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Escape Accelerator FAQs

All your questions should be answered here. More questions? Call us on +1 347 825 6158 or e-mail nyc@escapethecity.org

Headline Information

Who is the Accelerator for?

The Escape Accelerator is a 12-week career change program that will help you find direction, take action and create exciting new career opportunities for yourself.

The Escape Accelerator is for you if you:

  • think you know the direction you want to head in but need help with the process
  • have been traditionally ‘successful’ in your career but are determined to make a change
  • are prepared to operate outside of your comfort zone to create new opportunities
  • are prepared to change the way you see the world of work in order to change your place in it
  • are honest about your excuses, strengths, and weaknesses, and are prepared to transcend them
  • want to solve problems, create things, work hard, and have an impact
  • are prepared to graft and work hard to become excellent at something
How can it help me?

The Escape Accelerator is designed to give you:

  1. A support network – Move from thinking to doing – Gain momentum surrounded by ambitious, likeminded individuals making brave changes in their lives. Plus you’ll have access to hand-picked mentors + peer accountability groups meeting each week to help you make progress.
  2. Tools – Demystify the career change process – Escape Trained expert leaders will help breakdown the process for you, helping you to build the skills you need to make a change. You’ll also have access to tools that thousands of people have used to make change in their lives.
  3. Empower you to take action – Embrace a growth mindset – Although it takes more than 12 weeks to build a business or launch into a dream career, the Escape program will massively accelerate this process, equipping you with the tools & mindset needed to take forwards as you continue to build.
What outcomes can i expect?
  • Land at least 1 new career opportunity for yourself in your area of interest.
  • Have taken stock of your career history and highlighted the ingredients of fulfilling work that are missing for you.
  • Build a personal portfolio to effectively showcase yourself to potential employers.
  • Build a 6-month Escape Roadmap with milestones and actions to navigate your Escape.
  • Spearhead a project with a progressive organization to solve a real world problem.
  • Be a lot clearer on your “blockers” — the things that are keeping you stuck.
  • Get real feedback from pitching yourself to exciting brands and purpose-driven organizations looking to hire.
  • Derisk your Escape by building a financial transition plan and Escape Fund.
  • Earn side income using your current skills.
  • Learn the nuts and bolts of freelancing and how to start your own business.
  • Understand the top 10 tech tools needed to thrive in a new world of work.
  • Have developed a robust entrepreneurial mindset and resilient habits.
What is the Escape Club?

At the end of the Escape Accelerator you will be invited to join The Escape Club (for free).

What is The Escape Club?

We are a community of people who:

  • Reject the suffocating conformity of the mainstream career path.
  • Are determined to build careers and businesses on our own terms.
  • Accept that the escapee’s journey is really hard and can take a long time.
  • Are prepared to take responsibility for our thoughts, words and deeds.
  • Commit to giving as much help and support as we receive.

What does The Escape Club consist of?

As an Esc Club member you’ll have access to:

  • A strong community of +1000 Escape School alumni.
  • The Escape & Startup curriculum & knowledge forum.
  • Skill-sharing and peer-to-peer mentoring.
  • Regular events, meetups and socials.

Logistics

Where is it held?

The Accelerator sessions take place at Grind West/Vesey.

An easy walk from Fulton St, Chambers St and Cortland Place subways.

Address: Grind West/Vesey, 140 West St, NY 10007

There may be the occasional city ‘field trip’ on the Escape Accelerator. You’ll receive plenty of advance warning for any sessions held at new locations. Travel costs aren’t included in the Accelerator fee.

What is the likely demographic?

A snapshot of previous Accelerator demographics…

How many years have you been working for?

20% with 0-5 years’ experience

25% with 6-9 years’ experience

9% with 10-14 years’ experience

6% with +15 years’ experience

What is your working status?

54% Working full-time.

24% Doing independent / freelance work.

22% Fully escaped and on the entrepreneurial path.

What sector do you work in?

