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A millennial who quit Fidelity and Salesforce is one of many choosing to 'descend the corporate ladder' — for less stress

Maria Noyen   

A millennial who quit Fidelity and Salesforce is one of many choosing to 'descend the corporate ladder' — for less stress
  • Kirra Dickinson, 28, ditched corporate life in 2022 for her mental health and to create content.
  • She chose to "descend the corporate ladder," a phrase a millennial comedian coined on TikTok.

Despite years of believing it was the only path, a Los Angeles-based millennial decided against climbing the corporate ladder. Now, she's happier than ever.

Kirra Dickinson, a 27-year-old content creator and manifestation coach, told Business Insider she spent years in technology research after graduating from UC Berkeley. Growing up, she felt "a lot of pressure" to get a traditional job to support herself and her family financially.

So, that's exactly what she did post-college. Her first job was as a design strategist for Fidelity in Boston before she pivoted to UX research. Eventually, she said she landed a job at Salesforce in Southern California.

When Dickinson was 26 and "reaching a peak" in her career, she found herself completely uninspired with work, to the point it was affecting her mental health.

"All I was thinking of is, 'Oh my gosh, this is going to suck. And I really don't want to do this. I really don't want to work with these people,'" she said.

At the same time, Dickinson was building a following on social media, posting lifestyle content, reviews, and tutorials, and getting a few brand deals here and there.

In 2022, she took a leap. "I was like, 'If I can pay my bills, that's fine. I have enough in savings and reserve investments. So we're just going to do an experiment and are going to quit corporate for a year," she said. "'If I don't like it, I can always come back.'"

Uninspiring leadership and the gig economy are drawing young professionals away from the corporate ladder

Dickinson is among many young professionals disillusioned by corporate life and the lack of work-life balance it can sometimes entail.

Octavia Goredema, a career coach and author of the book "Prep, Push, Pivot: Essential Career Strategies for Underrepresented Women" told BI she's increasingly noticing millennials and Gen Zers gravitating to the gig economy outside their 9-to-5 jobs, contributing to a general lack of ambition to climb the corporate ladder.

"Maybe they're investing, maybe they're working on a venture with friends on the weekends, maybe there's another skill that they have that they monetize in some way," Goredema said.

She also often hears younger clients say they don't want to become managers because it looks more stressful than it's worth.

"When they look above them at the roles that they could move into, in theory, they don't see anything that looks appealing," she said, adding that usually, it's because company leaders appear visibly under pressure and under-supported.

Anti-corporate ladder sentiment is also rife on social media. On April 7, New York-based comedian Aaron Yin posted a TikTok describing his career ambitions — or lack thereof.

In the video, which has over 1.1 million views, Yin said he is electing to "descend the corporate ladder" to better his health.

While he acknowledged some people aspire to be managers and to get "chewed out" by a CEO, he said he isn't one of them.


see yall at the bottom!! #fyp #corporatelife #corporate #millennial #genz #nyc

♬ original sound - aaron yin

Yin said he doesn't want to be promoted or make more money because the added stress would mean spending more on "therapy and food."

Yin did not respond to a request for comment from Business Insider. However, his video prompted a surge of comments from users who said they, too, have chosen not to climb the corporate ladder to prioritize their happiness.

Like some commentators on Yin's video, Dickinson said she felt "relieved" after ditching the corporate ladder.

Not only that — she said she wound up making more money than her Salesforce salary after signing a deal with modeling agency NEXT, dedicating her time to coaching clients on manifestation, and launching a podcast.

"It is hard to walk away from that security," Dickinson said, referring to the corporate world. Still, she has no regrets about doing so to ride the "roller coaster" of an untraditional career path.

"It keeps things fresh," Dickinson said.

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