You will break free of your corporate life. You will take a new path.
Your life will change…
So will your relationship with the society.
Simply because change begets, and necessitates change, changing your corporate life style to a life which is fundamentally different from it, will inevitably trigger and require accompanying changes.
Understanding the change which breaking free of corporate life will bring to your relations with the society and preparing for them can make your transition much smoother and can make your new life a resounding success.
Therefore first you must understand your current position in the society, your society’s expectations, its conventions, then the potential changes which will come, and then prepare for those changes.
Condoned Life Paths
Every society has one or more ‘condoned’ life paths which people are expected to follow.
These condoned, desirable life paths may vary from society to society, and they may especially be modified by the expectations of your family or the sub-section of the society which your family belongs to.
However there are always various condoned life paths within any given society and any sub-segment of that society.
And majority of such condoned life/career paths commonly include variations of success embedded into statuses in corporate environments. Like the one which you want to break free from.
Even though the condoned life paths vary from country to country and also change with time, there are common traits in between societies in respect to what is defined as respectable, successful or acceptable for one’s job and career. The people are expected to follow these condoned, ‘respected’ life paths, and when they do, the society confers them certain statuses and a certain amount of respect – in addition to financial compensation.
As you follow such condoned/preferred life paths, your social circle, your standing in the society, your responsibilities within the society and society’s expectations from you get shaped. The path also defines your interactions with your own social circle and the general society at large.
When you leave your corporate life and with it, the condoned life path, you cannot expect your relationship with the society to stay the same.
Because your life will change
You cannot expect to leave your corporate job and your title and still stay connected to the work circle, colleagues and the broader network which you had before, for starters.
If your society is one which gives noticeable importance to and status to different professions, wealth or other status markers, you cannot expect to keep the same respect from your society after leaving your condoned path and possibly respectable title either.
Conversely, if you are living in a more egalitarian country in which professions or wealth do not carry much status and do not modify the social standing of persons, you could still lose your connection to your circle of colleagues and the network but your social standing within your society would not get modified much, if it gets modified at all.
The simplest thing which is to happen is that merely because now you are not in the same professional sphere, sharing a work lie, you are much more likely to get more distanced from your former colleagues. Even if you try to keep in contact outside of work context, you will still have a greater distance to your former colleagues or work friends and any other connection which you have due your work life. Simply not sharing the same activity sub-set of society, simply not participating in the same work and not seeing each other every day puts a great distance in between people.
Therefore, you must prepare for the social change which leaving your corporate job will bring to your immediate social circle. If a high number of your friends are from your work related social circle, and a high number of your activities are with the people from that circle, you must realize that you will need to replace them after you leave your corporate job. Some connections or friends could sure stay in your life, even if having less importance than before. But surely there will be a broad change and you must prepare for it.
For example you can start connecting to people from the new social sphere or work field which you will be transitioning to, even before leaving your corporate job. You can start engaging in activities with these people, you can start attending events, conventions or whatever other social gathering which your social sphere has.
Or alternatively you can increase the number of your friends from outside your work field, and give weight to activities with people who will not be affected by your pending life change. If you have a large family or large number of relatives and you are on good terms with them, you can give weight to your relationships with them in order to make up for the major change in your social life as well.
In general, it is a more balanced approach to give weight both to your friends outside work and start making connections with people in your new field of activity before you leave your corporate job. This will provide a more balanced social circle, including non work related social connections, friends, as well as work related people.
For some, status is a major concern
Some societies give considerable importance to jobs, work titles and accompanying statuses.
In such societies, your relationship with the society at large could change greatly. The respect in between you and third parties in your society, ranging from your grocer to landlord, may be greatly modified.
In such cases you must carefully evaluate which social position you will be occupying in your job or new area of activity. If the disparage in between your social status from before and your social status after is too high, and this would affect your life or such things are of importance to you, you must prepare for the change by finding
For example you could move to a location in which you would be less affected by changing your status. Or, you could move to a location which you are not familiar with the people, therefore making it easier for you to adopt to the change as the new neighborhood will get to know you with your new life.
Or, if you are going to stay in your current neighborhood, you can start getting the locals accustomed to your life change slowly, by mentioning that you wish to leave your corporate job, citing reasons which are acceptable and understandable by them. And you can present your new job or field of activity, or whatever new form you will give your life very positively, therefore slowly getting them accustomed to the pending change and allowing them to place you in a new status in their mind.
Of course, it is impossible to get positive reactions from everyone. There could be people who would see you as less or as a rebel for leaving your condoned, desirable job, and social status. They may respect you less, and treat you less.
Conversely, there may be people who would see you as a brave person, a trailblazer who follows what life calling you have. And therefore respect you more for that reason and treat you much better.
In the end, you cannot control or modify other peoples’ minds and preferences. It’s not up to you to do that. You are the owner of your own life, and you can steer it in the direction you want.
You just need to be prepared to people coming into your life and falling out of your life due to the big change you are going to make.
Understand your society and what it expects from people. Understand how will your new life route change your status within the society. Understand how will your relations with the society change.
Start getting your social circle used to the pending change by announcing it way before you change your life. Get them used to it slowly. Rationalize and advocate your change little by little. Make preparations for the change and be ready to change other aspects of your life if necessary.
Foremost, be brave and have faith in your new route.
We are going to investigate the effect which leaving your corporate job can have on your relationship with your family and friends, in second part of “How to break free from corporate life” series: “Part 2 – Preparation for the effects on relationship with your family”.