I have a vivid recollection of when I was six years old. The Devil Wears Prada was playing on the television screen following the iconic narrative of a young woman navigating the treacherous waters of a high-profile fashion magazine. I was captivated.
Anne Hathaway's character, embodying a dishevelled look and an unrelenting sense of urgency, struck a chord deep within me. That was the moment I aspired to ascend the corporate ladder and join the ranks of those who seemed to have it all.
Driven by curiosity, as soon as the movie ended. I rushed to the computer, eager to discover how I could secure such a coveted position. This marked my initial encounter with the corporate world.
As I grew older, I perceived the corporate realm as a domain reserved for the elite, a prize that demanded to be earned. Film and television portrayed corporate careers as glamorous and exciting, and those who held such positions appeared even cooler. The next natural step was to become those individuals. Right?
WRONG. My bubble burst quite abruptly as I got older. It began with a close friend of mine that was facing a difficult family situation with his mother's emotional instability. He got his shifts covered and informed his boss of the circumstances, only to be met with a cold refusal. His supervisor brutally declared, "Welcome to the corporate world. Your family matters are your parents' issue, and you should not get involved. You have to come into work."
My friend was in disbelief that the company he had devoted years to showed no empathy or understanding for his plight. He was fortunate enough to have a resourceful family, which provided a safety net, allowing him to sever ties with the corporation and its unreasonable culture.
Shortly after, I heard about an incident in which the CEO dismissed 900 employees via a Zoom call right before Christmas. I recall this sparked an intense debate and scrutiny of corporate culture. 1
There was an impersonal nature of the mass firings, which not only highlighted the potential dehumanization within the corporate world but also raised important questions about ethics, leadership and the responsibilities of those in power.
Any healthy work environment cultivates trust and respect between employers and employees. When actions such as these mass firings occur, it erodes the very foundation of that relationship. The incident became a reminder that the bottom line takes precedence over the well-being of the workforce.
As the novelist and philosopher Aldous Huxley once stated, "Technological progress has merely provided us with more efficient means for going backwards.”
This eye-opening experience served as a potent reminder that the corporate world was a double-edged sword, where the allure of success and prestige only came at the expense of compassion and humanity. The renowned author and business consultant Simon Sinek aptly stated:
The glamor and excitement portrayed in movies and television shows stood in stark contrast to the stories I heard about the corporate world. In a 2020 study, it was revealed that over 60% of millennials and Gen Z respondents felt stressed, all or most of the time, due to work. 2
As the world adapted to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, the nature of work underwent a radical transformation. Remote work became the norm, with a significant portion of the global workforce operating from home. This shift prompted many to reevaluate their priorities and reconsider traditional career paths, leading to a surge in entrepreneurial ventures. I was one of those people.
The internet, in all its boundless potential, unveiled a path for me toward liberation from the constraints of the corporate world.
LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman once said, "An entrepreneur is someone who jumps off a cliff and builds a plane on the way down." This spirit of innovation and adaptability is crucial for people that are seeking to escape the confines of traditional employment.
This was the era rife with political agendas and global uncertainty. I discovered my beacon of hope in a community of like-minded individuals on Twitter. These were people that aspired for autonomy, flexibility, and the freedom to pursue their passions. Surrounding yourself with those who share similar goals and ambitions can be transformative.
I’ll be honest with you. Money Twitter makes it seem like it is so easy to hit 10k, 20k and 30k a month. But this journey is not for the faint-hearted. It’s for those that are tired of the way their life is unfolding and want to align their actions to their purpose. You need to be willing to put in your blood, sweat, and tears and work around the clock to get traction for your business. And the truth is you won’t put that kind of energy and commitment in until you discover your reason for wanting to work for yourself.
My quest for a life away from the corporate world was deeply rooted in my longing for the simple yet profoundly meaningful aspects of life.
I yearned for a sense of control over my existence. I was searching for mornings filled with tranquillity and introspection rather than a calendar of deadlines dictated by someone else.
The freedom to embrace my authentic self was paramount, as the esteemed psychologist Carl Rogers observed, "The only person who is educated is the one who has learned how to learn and change." I yearned for autonomy, free from the constant scrutiny and direction of others.
