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Old 28.08.2020, 14:27
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I'm tired of working in the corporate world and seeking like-minded people!

Hi all,

I'm someone who has spent many years working in one large corporate machine or another. I spend all of my working day either in meetings or staring into a computer screen - actually in these Covid times itís become one in the same thing, but you get my point.

As a result of being stuck in the rat race, golden cage, whatever you want to call it, I frequently tell myself: give this up, go and do something more rewarding, more meaningful, less robotic. Iíve got a few ideas and the desire to act on them but the things that have prevented me so far have been the obvious ones; I have financial commitments, a family to feed, fear of failure etc.

Recently Iíve been thinking that there must be others like me who are also frustrated in their corporate worlds and just going through the motions. Hence my post. I would really like to connect with others feeling the same as me and meet up (in whatever format) to discuss the topic, probe potential solutions to the puzzle, get some motivation, and think about how to take the first steps. Or maybe you are somebody that has done it and can impart some advice?

Now just to be clear, Iím not out to sell a life-coach service, or cupcakes, or anything like that. Iím just a family man from the UK who has been living in ZŁrich for the last ten years and looking for some like-minded people to chew the fat on this tricky topic.

If any of the above resonates with you, please do reply to this post or message me, and maybe we can generate some motivation and ideas through discussion :0)
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Old 28.08.2020, 14:49
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Re: I'm tired of working in the corporate world and seeking like-minded people!

I reached that point some years ago for a variety of reasons, not simply getting bored with it but becoming increasingly unable to continue working in an ever-more-changing work environment. I'd been continuously employed in or around (i.e. as a consultant) the corporate world for nearly forty years, and I reached the point where I felt that enough was enough.

In the end I became ill with it all, and spent two years off sick (albeit with some temp internal placements) before leaving that world for good. (My wife was, and still is, continuing a successful career in the same company I worked for, so financially I was able to do this without too much hardship.)

Unlike you, this was not really a planned situation, so not really comparable, especially as the following two years on RAV were no less stressful. Avoid this if you possibly can, they will do everything possible to hinder your dream, even disallowing things like unpaid placement to gain experience or allowing "time off" for training courses.

So anyway, here I am now in a chalet with five rental apartments underneath me, which together with ski-related activities could be said to represent a dream, albeit one that I never had when I was younger. I thoroughly recommend the idea of getting out of the corporate jungle while you're still young enough to enjoy life.

This probably isn't of much help to you, I realise, but I thought it might be worth sharing anyway.
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Old 28.08.2020, 14:51
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Re: I'm tired of working in the corporate world and seeking like-minded people!

I feel your pain. Sitting and staring at a computer screen has led to chronic back and neck issues. I dream of doing something that has me on my feet and being interactive with the world.

I've spent uni summers and a year after uni moving furniture. I am now too old for that stuff. I would prefer something that has me in nature a bit. I do have an unused Masters in Environmental Risk Assessment. My former brother-in-law has a job roaming the Rocky Mountains taking soil and water samples in old mines. I'd love something like that!

Fortunately for me, although I have a family, finance isn't my biggest concern as we can easily survive on my wife's salary.

Unfortunately for me, I have started and given up on learning French several times. I'm a fairly educated person, but trying to learn French is humbling and near impossible for me. I must try yet again!

I'm on French side, but happy to stay in touch.
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Old 28.08.2020, 14:59
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Re: I'm tired of working in the corporate world and seeking like-minded people!

Great post and awesome username.

I very much understand how you feel and am there myself. 5 years ago, it all came to a head and I had a breakdown. I was able to take some time off and reflect what matters most to me and went through therapy. When I returned to work, I took a less demanding position and have been much better off. (As a natural achiever, I must admit that I struggle at being "less than".)

Are you able to work from home? I must admit COVID-19 had its' positives and I am able to be at home sometimes doing the job I don't like, which is far more rewarding. I can have my music on in the background, cook a proper lunch and work the day away with my cat on my lap...with a few guitar breaks here and there instead of a coffee break in the hum drum corporate kitchen.

One thing that helps me is that I try as much as possible to have a rewarding and rich life outside of work doing the things that make myself and my family happy. If your job is too demanding or if you suffer from depression because of it, that will most definitely rob you of the ability to do this. I hope you can have a healthy balance.

