Instead of biding one’s time and building resources before an escape, there can be an overwhelming temptation to jump overboard immediately.
One minute, you’re being passive-aggressively dressed down by a boss half your age, and the next you’re on top of your desk declaring “No More! Not another minute of this!” and demanding your P45.
There is, of course, the risk that once you’ve quit your job and moved to your woodland hermitage, you discover that squirrel meat doesn’t agree with you and you don’t really like writing poetry after all. Can you turn back?
“Dear Jeremy” is a Guardian advice column and forum, which addresses work- and career-related issues. This week, it addresses the desire for sudden escape from a crap job. Somebody writes in, reporting that tedium vitae has got the better of them and that they want to flee their current job and even the country. Naturally, the reader worries that such a move would damage their career and that future employers would see them as a quitter.
Jeremy responsibly suggests caution and advises that the correspondent completes their current contract if only to buy more thinking time. The same advice is offered by a concerned HR Manager. A third voice, however, offers:
I spent eight months in a job I detested, three months of which I was applying for an escape, any escape, which I found in a temporary contract back at my old firm. My CV now reads that I was “headhunted back to reintroduce stability”. I’ve almost convinced myself it’s true, and I’ve definitely convinced all the recruitment agents I have lined up for when this contract expires.
Whatever rash choices you make, you can always work some propaganda into any future attempts to rejoin the workforce. Unless the alternative is homelessness or starvation, I don’t know why anyone would stay in a job they detest so much. All those early rises and self-deceptions aren’t worth seven quid an hour.
The more responsible advice offered by the first two voices is very career-orientated. The third voice speaks for freedom and personal satisfaction (even if this person’s idea of escape is into another job). There are risks (which can be minimised by using my career gym idea before escaping), but as Konrád said, lived freedom will compensate you for a few losses.