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When children are asked what their dream job would be, you never hear I want to work in a corporation, sit in a cubicle, and do mundane tasks on a computer. In my candy-addled adolescent brain, garbage man ranked higher on my potential job list than corporate drone. Corporate life, while clearly not as glamorous as picking up trash, can be a good atmosphere for a large pool of the workforce to spend their twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, and sixty-somethings. That being said, not everyone will flourish emotionally and professionally in a corporate atmosphere. Here are 7 signs you might want to flee corporate life asap.

1. It’s enmeshed in petty power games.

Petty power games, while not present in every facet of corporate life, do have a long-standing history of cropping up in the business world. It’s a dog eat dog world. Unfortunately, not everyone is equipped to go all Game of Thrones on their scheming co-workers. And some ethically object to such unhanded tactics to get ahead. If you fall into either of these categories, be wary. If you can’t seem to escape the power struggles, you might want to flee to safer professions.

2. You can have unreasonable managers.

Unreasonable managers can turn corporate life into an unbearable nightmare. Managers who demand you be on hand 24/7 rather than 9-5, managers who drag you into crazy (and possibly illegal) schemes, and managers who encourage drama have a way of destroying everyone that they come in contact with. The first time it happens, you might want to flee to another company. If you keep attracting these unreasonable beings, it might be a sign you should get out while you can.

3. You can’t find the FUN in your co-workers.

F is for friends that do stuff together. U is for you and me. N is for nowhere anywhere at all…you get the picture. The fact of the matter is that the ability to cultivate work friends is what keeps all of us corporate drones from going postal.

Here’s a fact: the more friends you have at work, the more you will love the company. The more you love the company, the more productive you will be. The more productive you are, the higher the chance you’ll achieve your professional goals. Making one friend at work will increase the chance of this cycle of professional success by 21%.

If you can’t seem to get past the awkward office conversation phase with your co-workers, take some time to look up how to make connections at work. If all else fails, seek a job outside of corporate America. Allow personal friends and family to skyrocket you to professional success.

4. There is a low threshold for idiocy.

In the words of the immortal Miranda Priestly, tales of your incompetence do not interest me. A low threshold for worker mistakes is a great trait for a manager…not a great one for a corporate drone who has no aspirations to ascend to a leadership position.

Are your expectations too high? Are you reaching for the stars? It doesn’t really matter. You have no control over how much incompetence a co-worker can possess before they’re eventually fired. And while you could move to a new company, every corporation has a few under-performers. There is no escape from the incompetence. If the stress from dealing with them leads to an ulcer the size of Texas, it might be time to leave corporate life.

5. If you’re a rebel without a cause.

If you’ve never shed your inner rebellious teenager, the corporate world might not be for you. Corporate life tends to have large collections of pre-ordained rules and guidelines that you must follow. You can argue until you’re blue in the face that the rules make no logical sense, but chances are you will still be required to follow them. The constant urge to break the illogical rules is dangerous. A stagnated professional corporate career and the inability to hold a job awaits these individuals. If you have a hard time following rules (even bizarre ones), run as fast as you can away from corporate life.

6. You can’t find joy in menial tasks.

Do you feel like pulling your hair out because the tasks you’re assigned every day could be performed by a chimp? Unfortunately a good chunk of the tasks you might be assigned as a corporate professional are mind-numbingly boring and easy.

Good corporate drones embrace the menial tasks. We realize, hey, if the company wants to pay me to do (enter menial task here) who am I to complain? Not everyone is wired this way. Some need almost all of their tasks to be mentally stimulating and produce a feeling of accomplishment. So damn tired of menial tasks? Might be time to try for a promotion that will allow you to assign less menial tasks to yourself. And if all else fails, run for the hills before your brain melts.

7. There is a constant buzz of stress.

Corporate life can be extremely high stress. Constant deadlines, a high-pressure company culture, and a fast pace can lead to short-term or long-term anxiety. Some individuals are better equipped to handle every stressful circumstance the company throws their way. Workers who are incapable of dealing with stress face serious mental and physical health problems. Studies have shown that stressed employees tend to have more health problems, more sick days, and a higher chance of injuries than their non-stressed co-workers. Before you leave corporate life entirely, try to test out a few different jobs. If the stress is consistent across those jobs it’s time to try a different profession.


Samantha Stauf spends her free time writing articles about board games, comics, career problems, and education. She enjoys hunting down strawberries. You can touch base with her on twitter at @Samstauf.

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