I also try to focus on the positives my job provides for myself and my family.

Really happy to be part of this discussion now and in the future, let's help each other.
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Old 28.08.2020, 16:21
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Re: I'm tired of working in the corporate world and seeking like-minded people!

It is an interesting point in life and honestly OP - I congratulate you for being there. I know that people look back at their choices and feel critical of either their career or where they have been just up till now. But I think corporate world isn't evil, or I can see that all jobs have the potential of exhausting us if we chose for the wrong reason. Adjustment is vital and owning and honoring what had made us at the 1st place decide long time ago helps. Nothing is perfect permanently even when we wish for it. I am happy I listened to my passions, still do, they recharge me and make life meaningful. But when things no longer work, which is normal, time to change. Career, one's car...a partner who stops you from living, self perception or culture around.

Crisis is a chance. Adjustment skills are more important than perfection. Courage.
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Old 28.08.2020, 16:31
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Re: I'm tired of working in the corporate world and seeking like-minded people!

Without the following it's probably very difficult:

My wife was, and still is, continuing a successful career in the same company I worked for, so financially I was able to do this without too much hardship.


and finance isn't my biggest concern as we can easily survive on my wife's salary

As soon as you can afford to escape a world where you are discontent on a daily basis, you must.
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Old 28.08.2020, 16:48
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Re: I'm tired of working in the corporate world and seeking like-minded people!

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Without the following it's probably very difficult:

My wife was, and still is, continuing a successful career in the same company I worked for, so financially I was able to do this without too much hardship.


and finance isn't my biggest concern as we can easily survive on my wife's salary

As soon as you can afford to escape a world where you are discontent on a daily basis, you must.
Is the role of the partner rather a parental one, then..
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Old 28.08.2020, 16:52
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Re: I'm tired of working in the corporate world and seeking like-minded people!

I am not sure if you work full-time and if you can change that financially. But do think about it. Could you cut back a little and work 80%? One more day off makes a change. It gives you time to breath. Time for hobbies or to spend with your family. Maybe this would help.
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Old 29.08.2020, 09:00
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Re: I'm tired of working in the corporate world and seeking like-minded people!

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Are you able to work from home? I must admit COVID-19 had its' positives and I am able to be at home sometimes doing the job I don't like, which is far more rewarding.
Hi Susie Q, thanks for your helpful post. Yes, I am able to work from home and in some ways it does help but at the end of the day, for me anyway, I just want to spend my 8/9 hours a day doing something I really enjoy, rather than finding ways to make my existing career more palatable. Even if I move companies, adjust my role, or any of those things, I know from experience that it wont improve enough to bring me the satisfaction I want - to get out of bed in the morning really feeling like I have a meaningful purpose in my working life.

I have this scary thought that at the end of my working life I'll look back and think what the hell did I actually achieve (money aside) from all those hard years other than pleasing the boss, who pleased the big boss, who pleased the shareholders. Will I really care that my projects were delivered on time and within budget so that some guy in another department, in another part of the world could strike the next deal that made the company slightly more profit. I can't let that be the legacy of my work. I need something real, something tangible to look back on.

Anyway, hopefully we'll get to talk about the whole thing, Susie Q! Thanks again.
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Old 29.08.2020, 23:40
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Re: I'm tired of working in the corporate world and seeking like-minded people!

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Hi Susie Q, thanks for your helpful post. Yes, I am able to work from home and in some ways it does help but at the end of the day, for me anyway, I just want to spend my 8/9 hours a day doing something I really enjoy, rather than finding ways to make my existing career more palatable. Even if I move companies, adjust my role, or any of those things, I know from experience that it wont improve enough to bring me the satisfaction I want - to get out of bed in the morning really feeling like I have a meaningful purpose in my working life.

I have this scary thought that at the end of my working life I'll look back and think what the hell did I actually achieve (money aside) from all those hard years other than pleasing the boss, who pleased the big boss, who pleased the shareholders. Will I really care that my projects were delivered on time and within budget so that some guy in another department, in another part of the world could strike the next deal that made the company slightly more profit. I can't let that be the legacy of my work. I need something real, something tangible to look back on.

