For many, the American dream involves a corporate job. The idea of working for a massive company and getting payed a solid salary are what many young people strive for, and why they choose to go through school. After all, what isn’t to love about the potential for a six-figure salary from one of the biggest companies in the world?
However, corporate jobs can have some serious side effects. While you may make a significant amount of money, that money could end up disappearing as you get sucked further and further into the Corporate Vacuum.
The Corporate Vacuum is what I call the suffocating and irresistible lifestyle that most modern workers live. It is a lifestyle of great inefficiency (both in usage of time and money), of total reliance on others to even survive, and minimal pleasure. It is easy to get entrapped in, and can be difficult to escape. It encourages behaviors that make little sense, despite its flashy allure.
Working a corporate job and getting sucked into this world has some rather devastating side effects that prevent you from living a full life with financial success and personal happiness. Here are some of the biggest examples:
- Time Wasted Doing Idle Things: Wake up early. Commute for an hour to get to work. Sit at a desk for eight hours. Drive back an hour. Watch TV and surf the web aimlessly for six hours to “unwind” from such a brutal day at the office. Such is the typical day for many corporate workers. Looking at that, it isn’t hard to realize why working a corporate job can lead to a life that isn’t fulfilling.
- Focus Put on Small, Immediate Pleasures: When life is so stressful and distinctly boring, as it is in the Corporate Vacuum, it is easy to enjoy little pleasures multiple times a day simply to fill good. Whether it is a costly latte, a fattening chocolate bar, or a totally unnecessary limited edition box set of your favorite TV show that you can stream for free anytime, these little pleasures add up over time to not only rob you of your money, but of your long term happiness.
- Physical Health Deteriorates: Sedentary living filled with heavily processed comfort food is one of the least healthy lifestyles out there. When we look at why America has become the fattest nation by far in the world, it is the corporate lifestyle that is largely responsible. I’ve said before how good physical health is the number one way to save money for most people, and don’t forget that being in good shape leads to boosts in energy, confidence, and general happiness and satisfaction in life.
- Lack of Independence and Self Reliance: Of all the things that tend to happen when one is sucked up into the Corporate Vacuum, this may be the scariest. Ask yourself some of these questions. How responsible are you for your own food (you likely don’t even always cook your own food, let alone produce the ingredients)? Would you be able to keep warm in the winter without power? What about get around without a car? Start thinking about all the little things that you depend 100% on other people for. Everything from the clothing on your back to your morning latte is produced for you by someone else. The corporate lifestyle tends to encourage this. And while the system does work, people who function this way are missing out on some of the most satisfying parts of life. There is nothing quite like eating a mile comprised of ingredients you produced/harvested yourself. The same can be said for thousands of other DIY alternatives to modern commodities.
- Money Squandered Continuously: Any lifestyle that involves lengthy daily commutes, lattes, and excessive television watching is bound to be an expensive one. This ties in with the above, seeing as anytime you outsource a task to someone, you need to pay them for it. It is also pretty common for those who live the corporate life to spend lots of money and time shopping simply because they feel they are earning a high income and should reward themselves. Let me tell you something: Investing your money and becoming rich is the best reward you can ever give yourself!
The Corporate Vacuum is easy to get into, and unfortunately very difficult to escape. Once this lifestyle has begun, it is will continue to engross you, with little hope of ever returning to a sane way of living. It can be hard to give up small pleasures once you have become accustomed to them.
However, if you are willing to start changing the way you are living, the steps to escape this cycle are actually fairly straightforward. Here are some of the best ways to begin your journey out of this madness and into a more fulfilling and happy life. But remember that the main thing you will need to do is simply find the motivation to make a change.
- Get Active: This I cannot stress enough. Get active, get fit, and get healthy. Being healthy of course saves you tons of money in the long run in medical expenses, and it has all sorts of extremely positive side effects as well. The less you drive and the more you walk, the less you spend on transportation costs. The healthier you are, the better you look and the more confidence you’ll have. And the more you exercise, your body will be increasingly able to handle any physical task, and have huge increases in overall energy levels.
- Quit Stereotyping: One thing that causes the suction of the Corporate Vacuum is that people who begin to get entrapped in it start to think of themselves as “corporate types”. That means they HAVE to drive a fancy new car on credit, eat at four star restaurants, and own a timeshare in Florida. However, I am here to tell you that this is merely a stereotype, and not one that you want to follow. There is nothing “high-class” about having five figures of credit card debt, no matter how fancy your job title is. If you quit thinking of yourself as some “high-class corporate man”, you will stop wasting away your money and life.
- Think Long Term: The vast majority of the things I listed above are a result of short termed thinking. A latte may taste good right now, but it adds fat and costs money in the long term. A new car looks nice now, but you’ll still be paying for it five years later. Next time you make a decision, think about the long term effects, even if it is something as trivial as what to eat or wear.
- Get Out Early: Of course the ultimate way to escape the corporate vacuum is to achieve financial independence and retire early. Once you have saved up enough money that your investment returns pay for your living expenses, you no longer have to work to make money, allowing you to do whatever you want. Of course this is only possible if you do all of the above steps, and are willing to live a lifestyle that is below your means.
Have you had any experience in the Corporate Vacuum, or a success story of escaping? Let us know in the comments below!