Are you trapped in Cubicle Nation?

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I have been doing a lot of thinking about my ideal client these days as I ponder the next phase of my business.

After simmering on this for the last couple of weeks, it suddenly hit me:

I want to free the prisoners of Cubicle Nation!

Cubicle Nation was not even a term that I knew of consciously before this afternoon.  It just came to me as I was walking my six-month old son around the house to put him to sleep.  I was suddenly overcome by the feeling of the oppressive, constraining, crazy-making environment of many corporations today.  I thought about the people that, like myself, know how to thrive in those environments, but by doing so feel their creative soul and spirit sucked dry.

I am getting clearer on the profile of someone in this situation. Can you relate?

  • You are a smart and capable professional that works in the corporate world
  • You have done all the "right things" in your career; gotten good grades, went to the right college, took a job at a prestigious company and quickly climbed the ranks
  • You have all the trappings of outward success
  • Despite this success, you often feel like an imposter and wonder when everyone is going to find out that you are actually absolutely the wrong person for your job
  • You hate playing office politics, biting your tongue, and watching your creative projects whither and die by getting caught in endless committee reviews and revisions until they are lame, gutless corporate initiatives that have zero chance of making a difference
  • You want to escape and do something creative, adventurous and bold like start a new business or teach scuba diving but you are afraid to leave the security of your job

I know these people are out there because I have run into them for years in corporations across America!  They want to make a change but are terrified to actually do it. 

There are many people inside corporations that feel energized, motivated and happy with their jobs.  More power to them!

But for those that have never quite "fit in" and feel the oppressive, Big Brother-like dread of working in Cubicle Nation, I think we have some juicy possibilities here!

9 Responses to “Are you trapped in Cubicle Nation?”

  1. faisal says:

    This is the first post? Wow quite well laid out for the first post, Pam you knew it day one you will be making it big!

  2. Yusuf says:

    I have been listening to the audiobook version of your book. Am loving it. I recently setup my blog and made the first post, so I am very encouraged to see your first blog post. Your blog and book are going to be my close guides in my personal quest for escape from cubicle nation. I have even helped my 7 year old daughter to setup her blog and teaching her these principles (with a healthy dose of patience) so hopefully she never enters this “prison” system.

  3. Chris Lee says:

    So cool to be able to go back and see your first post, Pam. 🙂 Really glad you wrote that Favorite Blog Posts post. Hitting them all up.

  4. I was once living in Cubicle Nation. It wasn’t all bad but I gotta say, this is SO MUCH BETTER. As my friends quit one by one it got me thinking about what my next move should be. A lot of them were going back to school, so I started to research that option. After about a year of talking to people about schools, and working up the nerve with the help of my therapist, I got an application sent out. Sure enough, I was accepted to the graduate program of my choice and with a complete financial aid package! I was pretty scared about leaving. Yes, I had to leave the paychecks, move from Chicago to Tucson, leave my friends and family and the city I had grown into.(I didn’t have a morgage or a car payment though – didn’t own any property or a car.) I had never even SEEN the southwest before I moved here, but I somehow convinced my boyfriend to come with me and now, almost a year later I’m thrilled with where I am. I love the program and decided I am indeed going to become a Professor of Hispanic Literature. So far I have a 4.0 and more opportunities keep coming… I love all the classes that I take (and teach!). The Tucson sunny skies really lift my spirits. Not to mention, my boyfriend and I are now plannin our wedding! Point being, if you are stuck in a lifestyle/job you aren’t satisfied with, you CAN make a change. It might not be easy. In fact, it might be brutally HARD for a while, but the pay off could be a happiness you find yourself thanking God for every single day!

  5. John says:

    Yikes, your description of a cubicle prisoner hits a little too close to home.

    I’m still a prisoner, or a repeat offender at very least, while I save enough start-up $$ and get my head straight for the next launch of a new, wacky and highly profitable career. My big challenge is keeping focused on the exploration/questioning I need to do vs. the work I perform for the pragamatic realities. Its so easy to get distracted while bringing in the paycheck.

    So is this the beginning of a support group? If so, “Hi, my name is John, and I’m a cubo-holic”.

  6. Rashida says:

    I am on my fourth week away from cubicle nation after being laid off. And I love it! Yes, I still freak out about what the future holds but I have realized that there is a whole life out there outside of those cube walls. I never quite felt like I belonged in a cube anyway. How could I affect positive change doing what I was doing? So, the uncertainty is worth it to me. I finally feel like I am on the road to something more meaningful!

  7. Edie Biddle says:

    Interesting and timely messages for me. I’ve been out of work for almost a year now and really trying to find a way to prevent going back to Cubicle Nation. I’ve been bouncing around an idea with a potential business partner, who just yesterday decided to go back to the Tribe! I am determined to perserve and figure out a way to stay out. It wasn’t fun my last two years in that hell hole and I can’t imagine that much has changed that would make it any different today. Different faces and location, but at the end of the day, the same old feelings. I’d love the chance to call the shots in my life. If I’m going to work hard, it might as well be for myself. There is of course, the lure of a steady paycheck which I must admit I am missing.

  8. Desiree Adaway says:

    Escaping can be harder than it looks? You have kids, mortgages, car payments. Yet the money coming from this cubicle hell allows you to visit the cape very summer and Hawaii every winter.

    How do you find the nerve to let it all go?

    • Andre says:

      I love the fact that I just finished reading the “Side Hustle and Flow Interview Series” and that I found Desiree Adaway’s business there…and now here you were, back in 2005, asking how to find the nerve to let go.
      Apparently you found it! Congratulations!
      Me next…