifestyle believer, thinking that the only way I could make money immediately was through a corporate job.
As such, I chased corporate jobs and took whatever I could get because I thought it was either land a job or default on my student loans.
I often wonder how my life would have been different if I had dismissed that toxic mentality and had instead focused solely on making money according to my strengths.
I could have made enough money freelancing to at least make minimum loan payments while living at home, and by now have accomplished my entrepreneurial dreams.
But I have to remind myself that there’s nothing I can do about the past except learn from it, teach others, and move forward.
That’s what I’m trying to do now on this blog.
So don’t make the same mistake as me!
Instead, learn how to make money independent of your day job.
Then, if you ever get fired or decide it’s time to leave, you can look for your next job without the overwhelming stress of thinking that you can’t possible make any money without a job.
Otherwise, you will be in a state of constant desperation, and you might end up taking the first job offer that comes your way, even if it’s not a good fit or compensates you poorly.
6. The corporate lifestyle is unhealthy.
There are a few critical components to a healthy lifestyle:
- Good diet
- Mobility/exercise/being active
- Being outside in the sun and in nature
The corporate environment is the opposite of each of these things:
- You are usually surrounded by unhealthy restaurant food options or break-room junk food
- You’re forced to sit at a desk with limited mobility for at least 8 hours a day
- You rarely see the sun and instead sit under artificial lighting all day
7. The corporate lifestyle stifles creativity.
Creativity flows when you’re at peak health, which is why it’s hard to be creative when you have an unhealthy corporate job.
But there are other ways the corporate lifestyle stifles creativity, like removing fresh environments, novel experiences, and valuable relationships from daily experience.
In short, the homogeneity of the corporate lifestyle isn’t conducive to creativity.
8. The corporate lifestyle isn’t conducive to building good relationships.
Most work relationships aren’t very meaningful, yet we spend more time with our co-workers than we spend with our families.
Imagine if you removed the rigid 8+ hour chunk of time in the middle of most of your days and instead split up that time into the patchwork of relationships that form a rich life.
Wouldn’t you and everyone else around you be happier?
9. Corporations breeds competition.
“More than anything else, competition is an ideology— the ideology—that pervades our society and distorts our thinking. We preach competition, internalize its necessity, and enact its commandments; and as a result, we trap ourselves within it—even though the more we compete, the less we gain.”
This quote is by Peter Thiel, one of our favorite entrepreneurs and investors, and it comes from his classic book Zero to One.*
It appears at the beginning of Thiel’s critique of the western education system, which he ends with the question, “why are we doing this [preaching and living by competition] to ourselves?”
This is an apt question with an answer that stems from the industrial roots from which our education system was designed. In this system, resources were perceived as fixed and competition appeared necessary for survival.
This mindset, which still persists today, is encapsulated in the ideas of Thomas Robert Malthus, a 19th century economist who believed that the world’s food production could not sustain the rapidly increasing global population, and that global famine was imminent.
The natural conclusion of this line of thinking was that you either competed for money (a proxy for food and other resources) or died.
Of course now we can see that Malthus was totally wrong because he failed to take into account agricultural technological advancement.
And while this is an obvious failure of the competitive mindset, many fail to recognize that the competitive mindset is also an inaccurate model for money and modern resource acquisition.
It’s a fact that there are still a large number of problems in society that can be solved by any enterprising entrepreneur.
And there is no inherent reason why the success of one entrepreneur should necessitate the failure of another.
The belief in an abundant present and future does not give us license to be irresponsible with our resources, nor does it mean that the present abundance we have will persist or improve without concerted effort.
However, it does give us the freedom to pursue entrepreneurial endeavors without the burden of the competitive mindset.
In fact, I believe that lifestyle entrepreneurs attempting to make money on the web should seek the areas of least competition with the greatest opportunity to maximize profit.
10. The corporate lifestyle skews values.
That corporations breed competition is indicative of a larger problem: they skews our values.
The corporate lifestyle teaches us to compete with our co-workers for the small financial pie of corporate salaries.
It teaches us to work hard, not smart.
It teaches us to keep up appearances first, deliver quality work second.
It teaches us to blend into the average instead of striving for excellence.
On this blog, I talk a lot about how to make money outside of the corporate environment, but in this post I wanted to talk about why you should strive to escape that environment in the first place.
Thankfully, not all corporate environments are like this.
In fact, some corporate environments are fantastic!
But they are few and far between.
More importantly, I hope you realize your full profit potential in pursuit of the intersection of your passions, aptitudes, and what has commercial viability.
I believe an excellent way to do this is through blogging which is why we recommend Bluehost web hosting.*
It’s what I use to host this blog and it’s what is also recommended by a few of the highest earning bloggers, including Michelle Schroeder-Gardner, Pat Flynn, and John Lee Dumas.
Now it’s your turn!
Tell me what your reasons are for escaping the corporate lifestyle in the comments below.