Growing up on the wrong side of the tracks in the right school district sparked a fire deep down inside my gut. I was one of the only poor kids in the district, and that fire in my gut was the desire for MORE of everything. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was eventually going to pursue The Corner Office.

Although my parent always made sure they had the basics covered – food, shelter, clothes, transportation – they didn’t strive for higher incomes or the corner office. In a sense, they lived within their means. Unfortunately, their means were pretty low on the continuum scale. My father worked his entire life as a custodian and my mother was mostly a mother to 4 children, with a few work years sprinkled in here and there. Even though I wanted more than we had growing up, I was utterly clueless as to how to get from the Dog House to the Penthouse.


The sky was my limit

It took me about a year after graduating high school to figure out I was actually smart enough to not only seek a higher education but to also excel at it along the way. As soon as I got my first acceptance letter (from a reasonably-priced community college) I jumped into student mode and started devouring everything I could possibly learn in each class.

After about 7 years, I graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree. Woot!

Having that degree firmly in my hand meant I was able to land an awesome job in my scientific field of study right outta the gate. It paid well with solid bennies – even a pension plan. Yup.

NOTE: It took me 7 years to obtain a 4-year degree because I had to work full-time for about 5 of those 7 years. It wasn’t because I was switching majors or partying my butt off – even though I do regret not EVER partying my butt off. *Lame*

Related: How We Avoided Massive College Debt


Me after figuring out The Game

What I was lacking was the office politics know-how. I had absolutely ZERO idea there even existed such a thing. In fact, I would hear the term “politics” whispered around the break room and behind others’ backs and still didn’t understand what they were saying. Thinking back, it’s hard to believe I was so stupid.

I eventually caught on and figured out The Game *virtual eye roll*.  Suddenly, I started having lunches with people Who Mattered, I volunteered for extra projects, I went in early and worked late, I even went to happy hours with people I couldn’t stand.

And you know what? IT WORKED.

Before I knew it, I was being promoted and given raises and being asked to make schedules and manage other people. Slowly but surely I was working my way into The Corner Office.

After I felt I was stalling at one company, I went to another. I started the entire process over again but at a higher salary due to my promotions and raises at previous places of employment. Things were rolling in the right career direction. Yeah, baby!

Related: Hello. What Do You Do?


I changed direction

What I never anticipated was being on the wrong political team. At my next company, something went awry in the beginning and I wasn’t on the fast track anymore. *GASP*

There were several reasons things were slowing at the new company. They had started eliminating positions and talking about a LEAN management structure. LEAN meant they weren’t seeking to add anyone to upper management anytime soon. Uh oh.

My mind raced. Should I start seeking yet another job? God, that was the last thing I wanted to do. I finally had a high-paying job in my field and in the right location. If I chose to stay, that meant I would have to wait a long time until something would open up or something would be created for me. What to do?


Eventually, I started grabbing the attention of upper management and being assigned short-term positions to increase my knowledge across several business units.

Then something else unexpected happened. I noticed that each time I would return to my regular position after a short-term assignment, there was an instant relief.

Returning to my core responsibilities, the actual job I went to school for, gave me relief. There wasn’t any pressure or stress from arbitrary deadlines that would affect my performance rating. And, best of all, I was relieved to be back in the office I knew well with people I liked working with each day.

Relived was an understatement. I was happy.


Not too long ago, I was offered a position that would lead to the very thing I had set my sights on so many years ago. I immediately jumped at the opportunity. SUCCESS!

Mad Money Cat doesn’t want The Corner Office either

Trouble started brewing 2 hours later when I felt a knot starting to form in my gut. What had I done? Is THIS really what I wanted? Did I really want to leave the high-paying job I actually liked for little increase in pay and a whole lot more stress?!

No! The answer was clearly NO.

That night I went home and discussed all the reasons I should and shouldn’t take the position with Mr. MMM. Interestingly, the reasons in favor of the position were few. Surprisingly, the opposite was also true in favor of declining the position. I was thinking Big Picture that night.

I KNEW I liked my current job. The people and the daily tasks weren’t too bad, either. There was flexibility in my schedule. And, I enjoyed not feeling constant stress. I also knew I was paid well. Happiness comes in all shapes and sizes. I was happy.

The NEW position was one big question mark. Ultimately I decided my life, as a whole, would be better if I declined the promotion. I would remain…happy.

The next morning I called a meeting with my manager and effectively pulled the plug on the promotion leading to The Corner Office. Surely, I committed career suicide in that moment at that particular company. I KNEW it and I didn’t care. It was nice walking out of that meeting with a smile on my face and a bounce in my step. Because I was happy.


-You don’t have to pretend to believe the corporate programs crap they roll out every other week

-You don’t have to take work home

-You’ll likely have significantly LESS stress

-You’ll likely have significantly MORE time

-Your loved ones won’t forget who you are

-You’ll see your children before they fall asleep at night (if you have them)

-You won’t have to hurriedly eat a sandwich in a meeting and call it lunch

-There won’t be any mandatory dinners with Big Wigs from other sites

-Forget having to pretend to be someone you’re not for a bigger paycheck

BONUS REASONS TO NOT WANT THE CORNER OFFICECareer Advice | The Corner Office | Early Retirement | Financial Freedom | Financial Independence via @MadMoneyMonster

Furthermore, you don’t have to spout out corporate lingo including, but not limited to…

  • Cascade
  • Bandwidth
  • Granular
  • Transparent
  • Wheelhouse

Ugh. Just typing those words made me gag.

