I know it's tempting -- indeed, fashionable these days -- to view corporate jobs as "shackles". Corporate workers are "drones". There's a perception that you'll work 9-5 for 50 years, with two weeks vacation per year, and then retire, having never really lived. And that the only way to be happy is to quit and start your own company, or become a digital nomad, freelancing and travelling the world. It's an idea popularised in The 4-Hour Work Week, and propagated by pretty much every online self-help writer ever since.
But it's not true. It's a false dichotomy.
If you are one of those in a corporate job, you'll never see life as worth living if you frame it that way. Your life is the sum of all the small moments -- so why are you carrying a cloud of negativity and anxiety around all day with you?
Look, if your job really sucks, and you hate it, and need to get out, then do it. Make the change.
BUT there is happiness and meaning to be found in work. Great colleagues can become life-long friends. You can take pride in doing the work that is in front of you, and doing it well. You can dive into your profession and seek to learn everything there is to know about it, develop your expertise, and then leverage that expertise into a better working situation (e.g. starting your own company, consulting, better jobs at other companies).
And don't buy into the fallacy that corporate jobs suck, and remote, digital nomad jobs are amazing. That anyone working a normal job is a drone, and anyone doing their own thing is a groundbreaking entrepreneur.
I've met lots of entrepreneurs and remote workers -- myself included -- who are utterly miserable and lonely when they have to work alone.
I know scores of people who have worked in an office job their entire career, and take immense satisfaction and pride in their work, have meaningful relationships and a great family life. They're happy people.
Yes, it's more common to find happy entrepreneurs and miserable corporate types. But that's not a predestinated fate. It's what you choose to make of it.