"The corporate cubicle is the deathtrap of creativity; a prison to the creatives who dream of freedom." ~ Baz
During the years I spent in the corporate world I devised all kinds of creative escape plans that would free me from the confines of my cubicle and later my office with a door.
It's funny, I longed for an office for years and when I finally got one I felt as if the door that I thought would offer privacy functioned as a yet another barrier to my freedom.
As I think about it now, there are really only three ways to gain freedom from the corporate prison that most creatives feel trapped within.
- Sit in Old Sparky
- Get Paroled
- Going Over the Wall
In this post I'll examine all three with a focus on the latter three since we're all fans of breathing. :lol:
4 Ways To Gain Your Freedom from the Corporate Cubicle
1. Sit in 'Old Sparky'
In Stephen King's dark but brilliant 1996 serial novel, The Green Mile, the narrative takes place within E Block at fictional Cold Mountain Penitentiary. The story begins in 1932 within the dank, musty and foul-smelling corridors where a small population of inmates wait to die. Old Sparky is the nickname the staff and inmates use in reference to the electric chair, once the state-of-the-art killing machine.
Electric chairs like Old Sparky, despite being discontinued in the U.S., are still prevalent today masquerading as the seemingly harmless corporate cubicle. In my opinion the cubicle is the killer of all creativity and the harbinger of Hell's dominion over the wicked... OK, that's a bit much...but you feel me, right?
Sitting in Old Sparky represents the resignation of the corporate workforce collectively resigned to put in their 40 years and retire... cough, cough...sputter sputter.
When I was a young man working in a retail job, we referred to the full-time employees as lifers. Lifers in the corporate world are destined to grow old in service to the almighty corporation with their creativity imprisoned within.
But you don't have to die within the confines of your cube. There is another alternative...
2. Get Paroled
Although it wasn't my plan, I was granted parole in 2013. My corporate management position was eliminated overnight and the next day I was set free with a few terms and conditions and a fair amount walking money. It was just like getting paroled from Cold Mountain.
Like most parolees, I was ecstatic to gain my freedom. After a period of adjustment to life on the outside... such as getting used to afternoon walks on the beach, sitting in cafes and writing after breakfast, picking my son up from school in the afternoon, and other hardships that came my way, I got on with life. I'd already begun setting up a MB and soon was cruising right along.
Getting laid off or even getting fired can be your ticket to MB freedom. That's what it was for me and each day that I awaken I thank the corporate deities for their holy decision to cut me loose. I've never been more free to pursue my own destiny and engage in my deepest work.
But that doesn't always occur and some are forced to take the final option...
3. Going Over the Wall
This escape from the corporate cube is far more dramatic and has its own amount of baggage. Luckily there will be no sharpshooters targeting your back as you go over. For some this represents the only way to freedom.
Going over the wall is simply quitting and walking away; taking a powder; saying your final adieu, and striding off into the sunset. It can become problematic unless you're already prepared for the financial results of your paycheck ending without the partial reprieve of unemployment insurance.
But, if you've done your homework and started setting up your MB, going over the wall isn't a bad way to go after all. It takes guts and strong resolve, but for those who see it as their only recourse, more power to them.
The final escape plan requires some complex maneuvering because you will attempt to...oh, so delicately...
4. Negotiate a Pardon
Think of this option an early release program. For those who may actually work in an enlightened corporate structure, it may be possible to negotiate your way to an early release whereby you negotiate a deal to work from home. The advantage to this option is that you can prove to your corporate jailer that you can be more productive when working at home.
As you work from home, you can also get used to the change in for location and work habits that your MB will soon include. When you negotiate an early release, you are preparing yourself for life on the outside. As you near the point where you're generating equal amounts of revenue, you will be able to sever the relationship with your employer.
Negotiating a pardon can also include performing the same type of work for your employer as a consultant. My first assignment after getting paroled was as a consultant for my former employer. Although it wasn't a part of my preferred MB focus, it paid very well as I could charge them what I was actually worth. #sweetrevenge8-)
Final thoughts on breaking out of your corporate cubicle
Whether you choose to go over the wall, obtain a parole, or negotiate a pardon, the MB freedom that awaits you is well worth the effort. But be warned that if you choose to stay a lifer, Old Sparky will still be your final destination.
Don't be the "dead man walking..." :-(