This is a seven part series on unplugging from the cubicle. Join the discussion, or read and absorb.

The Cube, Monday Morning

You’re sitting inert, facing artificial walls constructed of laminate. The wood veneer desk is slightly short, knocking your knees on the underside whenever you lift your legs. The only glare your computer screen receives is from blue tinged, fluorescent lighting. Your eyes bore into the monitor, counting each new email with dread. Every message is a demand. A coffee, that might shake droopy eyes and motivate some action. You rise, but pause, then sink downward like a weighted anchor. The boss is in the coffee room, rattling off scores from the latest hockey game. If you join, he’ll ask for that report again. It’s overdue, when the hell will you have it ready??

The repressed part of your brain recalled a vague interest in this career. Nowadays, you can’t sleep through the night. Stress has concentrated nicely at a spot on your lower back – a knot that manifests by throbbing incessantly. There are methods to feeling better. A spiffy, new pair of black dress pants. Deep tissue massage for your aching back. The mother of all televisions just went on sale at Best Buy, a 40″ LCD HDTV. You’ve been eyeing it for some time. Splurge, you deserve it.

You feel renewed, springing up to grab that coffee, satisfied that options exist to improve your life. Next week you repeat the same episode, eventually you notice a pattern. All those band aids to mask discomfort still leave you depressed or worse – apathetic.

I’m About to Commit Seppuku

What you long for is escape – a way out. Instead of working through lunch, spreadsheet configurations are replaced with computer research. Viola, you hit pay dirt.

  • Digital nomad.
  • Location independent.
  • Internet entrepreneur.

What do these terms signify? In my estimation, anything you wish.

You can hide behind leather pumps or tailored linen suits, but you can’t run from stark truths. Something has to change. A million times I hear this: but it’s so difficult. How?? We cling to our comfort zones, living out our days in cubicle farms instead of touching actual peat moss or breathing air that wasn’t re-filtered through an HVAC system.

I understand, because I am you.

A multitude of articles will guide you with practical steps. Those resources are extremely valid, important and needed. When I began my search, a black hole seemed to exist for those needing to detach. Sure I could log onto Teachings of the Buddha and grab for purchase, but after digesting a lesson, I was left floating in the ethereal, never quite feeling rooted to my experience. On a subconscious level, a series of stages will occur, while the conscious self continues with daily tasks.

Seven Stages of Unplugging

We are creatures with cognitive abilities, able to deduce conclusions. Somehow, we need closure with our old lives, before a new one can sprout and prosper. I scampered to categorize the varied emotions I experienced. The only parallel I could produce was the 7 stages of grief.

Leaving the cubicle is akin to saying goodbye after someone passes. Call it metaphorical death, or psychological rebirth, you really do bid farewell to who you were in the corporate world.

Certainly, I’ll give you tips. Be glad to eek out a story or two, but if you honestly ache to unplug, every single digital nomad added to your feed reader had to start at the beginning. I won’t lie, the beginning is not pretty. It’s messy, downright heartbreaking, yet uplifting all at once.

Just remember –  the key to doing is unraveling. As we say in the cube, “At the end of the day, the numbers will add up.”

Bookmark this page, because it will be updated with each stage.

Stage 1 – Duty or Desire.

Stage 2 – Fear.

Stage 3 – Denial.

Stage 4 – Anger.

Stage 5 – Acceptance.

Stage 6 – Action.

Stage 7 – Solutions.

Photos: silent (e) and slworking under Creative Commons.