Escaping the city doesn’t always happen overnight. Whilst the idea of everybody instantaneously quitting their jobs in the banks and insurance firms is an enticing – and downright revolutionary – one, making such a leap can be difficult if you don’t yet know where you’re leaping to.
You’re already reading the Escape blog. Chances are that you’ve at least been thinking about making your escape, but you may not be quite ready to take the full plunge just yet. Why not test the water first?
Escaping is a big step, to say the least. The great escapee Andy Dufresne didn’t break out of Shawshank in one day. He started slyly chipping away at his cell wall long before he was able to find his way through the river of shit and into the glorious world of freedom beyond.
Is this metaphor working for you?
I’d like to share with you three ways that will help you begin to move away from the confines of your own daily grind.
1. Explore your own business ideas.
It’s often difficult to find the energy to do anything more than sink into the sofa after another long week at work. Yet setting aside time to work on a project that you’re passionate about can start an exciting chain of events. Online resources such as Nesta’s Innovation Toolkit mean that producing a rigorous and realistic business model from your own bedroom has never been easier. Switch off the TV, and start honing your entrepreneurial expertise.
2. Reboot your network.
Although it might seem that your network extends only as far as your LinkedIn connections, the human waiting to link you with the opportunity of a lifetime may be found in a much more obvious place. Once you start taking an active interest in the third and fourth sector worlds, you’d be surprised how many people you encounter who share such proclivities.
House parties of old college acquaintances tend to throw up one or two interesting conversations with those already thriving in the non-corporate sector. People you know are doing amazing things. It’s never too late to join them.
3. Escape the office… physically.
Whilst I’m not advocating skipping work here, there are ways that you can legitimately excuse yourself from the office to test out new environments. Two recent events at the secondary school where I’m currently on placement demonstrated this to great effect. The first, an Inspiring Futures event, involved volunteers from a variety of professions taking time out to offer careers advice to students. The other, organised by Education and Employers, invited businesspeople to deliver mock interviews for Year 11s.
These initiatives have been hugely beneficial for the students, and have had an interesting impact on the volunteers as well. “This place is the future!” enthused one gentleman who fell in love with the school after just half a day. Volunteering with such organisations, not just in schools but across the social spectrum might just have a similar galvanising effect on you.
Any of these simple opportunities could provide the first concrete move towards great and long-term change.
So what are you waiting for?
‘Get busy living, or get busy dying.’
- Andy Dufresne.
Luke Davis is a Fellow at the Year Here postgraduate course in social innovation. If you are bright, ambitious and agree with the philosophy that society can’t be changed from behind a desk, you can apply for their 2015/16 cohort by clicking here.