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The Escape Manifesto: Quit Your Corporate Job. Do Something Different!

ISBN: 978-0-85708-362-3
280 pages
July 2013, Capstone
The Escape Manifesto: Quit Your Corporate Job. Do Something Different! (0857083627) cover image

Rob, Dom and Mikey were fed up with the corporate treadmill. When they decided to change careers, they looked for a website to help them escape - except there wasn't one. So they started their own. Three years later and they have started a movement called Escape the City. Over 100,000 people have joined www.escapethecity.org in pursuit of exciting and unconventional careers. They are the first online start-up in the world to raise more than £500,000 in investment equity crowdfunding - and they did this entirely from their own membership.

The Escape Manifesto is the book that the guys wish they had read three years ago on the London Underground when they were commuting back and forth from their corporate cubicles. It is an inspirational call to action, packed with practical advice and encouragement. If you work in a corporate job that doesn't make you tick and you have ever wondered whether there is more to life, this book is for you. Step off the corporate treadmill - find an exciting job, start your own business, or go on a big adventure. Stop dreaming, start planning and do something different!

Reader Feedback

"Fab book- inspired me to plan my escape in Jan 2014  to India to clear my head after 29 years in social work then starting my own business. If not now, when?!" - Fionna

"My inspiration to take the step out of banking was driven by your book. I had been thinking about it for about a year but I kept putting off leaving the salaried job, that is until a friend left work and handed me a copy." - Selina

"The Escape Manifesto is a fantastic book. Page after page really hit the note with me..... I'm leaving my city job to take some time out travelling South America and see what happens!" - Scott

"The Manifesto has really helped me in my decision and continuing motivation to leave consulting. So, I’d like to say a massive thank you." - Victoria

"I'm so excited to have 'escaped'!! Thanks to the Escape Manifesto for giving me the motivation and push I needed to seek out opportunities I can be passionate about." - Australian Lawyer in London

"I'd like to let you know that your website and book! helped me 'escape' my job as management consultant in the Netherlands. I will be moving to Sri Lanka this November to work as general manager of a turtle conservation project, with my girlfriend. I found the job on your site. I'm so excited!" - Andre

"I lost track of the number of times I stopped to read out passages to my wife which expressed the exact same thoughts and emotions as I’d been feeling myself, it’s always good to know you’re not the first to have felt this way. I got a bit carried away with the highlighter and have built a to-do list off the back of it." - Graham

"Loving the Escape manifesto, I'm planning my escape from finance to conservation for August 2014." - Scott

"Your book is by my bed – making notes from the money chapter… hopefully I’ll have news soon." - Victoria

"I'm reading your book right now. I'm halfway through but I couldn't resist contacting you before I finish it. It is the perfect reference for finding a new career path and escaping the status quo and pressure from society - very good book!" - Daniel 

"Your book has made me feel so good about my situation and I now believe I'm doing all the right things to give my plans a good old go. Life is so short and you have nothing to lose. Nothing!!!" - Ed

"Even the shittiest day brightens up when I read your blog, your book or just the pics you post on Facebook." - Dagmar

"Well chaps, I did it! Quit my job in senior leadership in a blue chip corporate.  Now what???? Halfway thru your book and I had the eureka moment - "I'll write a book too" so, after blasting out a proposal I now have a contract with a publishing house. My new life as a writer started 3 months ago, you guys gave me the nudge I needed. Thanks!" - Andrew

"I just wanted to say briefly THANK YOU! You wrote a great book! I found myself on many pages! THANKS for writing down your ideas and thoughts and for founding ESC! Just registered. All the best and good luck to you!" - Franziska

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The Escape Manifesto x

Introduction 1

PART ONE – PRE-ESCAPE 9

1 The Travelator 11

Why does this world not work for so many of us? 15

We are our jobs 16

The emperor’s new clothes 17

Politics and bullshit 18

Autonomy, mastery, purpose 19

Warning – your health may suff er 22

Corporate creativity is an oxymoron 23

Institutions and leaders are failing us 25

Why do so many of us tread this path? 27

We have been taught to be cogs 28

We make semi-conscious decisions 29

The trap of the high achievers 31

We don’t defi ne success for ourselves 33

Most careers advice is so awful 35

2 Thoughts and Blockers 37

Unhelpful thoughts 39

“I should be grateful for this job” 40

“I am safe in my current job” 41

“I might damage my career” 42

“I don’t have the right network” 43

“I don’t have the right skills” 44

“I need to have it all fi gured out” 46

Common blockers 49

We are looking for an instruction manual 50

We are infl uenced by other people 51

We love feeling comfortable 53

We hate feeling scared 54

We talk ourselves out of decisions 56

We are short of time and energy 58

We need money to survive 59

3 Gradual Epiphanies 63

Life epiphanies 65

Live life your way 66

Heed the call 68

Avoid living for the future 70

Realize nothing stays the same 71

Preempt the big scare or tragedy 73

Write your own obituary 74

Avoid empty “fi nd yourself” advice 75

Work epiphanies 77

Recognize the signs 78

Stop collecting qualifi cations 80

Look up the ladder 82

Accept changing is always hard 84

Choose a fi ght worth fi ghting 85

Decide that enough is enough 86

4 The Money Question 89

Think about your fi nances diff erently 93

The golden handcuff s 94

Money and happiness 95

The cycle of consumption 97

Escape begins with defi nition 100

Redefi ne personal fi nance 102

Manage your fi nances diff erently 103

Conduct a personal fi nancial audit 104

Crunch the numbers behind your escape 105

See your escape as a startup 107

Minimise costs 108

Save intelligently 110

Earn creatively 112

Avoid debt (or pay it down) 114

Build assets, question liabilities 115

Invest in yourself, not stuff 117

5 Evolution Not Revolution 121

Pre-decision 123

Fight the fear 124

Enforce limits, push back 126

Get better at listening 128

Stop reading, start acting 130

Post-decision 133

Don’t quit just yet 134

Just start (but start small) 136

Test towards the way that works 138

Create a checklist 140

Cultivate partners-in-crime 141

Reframe the risk 143

Resign (carefully) 144

Don’t expect a bunch of roses 146

PART TWO – POST-ESCAPE 151

6 Find an Exciting Job 153

Work is changing 155

Get clear on your decision criteria 157

Forget passions, what can you off er? 159

Get your head around “skills” 161

Hunt people not jobs 165

Tell a good story 167

Own your online presence 168

Hunt diff erently 169

Interview diff erently 172

7 Adventure 175

Escape the Matrix 177

Get perspective 178

Confront adversity 179

Plan, don’t plan 180

Adventure diff erently 184

8 Start Your Own Business 191

Why start a business? 193

Scratch your own itch 195

Ideas are cheap, execution counts 198

Bin the business plan 199

Funding your startup 201

Make meaning 207

Defi ne success 209

Get going with what you’ve got 211

Prepare yourself for the ride 213

9 There is No Guidebook 217

Commit 219

Trust the process 220

Fight fear 222

Don’t waste your time 224

Reject norms 226

Have an impact 228

Prepare for the mountain 230

Ignore cynics 232

Develop three traits 233

A Final Word 236

Footnotes 239

Recommended Escape Resources 243

Escapees To Take Inspiration From 248

About Escape the City 258

Acknowledgements 259

Index 260

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Escape The City is a community-focused business built around a simple concept: that there is more to life than doing unfulfilling work in big corporate companies. The online platform is designed to help corporate professionals find exciting jobs, start their own businesses, and go on big adventures.
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