Changing Jobs

8 Signs You Need To Get Out of Corporate America

Written by Peter Jones

There are a lot of perks that come with working in corporate America: the pay is usually good, there are usually decent benefits, and sometimes you get to sit in beanbag chairs and get your work-out in during your lunch break.

But there are also a ton of drawbacks. Here are 7 reasons you’re probably not well suited to the corporate climate and might consider getting out. You shouldn’t necessarily quit and run off to join the circus, but, you know, start looking around for other opportunities.

1. You’re not a natural brown noser.

Schmoozing is a requisite for the corporate world. Your talent and skills and the work you deliver—no matter how top notch—is not enough to get ahead. You could be by far the strongest link on the team and still get passed up for promotion in favor of some guy who just knows how to kiss butt. If you’re not the type to cultivate this skill, or you find the whole process abhorrent, maybe corporate is not for you.

2. Phonies make you sick.

Ever had a conversation with someone in the business world where you can tell they’re not really listening, not really there? Laughing at jokes like a zombie chorus when the jokes aren’t even funny? Coming out with lines that sound right out of an HR ad? Spewing corporatese left and right with no idea what they’re really trying to communicate? If you can’t handle a world of fake smiles and meaningless buzzwords anymore, just remember: it’s not you, it’s them.

3. You yearn to be in charge.

You’re not in the driver’s seat for your career—the corporation is. It will look after itself first and foremost: its own health, goals, longevity, and profit margin. If you want more control or agency in the way your career moves forward, try smaller businesses or other career avenues.

4. Benefits go bye-bye.

You used to get great perks and full benefits packages in corporate gigs. But nowadays, more companies are cutting costs by passing those costs on to their employees. Keeping their workers loyal, healthy, and happy is not as much of a priority anymore compared with profit margins and appeasing shareholders. You’re just a cog after all—and totally replaceable. If you want to be valued for your loyalty, maybe start looking elsewhere.

5. You’re not into being cutthroat.

People are leaping over the backstabbed dead bodies of their colleagues to get ahead. And this type of behavior will always be rewarded. If you’re a bit too tenderhearted for this, then you should rethink where you’re working. Especially considering you’re not necessarily being rewarded for your talents.

6. It’s all about the money.

No one cares about you personally in a corporate job—and certainly not your partner, your aging parents, or your kids. No one really cares about making a difference or saving the world—despite what their commercials lead you to believe. What they care about is profit. That’s the bottom line. If you’re more altruistic, or just a little bit less profit-obsessed, maybe move along.

7. The hours are too much to handle.

It’s one thing putting in ridiculous hours for a job you really love, one that’s really doing something for your life and career goals, i.e. doing what you love. It’s another thing entirely to be slaving away nights, weekends, after hours, when you know you’re not personally valued and the work you’re doing isn’t making much of a difference in the world.

8. You’re too creative.

Never mind being too tenderhearted for the vicious Game-of-Thronesy work climates, you’re just too darned creative for the structure and the monotony of meetings and memos that comprise the corporate 9-to-5. Maybe you find yourself unable to focus with all the meaningless noise. Maybe you’re not productive on the normal daily schedule, and work best from, say, noon to six. Maybe your brain works best in fits of productivity, with plenty of time to roam around and do other tasks in between, to rest your juices. Maybe you’d be much better off getting paid a higher amount per hour, and working fewer hours. Maybe you just feel a cubicle is a cage for your brain. Maybe numbers aren’t your jam. And maybe, just maybe, you’re incredibly talented and need a bit of an unorthodox structure in a place that values your particular set of skills. Either way, you’re very likely to be stifled in the corporate world.

About the author

Peter Jones