Anyway, hopefully we'll get to talk about the whole thing, Susie Q! Thanks again.

Hi Boo Radley,
I'm in the same boat, wanting to change my modus operandi starting March-April next year when I have to have a clear plan what I want to do after July 31st, when my B permit expires. I truly wanna do something else or still work with kids, however in a different way. I also want to see if I can have my own business or work together with other interested individuals from this platform. So, I'd be happy to meet up with anyone in favour of discussing what you suggested.
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Old 30.08.2020, 00:11
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Re: I'm tired of working in the corporate world and seeking like-minded people!

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.... I just want to spend my 8/9 hours a day doing something I really enjoy, rather than finding ways to make my existing career more palatable. ....
I want - to get out of bed in the morning really feeling like I have a meaningful purpose in my working life.
.... I need something real, something tangible to look back on.
If you do not yet know what that something could be, then I suggest trying out anything and everything you can already half-way do, that you half-way enjoy, in some volunteer role. Just start at the bottom. Apply through organisations, read up about people's work and projects and write to them directly, joing meet-ups of people who already do that thing. Try to find someone who will let you in, give you their advice, or let you tag along a bit, just to learn what they really do and whether you like it. If it's the zoo, hang about and get to know the staff. Ditto the motorbike mechanic, and so on.

Once you find something (and perhaps you do already know what it could be), see if you can start up a part-time business doing that. If you are successful in getting it up and slowly ticking over, or in getting part-time employment in that new field (perhaps you'd need to write some more exams), then you could, over the course of a year or three, see whether you could tip the ratio, so that - once you have some security in the new something - you can phase out the job that now makes you feel trapped by, say, becoming a consultant and working on some projects only, rather than full-time.
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Old 31.08.2020, 17:11
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Re: I'm tired of working in the corporate world and seeking like-minded people!

I think you are not alone in your feelings. We live in an age where our work existence feels under constant threat. We have developed a habit of defining ourselves by our jobs, education etc etc. Employees work longer than ever and on top of this there is an expectation to constantly educate and improve employability. Less free time because of work and using up that free time to ensure employability.

I fell out of the rat race about 3 years ago. In my case, I didn't have burn out, but bore out. I worked in banking and I started to feel like these numbers are all imaginary and they don't matter. My colleagues on the other hand, tended to behave like every decision was life or death. So I quit, walked into the blue and life has been great. I cut back my lifestyle and have unlimited time but of course, my bank account only goes one way! I think the most interesting insight for me, is the fact that I spend far less money. I had a habit of finding temporary happiness by buying crap I didn't need and constantly living in the future (what will I do and buy over the next few months).

Next year I will have to find a new job. I am currently thinking about doing something with Zurich Stadt. Perhaps a part time tram driver. My view is probably romantic but I have a feeling that it's an honest job. Turn up, drive around the city, go home.. I'll never be rich and in the long term I will face a lower standard of living but I hope I will be happier than maintaining an illusion of happiness based on status that money brings.
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Old 01.09.2020, 10:44
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Re: I'm tired of working in the corporate world and seeking like-minded people!

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Next year I will have to find a new job. I am currently thinking about doing something with Zurich Stadt. Perhaps a part time tram driver. My view is probably romantic but I have a feeling that it's an honest job. Turn up, drive around the city, go home.. I'll never be rich and in the long term I will face a lower standard of living but I hope I will be happier than maintaining an illusion of happiness based on status that money brings.
Funnily enough, I was just discussing with my boys what I would do if I had to start my career again, and it would be to fill most childhood dreams of becoming a train driver for the SBB, or had I not left London, a Tube Train driver. They earn up to GBP 80,000 a year, long holidays, plenty of time off, free travel in London for you and the family, and retire at 50!!! Sounds great
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Old 28.08.2020, 16:08
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Re: I'm tired of working in the corporate world and seeking like-minded people!

I think many have been in the same situation and can empathise. I think one of my biggest mistakes in life was not pursuing a career in my field of interest to keep it as a hobby. The problem is that you get less and less time for hobbies and even if it does turn a hobby into work, you are still practicing it and honing your skills.

