• What’s that era between

    your late twenties and early thirties?

    Whatever it’s called, it’s when it seems like you have to make A Lot Of Big Decisions All At Once.

    Whether you’re navigating the quest to find work you love, or summoning the courage to quit a situation that brings you down… you’re never the only one struggling.

     

    These are the insights of someone who overheard the soul-searching of a whole range of London millennials, through several years with Escape the City. She turned those experiences into observations for the Huffington Post - at first about work and startups, and then about the juicier stuff: life, love and womanhood.

  • Can’t we be single AND awesome?

    "What's funny to me is that something must be off or else you would be in that 'utopia' called togetherness. If you're awesome, you should be taken. If you're single, you must not be awesome. But hang on - if you're awesome AND single... WAIT. This makes NO SENSE!"

  • It’s Okay Not to Be Passionate About Your Day Job

    "A job used to be a long-term arrangement whereby you provided skills and your employer provided compensation for said skills - end of story. Today's workplace seems to be much more than just a marketplace. For millennials, 'work' has almost taken on a spiritual obligation - it has become a place where we are meant to find meaning and redeem not only ourselves but also the world around us."

  • How to be a useful woman

    "If you're an entrepreneur, you're a hunter: you're looking to grow your resources to bring back to the cave and there's something fundamentally masculine about that. Meanwhile, females are socially conditioned to focus on nesting - on making the cave look pretty and taking care of the children."

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  • About the author

    Adele Barlow has worked in marketing for some of London's top tech start-ups shaping the future of work, namely Escape the City, Lexoo and Makers. She writes for The Huffington Post and is the author of “Finding Fulfilling Work”, “Leaving Law: How Others Did It & How You Can Too”, and "8 Ways to Escape the MBA Debate”. She grew up in Hong Kong, New Zealand and Malaysia, and lives in London.

  • Contents

    An entertaining and engaging collection of essays

    about the issues that only you can figure out for yourself

    WORK

    1. Overcoming the Overachiever’s Quarter Life Crisis

    2. It’s Okay Not to Be Passionate About Your Day Job

    3. Why Is Running Away to the Beach Not the Solution?

    STARTUPS

    4. What’s the most bullshit startup advice out there?

    5. How do you start a business that changes the world?

    6. How to Leave Law and Raise $1.3Million for Your Startup

    LIFE

    7. What Nobody Tells You About Turning 31

    8. Why I’m Not Setting New Year's Resolutions

    9. How do you make big decisions?

    WOMEN

    10. How to be a useful woman

    11. Why Female Entrepreneurs Are Scared to Lean In

    12. What if I don’t want kids until it’s too late?

    LOVE

    13. Can’t we be single AND awesome?

    14. Why Every Man Needs A Therapist

    15. What I'd Tell Her Daughter About Heartbreak

  • Introduction

    “There must be more to life than this. There must be something more fulfilling and rewarding which would also allow me to make a living. I feel a bit lost in where to start or which direction to go, so I'm looking for advice.”

    This was the core message I came across when I was with Escape the City (“Escape”), a website helping people find fulfilling work. Okay, “website” doesn’t do it justice: as cliched as this might be in millennial circles, it felt more like a movement.

     

    Startups change shape quickly but when I was there, Escape was a community of motivated corporate professionals wanting to ‘do something different’ with their careers.

     

    I found myself quasi-counselling top graduates from the world’s leading universities. These bright millennials had followed all the rules, gotten “safe” and “sensible” jobs, then found themselves feeling lost.

     

    While accidentally moonlighting as their makeshift therapist, I met a lot of smart professionals who didn’t want to become a photocopy of someone else (whether that was their parent, boss, or partner).

     

    I was grateful to help build the first version of the Escape School as Education Director, to lead the global Escape community and to produce tons of events (almost 200, I calculated once), countless blog posts as well as email newsletters and essays.

     

    We’d explore leaving big corporates, pursuing alternative careers, building businesses, and going on big adventures. Ultimately, these endeavours were focused around the question posed above: where do we start, when it comes to finding work we love?

     

    Exploring these ideas was fun and I started writing for the Huffington Post. Discussing work and then startups led to writing about life and then love and then at some point, being a woman. This is a collection of those articles.