Programs typically cover a diverse range of backgrounds (this is part of their strength). A snapshot of sectors previous members have worked in:

Media, Financial Services, Publishing, Marketing & Advertising, Education, Transportation, Banking, Software Development, Law, Consulting, Technology, Accounting, Events, Law, Media, Communications, Medicine, Charity, Oil & Gas, Teaching, Architecture, Civil Service, Creative Arts, Fashion, Hospitality, Marketing, Property, Retail, Sustainability, Wine, Ecommerce, Customer Service, Automotive, Consumer Goods, Military, Travel.

Wellbeing

What are the guiding principles for the Accelerator?

What are the guiding principles for the Accelerator?

If you aren’t enjoying your job or you’re struggling to figure out your right direction, it can be easy to feel that you’ve got a problem or that you’ve failed in some way. There is nothing wrong with you – but there is a lot wrong with the world of work.

By joining this program you are becoming an early adopter of a new way of working. Building a career on your own terms is hard – don’t make it any harder by feeling like you’ve failed because you want to do something different. You haven’t – you’re a pioneer.

This is a revolution and it’s exciting to be alive (and building a career) at a time of so much change. There are a lot of us who feel this way and these are some of the principles we use to keep us strong on our respective journeys…

26 PRINCIPLES FOR THE PROGRAM:

  1. FIND YOUR PEOPLE: You become the average of the people you spend your time with – choose wisely.
  2. BUILD REAL RELATIONSHIPS: Authentically connect with people who share your values & help each other along.
  3. GIVE, GENEROUSLY: Make yourself useful to other people – giving (authentically) is the best way to get.
  4. PRIORITIZE ACTION: You can’t think your way to exciting opportunities, you can only “do” our way forwards.
  5. START (JUST START): Start things and follow your curiosities without knowing how they’re going to turn out.
  6. TAKE SMALL STEPS: Take small steps towards big goals, changing direction as you learn through doing.
  7. EMBRACE UNCERTAINTY: Accept uncertainty as the price for trying to do work that matters on your own terms.
  8. SHINE IN PUBLIC: No one is going to give you a chance if they don’t know you exist.
  9. SHOW, DON’T TELL: Don’t tell the world what you’re capable of (resumes, cover letters), show them!
  10. BE PATIENT: This process takes time and can be a struggle. Practice resilience when it gets hard.
  11. ADOPT GROWTH MINDSET: See small failures, setbacks and imperfection as learning experiences on your journey.
  12. AVOID REGRET: Manage risk by all means but don’t avoid it altogether. Try to avoid regret, not risk.
  13. DEFINE SUCCESS FOR YOURSELF: Bravely cultivate and defend your own definition of what really matters in life.
  14. BACK YOURSELF: You are capable of more than you give yourself credit for. Believe in yourself.
  15. KEEP GROWING: You may not yet know how to do what you want to do, but believe you can get there.
  16. ADOPT BEGINNER MINDSET: When you start you won’t be an expert. Reject imposter syndrome, embrace learning.
  17. AIM AT EXCELLENT: The world will respond favourably if you (eventually) become damn good at something.
  18. OWN YOUR STORY: There are many narrative threads in your past (and future). Don’t be defined by others.
  19. LIVE YOUR VALUES: Focus on behaving in ways that reflect your values and what you’re doing will catch up.
  20. SEEK ACCOUNTABILITY: Share your objectives with a community – you’ll be more likely to achieve them.
  21. FOCUS, FOCUS, FOCUS: Priorities are like arms: you don’t want more than two. Focus on few things at once.
  22. USE YOUR FEAR Make smart decisions – but remember that fear can point at things you want.
  23. TEST YOUR BEST GUESS When in doubt, you don’t have to take a big risk / decision, just test your best guess.
  24. ASK FOR HELP: None of us can do this solo. Be brave, reach out to people – they want to help.
  25. CULTIVATE GRATITUDE: In the scheme of things you are incredibly lucky. Remember this on the tough days.
  26. START WHERE YOU ARE: Do what is doable for you where you are today. Don’t obsess about the destination.
How do I take care of myself on the Accelerator?