I wondered a few years ago whether to reset and start again from square 1 in my field. Unfortunately, I left it too long: 20 years and the golden handcuffs are too tight, starting from zero too daunting and my brain now older and slower.

I decided to try to continue until I get my Swiss passport - though as Ace1 described, I'm not convinced I'll make it. I know others who burned out as continuing in something that you're no longer interested in is mentally difficult.
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Old 28.08.2020, 18:10
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Re: I'm tired of working in the corporate world and seeking like-minded people!

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I think many have been in the same situation and can empathise. I think one of my biggest mistakes in life was not pursuing a career in my field of interest to keep it as a hobby.
Itís not all itís cracked up to be. Working with your hobby is not the same as doing it yourself for fun. I slightly regret working with my hobby, annoying clients and bad situations tainted it for me, I donít love it like I used to, eventually it became a drag like any other must do job! Iíve just quit and hope to get back to loving it just for me!
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Old 28.08.2020, 19:44
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Re: I'm tired of working in the corporate world and seeking like-minded people!

Make, build or create something, the trouble today is results are so intangible that we actually need to see a result or product. We are all on the financial treadmill so having some sort of safety net is required with families, myself I went from running multi million dollar projects in the oil and gas industry to starting my own company working with wood. I pay for my art as a lot of my clients are tight assed expats but loving what I do somewhat compensated.

I would look on meetup for groups that interest you, try anything until you get a click moment and see if you can monetize it or it's enough to balance out the corporate crap.
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Old 28.08.2020, 20:42
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Re: I'm tired of working in the corporate world and seeking like-minded people!

If I had my life over again I would never work in offices. I actually wanted to train to do makeup for TV/Films in my teens, but if you were a girl from a working class family and intelligent you were pushed down the route of office work and getting vocational qualifications via your employer sending you to day release once a week (when I went into the public sector at 16 you got salary increments for achieving certain FE certificates).

Once I got to my 30s I'd been in a back office role in the City for 9 years and I realised I wanted to complete my education, so I swapped my job as assistant to 2 economists in a Japanese bank for 3 years at London University reading history, a really interesting time for me. Post graduation I wanted to do a chartered librarian course, but it was way too expensive so I ended up back in an office, this time in the Arts / Heritage sector where I met some well known and influential people, but also a lot of managers who were way out of their depth (in particular a woman boss I had who was a director of and art gallery along the Bankside from Tate Modern.

Fast forward to 2008, I'd been back in Scotland 4 years, had been seriously ill for 2 of them and had started a business with my OH. Then we ended up in Basel 5 years ago and I'm now a Hausfrau, so I pretty much do what I like with my time. OH loves what he does and is on a good salary so is happy to support both of us (I doubt I'd get a job at my age anyway). I feel lucky to be able to just go with the flow now as I started work way back in 1977. God, that makes me sound ancient, how did that happen
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Old 28.08.2020, 20:53
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Re: I'm tired of working in the corporate world and seeking like-minded people!

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If I had my life over again I would never work in offices.
Same, I really wanted to be a marine biologist. Between my Bachelors and Masters I took a few marine biology classes, volunteered in the species collection lab, and even spent a month in Bonaire researching a tiny blenny (type of fish) that lives on coral heads. I loved it! I can still name most Caribbean fish and corals by their Latin names.

But I was told, and believed, that most people with Masters in marine biology end of working at Starbucks. I regret not going for it anyways.

In retirement, I hope to at least do volunteer projects underwater.
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Old 30.08.2020, 08:37
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Re: I'm tired of working in the corporate world and seeking like-minded people!

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I slightly regret working with my hobby, annoying clients and bad situations tainted it for me, I donít love it like I used to, eventually it became a drag like any other must do job!
Can I ask what area of work your hobby is/was in?
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Old 30.08.2020, 12:01
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Re: I'm tired of working in the corporate world and seeking like-minded people!

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Can I ask what area of work your hobby is/was in?
Ski teaching. It can be totally awesome if you are spending your days with great clients (but even if you are with awesome people being in the beginners area is not the same as tearing up the slopes yourself, working with your hobby is not the same as practicing it!). Not so awesome if you are with clients who treat you like a piece of shit Sherpa/PA/Magician. I was getting far more of the later than the former unfortunately
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