I longed for an opportunity to connect deeply with family and friends, nurturing those cherished relationships. Collaborating with like-minded individuals who shared a similar passion for meaningful work was another driving force.
Longing was not enough, and I had to take that leap.
I was observing the global shift in work dynamics, fueled by events such as the pandemic and the rise of remote work. They spurred a reevaluation of priorities and values for people’s professional and personal lives.
Now, it's time to ask yourself why.
Why are you reading this? What aspects of your life are causing your unhappiness? And most importantly, HOW are you going to enact that change?
Remember, as the old adage goes, "Rome wasn't built overnight," and neither will your ideal life. It takes perseverance, determination, and a clear vision. You can begin by laying the foundation for a life that brings you satisfaction and contentment.
As each day passes, the internet continues to revolutionize the way we learn and acquire skills, creating a seemingly infinite array of resources to develop in-demand skills. As author and futurist, Alvin Toffler once said, "The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn."
With an abundance of resources at our fingertips, ANYONE possessing the motivation and dedication to invest time could become a sought-after expert in their chosen field. A report from the World Economic Forum revealed that 54% of all employees would require significant reskilling and upskilling by 2022.3
At the beginning of 2020, I utilized any resource that I could find. Online platforms like Coursera, Udemy, and LinkedIn Learning were gaining a lot of popularity across social media platforms due to their extensive offerings in diverse disciplines, ranging from coding and graphic design to marketing and data analysis.
These courses, taught by industry professionals, cater to a wide spectrum of learners, from beginners to advanced practitioners.
Platforms like edX and Khan Academy further democratized education by providing free courses from world-renowned universities, breaking down barriers to knowledge and opportunity.
There was also an increasing demand for skills such as analytical thinking, innovation, complex problem-solving, and critical thinking. I took all of these available things and got to work. I developed all the competencies to increase my market value by practicing simple characteristics people are missing nowadays. 4
Social media communities, particularly Twitter, emerged as treasure troves of invaluable sources for knowledge, exposure, and mentorship. Hashtags were a main method of connectors, linking like-minded individuals and fostering a supportive environment for learning and growth.
I remember at the beginning, I was tweeting into the void, sharing my values, life experiences, and observations of the world. Until one thing clicked, and that was it. My growth accelerated after that, both in terms of skill development and personal insight.
Engaging with others became a priceless means of forming connections with mentors and peers who provided guidance, support and job opportunities.
In the wise words of Leonardo da Vinci, "Learning is the only thing the mind never exhausts, never fears, and never regrets." Embracing a diverse set of skills enhanced not only my adaptability but also fostered a well-rounded perspective. This holistic approach to learning cultivated an environment in which my passions and talents could naturally gravitate toward me, rather than me attempting to constrain myself within a predetermined path.
Unlike the rigid structure of traditional university programs, the digital realm offers a fluid, dynamic learning environment that enables us to explore myriad interests and passions without constraint.
The internet embodies the boundless potential for growth and self-discovery.
With each new tab on your search engine, we unveil vast libraries flooding with resources and knowledge spanning countless topics.
As we immerse ourselves in this digital cornucopia, we not only expand our understanding of the world but also nurture our innate talents and desires.
As the eminent philosopher Socrates once said, "Wisdom begins in wonder."
Take that leap and embrace the gift of the internet, explore the uncharted territories of knowledge and let your passions lead you on a journey to self-realization and unbridled success.
This is your starting point.
- Cnn, & Valinsky, J. (2022, January 19). The CEO who fired 900 employees over Zoom is coming back. CTVNews. Retrieved March 19, 2023, from https://www.ctvnews.ca/world/the-ceo-who-fired-900-employees-over-zoom-is-coming-back-1.5746001
- O’Boyle, E. (2023, March 10). 4 things gen Z and millennials expect from their workplace. Gallup.com. Retrieved March 19, 2023, from https://www.gallup.com/workplace/336275/things-gen-millennials-expect-workplace.aspx
- We need a global reskilling revolution – here's why. World Economic Forum. (n.d.). Retrieved March 19, 2023, from https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/01/reskilling-revolution-jobs-future-skills/
- The Future of Jobs Report 2020. World Economic Forum. (n.d.). Retrieved March 19, 2023, from https://www.weforum.org/reports/the-future-of-jobs-report-2020