Ok, just to be clear I'm not planning to escape the City. Not yet at least.
However it seems a lot of people are trying to, for various reasons, but many are unable to or find it difficult to do so.
Luckily for them, a company has sprung up to help them do exactly that. "Escape the City" are, conveniently for me, located in the City a stone's throw from the Bank of England. Set up by two guys in 2010 wanting to escape the corporate world, they claim they can help people to look outside the box and to finally put them on a path towards "Doing work they love".
I recently went to to one of their evening workshops to see what it was all about.
Looking at the number of attendees (the large room was full!) it seems like a lot of people are trying to leave!
What surprised me was how young the audience seemed to be. I guess most people seemed to be around the 30's mark. Does this mean that young people these days are looking for more than the City can offer? Maybe these days people want more than money. Flexibility maybe, and the holy grail that is the work - life balance. The sooner companies realise this and improve flexibility the sooner they'll be able to retain the people they want to. Or the young people just might not like their colleagues (which is what one of the attendees told me)!
But why do many people find it hard to leave?
Perhaps they have no idea where they would go?
Maybe they lack the confidence?
They might not know their real passions.
The T+C's might be so good that they fear giving that up for the unknown.
Perhaps they have huge financial ties, mortgage, kids, life!
It might even be a case of better the devil you know.
Again numerous reasons that stop a lot of people from leaving.
So what were my take-aways:
I came home and said to my wife: "you have already escaped" (she left her full-time City job last year and now works part-time and runs her own business on the other days). I also realised that I actually had no burning need to escape. This is because I now work 4.5 days a week, get to see more of my family, AND, importantly, have "side gigs" in the form of blogging as City Dad and helping my wife run her business.
The truth is that there's no simple answer to the Money question. Yes if you're young, free, and single, with no mortgage, you can simply jack it all in and go back and live with your mum (something a previous "escapee" stood up and told us she was doing). But for the rest of us, it's not that simple.
According to Escape the City, you have to try and find your passion. Sometimes you have to take action before you really know exactly what you're doing. Don't be afraid of fear; all of the most successful people have been afraid at some point but learnt to overcome it.
There's no easy answer though and probably no perfect solution. If you keep looking or waiting for the perfect situation, you'll probably never find it. Act now, think later.
I wish everyone all the luck in the world in achieving their escape, whatever that may entail and who knows, one day City Dad might morph into Country Dad - I'll keep you posted!
N.B. This blog first appeared here: http://www.cityparents.co.uk/Blog/Cityfathers/257.htm_ on 15 June 2015