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Why do Most People Feel Stuck at their Corporate Jobs?

Although many people contemplate leaving their corporate jobs to start their own business, or they wished at least, their dreams are often suppressed by the overwhelming thought of how their bills are going to get paid.

Bills are a very common topic of discussion in America. Everyone’s got bills to pay, and they often walk around with their Kimonos wide open telling the world about it. I personally find it a joke and absolutely disgusting, but that’s besides the point.

It has been said (and I agree) that most people die at age 35 and just refuse to get buried till they are 85 (or whatever the average life expectancy is today). In other words, people hate their corporate jobs. They can’t stand it, but have no other option than continue to show up to work with the rest of the herd every morning for the rest of their lives. They essentially compromise their lives. So why do people feel stuck at their corporate jobs?

There are several factors, both practical and psychological. Besides the fact that most find themselves working a dead-end job to begin with, those who actually have “good” jobs often feel that they cannot afford to quit their corporate job because they have bills to pay!

So many youngsters are excited and fired up after completing college as they look forward to securing their dream job and joining the corporate world. Their perception of Corporate America is completely different then compared to a few years later when they realize that it was not what they had signed up for. Let alone the politics, the 984 types of restriction and the overall culture, many grow to no longer even enjoy their professions that they paid thousands of dollars for to learn while in college.

Unfortunately, it’s too late for most people by the time they reach this realization. By the time it hits them, they are married, have bought a house, have children, a dog, a turtle, couple cars on the lot and gobs of outstanding loans. Basically they are too engraved in life, have too many bills to pay and as a result are psychologically (and practically if you ask me) paralyzed from making any moves. That is precisely why so many people fear unemployment – they are just too thin spread.

But let’s discuss how bad quitting your job can really be, and if so, to what extent?

It’s not so bad when you quit your job

I cannot remember the exact statistic on the average monthly savings, but the last study I read over how much one can save upon quitting their corporate jobs was very interesting because it put things into a detailed perspective.

I always knew that quitting the 9 to 5 paid-slavery didn’t just mean giving up your income, but had no idea of the magnitude of savings involved. This study dug into the depth of the subject matter. It listed out specific expenses that are eliminated or reduced when you are no longer working. Here are just some of the cost savings you can expect when you quit your job.

  • Gasoline – this can be huge with the price of gas today and the distances driven by Americans to their workplaces. A 20 mile trip each way (40 miles a day) can cost $32 per month assuming you get 25 miles to a gallon and the price of gas is $2.50 per gallon. Not all vehicles give 25 miles to a gallon, and gas is not always at $2.50 (these days it’s usually higher). In addition, we know that most Americans drive way more than 40 miles a day on average. You can just imagine how expensive this can be.
  • Depreciation – for each mile you drive your car, you are depreciating its value. Sure, a vehicle is a sunk cost and you have already paid for it. Nonetheless, it’s an added expense worth bringing up in this context.
  • Meals – when you are working, there is a higher tendency to dine out and spend 300% more (oh yes and that’s the least) on a meal compared to your cost of cooking it at home. Because our lives revolve around our corporate jobs, and because people are working more and more these days, it is not uncommon for folks to eat all three meals of the day outside the house. Add to this the occasional trips to the vending machine and such, this line item can add up significantly.
  • Day care – this alone can put BANK back into your wallet. Day care is very expensive there is no question about that, especially a good one if you want your children to be in good hands and learning the right things.
  • Toll – depending on where you live and what roads you access, this can sneak up on you too.
  • Parking – you’d think it is free, but not always. In my first job as a consultant, I paid $10 per day for covered parking, $7 for uncovered and $6 if I prepaid for the entire month.
  • Taxes – how can we forget taxes. Did you know that you are working January through April, and then some of May just to pay your taxes? Shocking isn’t it? Read my comprehensive discussion on how much you really pay in taxes here.

As they appear to me, these alone can easily add up to over $1,000 per month. Let me also repeat that these are just some of the items I remember. There are several others that may apply to you?

All that said, are you really giving up ALL of your income when you quit your job? Sure, you are giving up your full time income, but you are also saving a significant amount when you quit your corporate job. You have to look at the bigger picture to evaluate the overall impact on your situation.

You don’t have to quit your job to start a business

The good news is that you DO NOT have to quit your job to start a part time business on the side. I felt compelled to highlight the cost savings from quitting your job above just in case your business starts doing well and you are ready to move on it on a full time basis. Besides, the study was just so interesting I had to mention it in due context.

Otherwise, having a full time job while starting a business is certainly challenging, but can be one of the most rewarding experiences you’ll ever have. At least for me it has been. Having a stable job boosts your confidence and provides a great safety blanket in the event your side business does not pan out. Most importantly it gives you the peace of mind because of the steady cash flow it provides. The cash flow not only supports your household and keeps it going, but it also provides additional resources you can invest in your business.

So while cube farming (or being a corporate slave) is certainly not ideal, and might be killing you from the inside, take comfort in the facts mentioned above. Like I always say, there is still something to be said positively about a successful career in corporate America. However, the experience carries a lot of negative with it as well. And for most people, this experience is overall negative.

It is best in my opinion to start a side business while maintaining your full time job. Many businesses today can be started with very little money. Even when money is required, determined entrepreneurs work hard on creating a large gap between their income and expenses. Not only does this help gather resources to invest in the business, but it’s also a good financial discipline to adopt if you want to get ahead in life with or without a side business.

Final Thoughts

I believe whole heartedly in the opening of this post. There are many who want to pursue owning their own business, but of those many, most fear the outcome. Many realize in their mid careers that what they are and where they are in life is not what they signed up for. Perceptions back then when fresh out of college and realities of the present evidently become very different very fast.

If you are in this situation, take comfort in knowing that you too can start your own side business while maintaining your full time job. In fact I recommend that route. And in the event you decide to quit and pursue your own business full time, take comfort in knowing that it’s not as bad as you think from a lost income perspective. Sure you lose some income, but you also gain from savings by cutting down work related expenses.

Regardless of where you fit in, I want to leave you with this message. How do you ensure you are taking steps that are progressing you toward your destination when you don’t know where you’re going? If you don’t know where your final destination is, it will be very hard for you to go in the right direction.

So take some time today to think about where is it that you want to go? The earlier you realize this, the better and the faster you can take action. The faster you take action, the quicker you get to your destination.  Are you stuck?  Know someone who is? What have you or they done about it?

Taking Action

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3 Responses to “Why do Most People Feel Stuck at their Corporate Jobs?”

  1. Just know that you have written one of the best blogs I have ever read…and as irony as it may sound, I read it in my office cubicle. Keep up the good work, bro!

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