How My “Escape Plan” From The Office Looked Like

I saved up enough money to cover one year of expenses, then jumped ship when my job satisfaction levels dipped below the point of acceptability.

Shot taken within corn field with in the middle a white person’s hand sticking out signaling “eff you”. Trees in background.
Shot taken within corn field with in the middle a white person’s hand sticking out signaling “eff you”. Trees in background.
A non-polite gesture you shouldn’t make when you’re exiting any place — Photo by Gwendal Cottin on Unsplash

To job or not to job

Starting a new position is always exciting. What if your expectations are not met, several months in? Should you sit it out, or start preparing for a new chapter?

Hopeful beginnings

In a not too recent case, I started at a new company at a function that suited me just fine. My plan was to get a foot in the door, and once inside, switch to a different department. For a better, more cognitively demanding position, a better paycheck, and overall, a better life.

  1. Instead of waiting “to get noticed”, I’d apply to different positions internally
  2. Create a financial buffer to make a jump into the wild unknown outside of the company, just in case the above fails

Point 1: Squeeze the lemon empty

Beside continuing to put my best effort into the work, I took advantage of every single perk there was:

  • Does your company offer the possibility to dedicate several working days or hours to volunteering? Take advantage of that.
  • In Germany, every company must have an X amount of “voluntary firemen”. Your company will offer training to become one or reimburse any costs.
  • The same with first aid training. Great excuse to soak up new information and skills that might come in handy, in- and outside an office setting.
  • Ask your team members where they need support. Offer your help to them, or to people outside of your team. Get sneak peeks of different types of work. Can you make spreadsheets? Great. Offer your help with that. Do you like to prepare presentations? Also a skill that’s always needed (and that plenty of people happily outsource).

Point 2: Apply to different positions within the company

Most companies prefer to hire internally. The company already knows you. HR can view your entire work history and performance at the click of a button, making it easier to determine if you’re a good match for a new position.

Point 3: Save money, make a jump

Now the latter wasn’t working out that well, I had no reason to stay anymore, except for the income and being-able-to-pay-rent aspect. I decided to grant myself a sabbatical as soon as I “got out”. You know, the “live off your savings, try stuff out, and try to breathe life into a side project or two, or three”.

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Writing my way to progress. Topics: personal growth, life lessons, tooling & (failed) ventures.

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