I’m a fat pig who loves to eat kebabs.
So last week we had some friends over to demolish some. As a no-life no-fun human I got the vegan kebab, of course.
The conversation turned to work. “What’s everyone up to?”
What came next forced me to write it down. Each person spoke about their job. They didn’t hate it (on the outside), but they didn’t love it either.
“Where’s your next holiday to?”
Each person gave an answer.
“Yeah, I’m saving up my holidays. This year we get three extra days.”
“I plan to have another baby and am sticking around just for the extra paternity days. It’s an additional 12 weeks wouldn’t you believe.”
One friend then revealed they were only staying at their job because they wanted to qualify for 10 years at the company to get long-service leave.
There was no way he was giving that up.
As the conversation continued it was clear they were miserable. All that kept them going were holidays, long-service leave, and paternity leave.
I felt depressed afterward.
What a crappy way to live life, a life where the only way to survive is to escape as many times as possible to try and numb the pain.
Don’t worry, I’m not special. I lived for the escape too. Not anymore.
Dare to freaking dream
As kids we dream our little hearts out.
As adults though we seem to live without an imagination. Somehow the corporation beast manages to silence us. It’s how we become a cog to fit into its never-ending machine. Makes me upset.
If you want to build a life that doesn’t require regular vacations to regain your sanity, you must start with a dream.
You have to believe there are other options. That there are people out there who don’t need to escape.
I’m in a phase of my career where I don’t want vacations. I just want to stay home to do work and play with my kid. That’s bliss to me.
Without a dream there’s no destination so vacations become the default location of choice.
Do something unselfish for someone other than yourself
Much of life is built on top of selfishness. Me, Me, Me.
That’s what makes you want to escape. When you do work for others it becomes a drug. You can’t get enough.
There’s no need to escape because the kindness and encouragement of strangers fills the void that holidays normally would. I only wanted to escape my life when I was infected with mental illness.
A few trips to a homeless shelter softened me right up. Instead of wanting to escape, it led me to want to help other people escape.
“Freedom isn’t a few decades away, it’s a few decisions away.”
The whole premise of this article sounds enormous.
That means it can lead to overwhelm which isn’t going to help you. The reality is you are only a few decisions away from where you want to be.
A life that doesn’t require an escape hatch needs subtle changes over time.
First you understand the philosophy. Then you start questioning your line of work. Then you explore other options. Before you know it you’re in an entirely different place.
Make tiny new decisions.
Don’t fall for this pain-in-the-ass myth
The idea of a life you don’t need to escape from quickly leads to thoughts of financial freedom.
Before you know it, money is on the brain.
The lie we’re told is that millionaires inherit their money — that’s incorrect, google it. Those with plenty of money rarely inherit it, because trust fund babies normally lose the lot due to ego and inexperience.
Wealthy people, who may have plenty of money, earn it doing work they don’t feel the need to escape from.
Huge stacks of cash aren’t a requirement for true freedom. But money certainly does help you buy free time that can help you figure out what you want to do with your life.
I’m not obsessed with money. I’m obsessed with the freedom it buys — @OhHaiAndy
Give up a $500K job to make $100K without one
Some prefer to work a job. Others like me prefer to be self-employed.
For some people, the escape they desperately want is to stop being told what to do and have full control of their careers. If that’s you, perhaps it’s worth it to risk earning less than your job by becoming self-employed to get it.
Forever chasing the highest amount of money all the time gets exhausting. That unconscious feeling is often what leads to the desire to want to escape and get away from work.
Switch careers as often as you change bed sheets
For those who do want to work jobs there’s another option…
Your current job might suck. Maybe it’s a dumb boss, a dinosaur employer that needs 39 approvals for a $4 customer coffee, or a toxic team full of deadbeats who swing metaphorical baseball bats at each other for extra lunch money.
The desire to escape may just be career circumstances. There could be a job you like out there. Not everyone has to be a digital nomad bro with no boss, after all.
So the blueprint here is to frequently change jobs until you find one that fits like Cinderella’s glass slipper the prince gave her.
There’s no real downside to changing jobs a lot. There will always be another job to go to. But in the process it’ll help you figure out what you want and show you alternate paths.
The worst thing you can do with your life is stay at a job you hate for 5+ years to qualify for extra days off.
Be naughty enough to use your spare time to build an alternate plan
Once you’re honest with yourself and admit to escaping the life you have, things get much easier.
The self-awareness lets you take action. Action looks like using the hours you’re not at a job to build options. Maybe it’s a side hustle. Maybe it’s an online business. Maybe it’s a passive income investment portfolio.
Most use their spare time to watch Netflix or binge-watch some mindless tv series to further escape.
But escaping doesn’t make reality improve. Better to use your spare time wisely and search for new work options.
The #1 thing that stops us building a life we don’t need to escape
Let’s finish on this note.
Now you have the blueprint, why don’t we take action and build a life we want? It’s because true freedom is scary.
A life you don’t want to escape demands responsibility and self-direction. Most don’t want to do this. They prefer to be victims or to outsource life problems to third parties.
If you can lean into the fear though, everything changes. Fear goes from a negative to a positive. You chase fear because it leads to the options most will never be able to access.
Chase career fear.