The Escape Accelerator is an exhilarating journey. It can also be stressful and overwhelming at times – any process that involves the unknown, personal risk and the prospect of big life changes can be challenging. When the group forms we will explore ways of looking after ourselves and each other as we begin to explore new ideas and new potential career paths.

Here are some of the key principles for self-care on the Escape Accelerator:

  1. ACCEPT CHANGE CAN HURT Your brain evolved to keep you safe. Most of us are instinctively afraid of the unknown. Wobbles, worries and fear are a core part of any process of change. Accepting this can help you deal with challenging thoughts and reactions as they occur.
  2. STICK WITH IT Experiential Avoidance is a psychological term that means running away from difficult experiences even when doing so creates harm in the long-term. Grit your teeth, stick with your objectives and you’ll be amazing at the progress you’ll make.
  3. KNOW YOURSELF Challenge yourself to engage in the work even when you don’t feel like it – but also know when to take a step back. This is a long-term process and it doesn’t all happen in 12 weeks. Slow down and take the pressure off when you need to.
  4. BUILD IN RECOVERY TIME Although the experience will encourage you to carve out time for working on your career change plans, remember to allow some of that time to be dedicated to maintaining your wellbeing, health and energy levels.
  5. BE KIND TO YOURSELF This is one of the most important lessons you can learn on this journey. Treat yourself as you would your best friend – with compassion, patience and acknowledgement that it won’t all come right away, but that you are working on it.
  6. PRACTICE GROWTH MINDSET Fixed mindset sees difficulties, setbacks and failures as negative judgments on an individual. Growth mindset sees the same challenges as opportunities for growth, learning and advancement. Practice Growth Mindset (google: Carol Dweck).
  7. RESIST UNHELPFUL PRESSURE It is important to remind yourself that your decisions are yours alone and to resist any pressure that you might feel as a result of comparing yourself to other members of the group or challenges themselves.
  8. PROTECT YOURSELF The more you begin changing things in your life, the more people in your life may act unhelpfully towards you. This is one of the more challenging aspects of any unconventional journey. Surround yourself with positive people as much as possible.
  9. TAKE RESPONSIBILITY It can be tempting to blame anyone but you for your situation or how you’re feeling. This is the quickest way to feeling depressed. Take responsibility for your thoughts, words and deeds. It’s hard but it’s liberating.
  10. CONSIDER COACHING As you progress into new territory, you may feel that you could benefit from individual coaching. One-on-one coaching can be an amazing way to dive into some of the ways in which you hold yourself back. Ask your Escape Leader for more info.

These principles can be even more important after the Accelerator – as you continue on your journey to build a career on your own terms perhaps without the presence of a weekly support group.

We will equip you with guidance for the period after the Accelerator and you’ll have ongoing support in the form of the Escape Club and any ongoing activity that your group commits to. This is a journey and we’re with you for the long-term.

What if I have a real wobble?

It is important to be aware of the serious stuff.

The Accelerator can involve exploring some big questions: “What do I want to do with my life?”, and “Why aren’t things going the way I want them to in my career/life?”. Grappling with these areas can cause us to wobble. Many of us will experience anxiety, depression and other psychological challenges over the course of our lives. These episodes can often be triggered by challenging / traumatic events or periods of instability, uncertainty or change.

Most people are absolutely fine on an Accelerator and find the experience positive and motivating. However, it is important to be aware that some of the work we do may bring up difficult thoughts or emotions that are hard to cope with. If you find yourself really struggling, please let your Escape Leader know as soon as possible.

If you’re ever feeling really low, come talk to us and we can help you explore your options and refer you to medical professionals if needed. Your emotional and mental stability and wellbeing is our utmost priority – and it should be yours too. Sometimes this might mean taking a step backwards in order to regroup and proceed in due course from more solid foundations.

Payment Options

What are my payment options?

