Remember that scene from the movie, A Christmas Story? The one where the boy gets his tongue stuck to a frozen metal pole in the middle of winter? I laugh so hard every time I see this movie, and that scene in particular, only because I did this myself when I was 7 years old!
A little sidebar here… If you’ve never licked a frozen metal pole, my advice is don’t try it! Believe me, your tongue will stick fast and strong, and it hurts like you-know-what if you pull it off. The remedy? Pour warm water over your tongue to melt the ice.
Now, on to my story.
One freezing cold night when I was a kid, I decided that the frosty, sparkling metal pole anchoring the chain link fence in my backyard looked good enough to taste. So I stuck out my tongue and leaned in to lick it.
But as soon as I put my tongue to the frosty pole, I knew I made a terrible mistake. My mom was nearby, and she saw me do it, but she couldn’t reach me in time to stop me. Just like a slow motion movie, I heard her scream out “Noooooo!” But alas, it was too late. I was stuck to the pole with a bond stronger than Super Glue.
I panicked. I just wanted to be free of the metal and I started tugging. My mom tried to calm me and tell me to wait until my dad came out with a glass of warm water to pour over my swollen tongue, but I couldn’t hear her words.
I ripped my tongue from the pole and an entire layer of skin quickly peeled away with it. It hurt like, well, you know…. It was a very traumatic experience for a little girl.
Now what does this have to do with leaving a corporate job?
Well, picture this: your corporate job is that temptingly, frosty, frozen pole. You are the innocent child who thinks it’s a really good idea to lick that pole. After all, it promises so many things, just like that corporate job.
“We’ll get benefits!”
“It offers long term job security.”
“The money is pretty good.”
“There are opportunities for advancement.”
We all know these things are fleeting in a job, especially the so-called security. The average corporate executive position is only 2.7 years in length, so those people continue to bounce from job to job, never being able to stay for very long. Many of us know people, or we are those people, who have experienced one or more layoffs over the past few years.
And benefits at any corporate job have become scarce. Employees are paying more of their own income for health care benefits, and personal days and vacations benefits are being shortened or taken away altogether. Obamacare is also causing chaos in health benefits.
Then, this is where the real pain comes in. Now that you’re stuck to that corporate job by your vulnerable little tongue, you may start to get restless. You may have decided that you’ve had enough of that crazy job, and now may be the time to leave.
Unfortunately, it’s not so easy, is it? There are tough decisions to make. You may have a family that relies on you and your income. But you know you have to leave to preserve your sanity. You start to tug away from the frozen pole, only to feel the pain. But rip away you must. Yep, it stings.
Even more painful is leaving your job’s future in the hands of someone else. Maybe the decision makers at your job say they no longer need you as they push you away from the frozen pole by force. Ouch! That only rips away more skin, leaving you with not only an open sore, but wounded pride as well.
The real key to avoiding this pain is to not lick that pole in the first place (please see my warning above). But almost everyone starts out in a job in one way or another, and many never leave.
This whole scenario sounds depressing and painful, and it is for many of us. I see people every day who choose the job over what I personally feel is a better alternative – business ownership. I can share all kinds of stats with them to show that the longer one stays in a corporate job, the less secure it becomes, while the longer one is in business, the more secure it becomes over time.
Yet most people choose to remain stuck to their poles… um, jobs. Deep down, they know that leaving will be painful no matter how it’s done or who makes the decision, so they just don’t do it.
So is the lure of the corporate job keeping you stuck just like your tongue to a frozen metal pole in the dead of winter?
Well, there is some good news – at least when you want to be free of the pole, after the initial shock and sting of ripping it away, your tongue will actually heal.