Escape from Corporate America

March 1st, 2008

The latest brief from the "Escape from Corporate America" movement comes by way of a great article by in Condé Nast Portfolio. The piece focuses on the growing number of Millenial generation workers who are quitting their well-paid and prestigious corporate jobs to pursue careers with meaning.

The story cites research that has shown that workers born after 1980 (approximately 80 million of them) care much more about how they spend their time on the job than about how much money they make. For the Millenials profiled in Viana’s article, it’s all about passion — passion so strong they were willing to give up six-figure salaries to start new companies from scratch.

In my own research, I have found that members of the Millenial generation are much more confident and vocal about their desire for meaningful work, but they’re not the only ones seeking career fulfillment. I interviewed professionals from all age groups who walked away from job security to pursue their dreams.

I think it just takes a little bit longer for Gen Xers and Baby Boomers to feel ready to make such a dramatic career change — most have been trained to climb the corporate ladder and many have been taught that job fulfillment is a selfish idea. Meanwhile, the Millenials have been raised to believe they can be whatever they want to be — CEOs, entrepreneurs,  or rock stars.

While some mock the Millenial sense of entitlement, there may be lessons that the rest of us can learn from them. I think it’s inspiring to see people willing to give up fat paychecks to try to change the world or at least find work that they love. Check out the links below to the web sites of the corporate escapees profiled in Viana’s article (you’ll find links to other great corporate escapees in my "Escape Artists" blogroll over there –> ):

  • — An online political hub started by former investment banker Manish Vora
  • — A social networking site that connects people who are passionate about the same issues, founded by former management consultant Ben Rattray.
  • — An online hub for researching charities, launched by former hedge fund players Holden Karnofsky and Elie Hassenfeld.

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