Our preferred form of payment is via Stripe, via Visa / Mastercard or American Express

Up-Front Payments:

The full amount of $1,250 (early bird) $1,500 (standard) is required within 48 hours of being offered a place.

Installment Payments:

$1,250 early bird in total: $625 deposit when securing your place, followed by 2 installments of $325 and $300 taken on the first of the month (i.e. $325 May 1st, $300 June 1st)

$1,500 standard in total: $750 deposit when securing your place, followed by 2 installments of $375 taken on the first of the month (i.e. $375 on June 1st and July 1st)

What is your refund policy?

We strongly encourage you not to commit to the Escape Accelerator if you are not going to be able to prioritize it. We know that life changes but please make sure that your intention is to engage fully if you do accept a place.

Please do be sure before accepting. If we are over-subscribed for places it will be unfair on the people who missed out if you cancel after a few weeks, as it will be too late for someone to take your place.

REFUND SCENARIO #1: You withdraw from the Accelerator before April 24th 2017:
1. 50% of the total program payment will be kept and the rest 50% will be refunded (maximum refund of $750 if standard pricing)

REFUND SCENARIO #2: You withdraw from the Accelerator between April 24th and May 1st 2017:
1. 75% of the total program payment will be kept and the rest 25% will be refunded (maximum refund of $375 if standard pricing)

REFUND SCENARIO #3: You withdraw from the Accelerator on or after May 1st 2017:
1. Your payment is non-refundable (if split payment option chosen, remainder payments will still be taken)

Extraordinary circumstances (serious illness or bereavement) will be taken into consideration in extreme cases, and will be discussed on an individual basis.

Can I transfer to a later program?

If you decide before May 1st to transfer to a later program intake, your deposit will be transferrable to your fee payments for that program. After this date, payments made for May’s intake cannot be transferred to future intakes. Should you wish to transfer to a future program, your application would be fast-tracked, but your previous payments would not be applied to your fees for the later program.

Applicant Information

Why are you asking for applications?

We are asking for applications for two reasons:

  • To determine whether we can help you – whether this is right for you.
  • To allow you to demonstrate that you are serious about this.

We aren’t judging your quality as a person or how impressive your resume is. We are simply figuring out whether this experience is a good fit for you. We are committed to delivering amazing experiences for the people who join and that starts with finding people who we believe we can really help. What we are looking for is simply a determination to make change happen and a can-do attitude.

This is a two-way assessment. You are figuring out whether the Escape Accelerator is for you and we are figuring out whether we can help you.

If we feel we can’t help you we would far rather tell you than enroll you on an experience that doesn’t work for you. If this is the case, we will do our best to suggest resources, books, or support that might be more appropriate for you based on your current stage.

How does the application process work?

Step 1 – Online Application

You apply by completing our short application form – immediately after applying you’ll receive a confirmation email.

Step 2 – Shortlist Decision

You will receive an email from us within a couple of days letting you know whether you have been shortlisted for a phone interview and asking you to book a slot.

Step 3 – Phone Interview

We will give you a call at the agreed time. This is a chance for us to spend 15 minutes together understanding whether your objectives are a good fit for the program.

Step 4 – Place Offer

You will receive an email from us within 48 hours of the call letting you know whether we are able to offer you a place on the Escape Accelerator or not.

Step 5 – Your Acceptance

If you are offered a place you will have a short time window to make your payment, confirm your place, and begin preparing for an exciting Summer!

Why is it worth applying early?

Applications will be reviewed in the order that they are submitted. So the earlier you apply, the better your chance of being offered a place. In addition, often we offer early bird pricing.

Are you definitely taking 50 people?

No. We would rather take 40 people who are right for this experience rather than 50 people just to reach capacity. That said, there will be a minimum threshold we need to reach to make this work. You would receive a full refund in the case that the minimum threshold isn’t reached.

What if I am accepted but the Escape Accelerator is already full?

If you are offered a place but the Accelerator is already full, you can pay a deposit to reserve a place on a later intake.