Related: Your Passion Or Your Money


And, there you have it. I have effectively outlined the reasons I turned down the corner office and why you should too. Obviously, it’s easy to think you should accept an opportunity just because it’s presented to you. But, you might want to think before you leap. Think about what it would mean to your life. Think Big Picture. Always.

What are your thoughts? Do you want the corner office? Or, do you already have it? I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences in the comments section!

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Career Advice | The Corner Office | Early Retirement | Financial Freedom | Financial Independence via @MadMoneyMonster

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Menard May 6, 2017, 3:42 pm

    I totally agree with this. Trying to climb the corporate ladder in order to chase higher pay is not worth it. In my case, I just focused on reducing my expenses to achieve FI faster. No matter how high you get, you’d still get entangled with office politics. We can setup our own corner offices once we become financially independent.

    • Mad Money Monster May 7, 2017, 1:36 pm

      I would LOVE to set up my own corner office! Like you said, the corporate politics aren’t worth the extra money.

  • Tali Mar 23, 2017, 11:07 pm

    As someone who used to be successful, and now find myself unglamorously unsuccessful… I gotta tell ya – it is way happier here, than it was Back There! I remember power lunches, and insincere people, and back stabbing, and office gossip, and brown nosers, and bosses who didn’t know sh*t, and and and
    While I always loved the WORK I did, it was the office environment that just killed it for me.
    I have “dumbed down” my job twice, and the last time was just an “I am done” move.
    And I have never been happier in my life… I fret a bit about bills and food, but I don’t fret it near as much as I fretted about work. And, in reality, I won’t ever starve. I have enough skills that I won’t ever be that bad off.
    I now sleep well, work occasionally, spend frugally, eat very basically, love lots, and have the time to giggle and snort and take walks and look closely at grass and tree bark and watch caterpillars walk and feel sunshine on my face. Life is good. Life is very good.

    Some things cannot be bought. You should be one of those things…

  • ReachingTheCrest Mar 22, 2017, 7:57 pm

    Yep, yep, this is so on point. I can’t tell you how many of my bosses have been completely broke too. so that big carrot of getting the corner office with a bigger pay check doesn’t necessarily mean anything in terms of your own financial success.
    totally agree

    • Mad Money Monster Mar 22, 2017, 8:57 pm

      Great point! There are a ton of people with a huge income sheet and very little in the way of wealth. All that stress with nothing to show for you…they can keep it!

  • FinancePatriot Mar 21, 2017, 6:13 pm

    I sit next to the corner office, that’s close enough for me. I am ready to exit early. I don’t hate my job, but I’m nearly 41 and this work stuff is for the young people.

    • Mad Money Monster Mar 21, 2017, 10:06 pm

      Ha! Yes, I couldn’t agree with you more. I catch myself telling the “kids” that start at my place of employment, “I used to want to climb the ladder like you, too.” It’s funny to hear that coming out of my mouth. Times, they do change.

  • Felicity (@FelicityFFF) Mar 20, 2017, 11:57 am

    I’m struggling with this right now. There are a lot of programs at work for developing younguns — mentoring, shadowing, research, networking…but these are usually not *paid* activities, and I really value my couch time with my Fluffster (husband, too, of course, but he’s not anyway near as fluffy).

    I don’t want to be a program lead, and I don’t want to synergize to develop the work program and bring the corporation to bear.

    • Mad Money Monster Mar 20, 2017, 6:10 pm

      Awe…Fluffster! I completely understand your thought process. Adding programs like that to your daily routine at work might get you a promotion – but a promotion comes at a price – namely, your couch. I was so happy to turn down the promotion offered to me. I know it’s not right for everyone. Some people would be perfectly happy and fulfilled to be in the corner office. It’s just not for me. Good luck with your decision!

  • Matt @ The Resume Gap Mar 20, 2017, 5:44 am

    To be transparent, I didn’t have the bandwidth to spend a ton of time on this comment, but I’ll avoid getting too granular: this was one of my big struggles career-wise. I managed to work my way into a leadership role pretty early on, and with a lot of work and a few more years, I’m confident I could have been an executive (in fact, I was recruited to be COO of a smaller company after I quit last year). But is that the life I really want? Lifestyle-wise, I know it’s not — but it’s not easy saying “no” and feeling like you’re abandoning your career potential. Sometimes I fantasized about asking for a demotion. Ultimately you have to decide what you value more. For me, it was my non-work life.

    • Mad Money Monster Mar 20, 2017, 9:26 am

      Agree. I was amazed how awesome it felt to turn that promotion down. I felt like I was in control and like I knew exactly what I wanted out of life – and it wasn’t the corner office anymore. Life is good.

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