This is a guest submission by Gwen from

Escape From Cubicle World

I’m not sure I can pinpoint the exact moment that I knew I was living the wrong life. The wrong “work life,” that is.  It wasn’t one specific event that triggered my realization that I was not meant to spend the rest of my days on earth holed up behind the gray walls of an 8 x 6 cubicle.

It was more of a “I can’t breathe in here,” feeling I got every time I set my laptop on the docking station and parked my ass in the black swivel chair.

Some days I wish I were more like those “other” people–the ones who appear to be completely comfortable with the sameness of their day job.

Those people who appreciate the stability (or perceived stability) of having a place to go every day, who park their car in the same parking spot, have an “office coffee cup,” and don’t have that urge to look beyond their compartmentalized work life and wonder what else might be out there for them. Or do they?

Well, somewhere along the way, I knew that I was never going to be one of those people. I like change. I like fluidity. I don’t do well in environments where the windows don’t open (aka…no way to escape). I felt a little like the life was being sucked out of me, that there had to be more.

I knew I had to flee. (And I’m ever thankful to my husband who continues to be the rock that has kept groceries in the house all these years. Thank you honey.)

And So It Began

I was working for a large corporation, in an online marketing role, and I was miserable. Physically and emotionally, I was drained at the end of every day. It affected my health. It affected my mood. It affected my family. I was not a happy person. I didn’t even want to be around me.

Something had to give.

About 8 months ago, I started working on what I knew would be my future. I started working with small businesses, helping them with their social media. And I found myself having a blast. Over the course of those months, I built my business—working nights and weekends to support the clients I had already signed on, while building my own website and social media strategy.

Before I quit my “day job,” I made a list of the things I needed to accomplish. Pay off car. Put X amount of cash in my savings account. Set up my accounting. Get organized. Build website. And the list went on.

If you’re thinking of quitting, I suggest you create this kind of list. As exciting as it seems to just up and quit, the fact that I planned ahead, built up a few regular clients and socked away some rainy day money, made it a little easier when the time came to take the plunge.

Now, having urged you to create a plan, I can also tell you that I wish I had quit two months earlier. What I realized while I waited for the “perfect” time to quit was this: There won’t ever be a perfect time.

So when you DO create your list of things to do before you quit, add a target date. Having a date would have helped me move faster with my plan, and it would have granted me my freedom all the sooner.

Today, I am free from corporate America. It’s just not for me. Not now, and likely not ever. I enjoy meeting small business owners – helping them develop marketing strategies that will help them compete in their market.

There’s a sense of ownership that I feel today, with my clients. I am a partner in their success, and it matters.

As scary as it was to finally take the leap into my future, it was much scarier to me to think of myself hidden behind the walls of a cubicle 10 years from now.

In the words of Mark Twain, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails.”

So, here I go….


Gwen Morrison is a social media strategist and owner of Endurance Marketing. She’s a Canadian gal who has a wicked sense of humor (at least SHE thinks she does), and is happily living a less ordinary life in the Atlanta area.

You can find out more about her on her website, and follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

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