Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Pam Skillings says “Escape from Corporate America!”

In her new book, Escape from Corporate America, reformed corporate ladder-climber, Pam Skillings (pictured here at her very hip New York City book launch party) offers advice to wannabe escapees. "If your corporate career is leaving you stressed out, burned out, or just plain bummed out, you’re not alone,” she writes. “You don’t have to choose between paying the bills and enjoying a fulfilling career.”

With humor and personal accounts, she offers a seven-step approach to breaking free:

1. Assess your job’s “suck” factor.
2. Identify your true calling
3. Develop your escape plan
4. Find jobs that don’t bite.
5. Be your own boss.
6. Follow your creative dreams.
7. Overcome any obstacle.

Skillings, a career coach that made the leap in 2005, estimates that 80% of the working population fantasizes about leaving their jobs for something better. And, she admits that making the leap isn’t easy, but it is worthwhile. “It took me years of trial and error to escape corporate America. Once I left, I was amazed at how many people were dying to know how I did it and whether they could do it, too.”

How miserable are you? Skillings helps you find out with a short 11-question quiz that has you rate your general job satisfaction and identify long-term career goals. At the end, you’ll know if you are ridiculously satisfied, on the fence, disgruntled, or “need an intervention. Stat.”

The journey then begins in Part I of the book offers advice on how to Plan Your Escape. “This is not your father’s job market, she insists, and makes anyone on the fence, disgruntled, or in need of an intervention feel oh so much better; and she helps readers distinguish between “Bad Corporate and Good Corporate.”

And Skillings insists, “we are all entrepreneurs now.” “The age of the employee is over. No matter whom you work for or how many stock options you own, the future of your career is ultimately up to you.” She then offers help on how to “break up with your job.”

In Part II, Skillings gets down to the nitty-gritty of “Exploring Escape Routes.”Ideas include taking a break, swimming in a smaller pond, going solo, and building your own business. And the most importantly thing to remember, she says, is to follow your creative dreams. “The good news is that it’s possible to make the transition from corporate suit to artist. The change just takes creativity, hard work, and guts.”

Are you ready to “go over the wall?” Then you’ll find great comfort in Part III of the book where Skillings helps readers confront the fear factor, their identity crisis, and the boomerang effect. “When you encounter a particularly bumpy stretch on the road to freedom, try to remember that goals worth achieving are rarely easy.”

Have a nice escape. “Only you can decide if you’re really ready to escape from Corporate America,” Skillings concedes. “The most important thing to remember is that you always have options.”

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