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I'm sorry, but that raise is not your turn

What is "The Tunnel Mentality" and how has it ruined your career?

This article was translated from our Spanish edition using AI technologies. Errors may exist due to this process. Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
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One Thursday morning, Patricio made an appointment with his boss. He said it was an important issue. After the courtesy greetings, "Pato" - that's what his friends called him - put the subject on the table.
  • Boss, I've been working for more than a year now and I think I've done well.
  • Ehm, yes, it's true. More than a year, the boss answered.
  • And, well, I want to see if it is my turn, or by when, a salary increase.

The chief leaned back in his chair. He hadn't expected this question, and knew he had to answer carefully.

  • Well, Duck, every year there is a general salary increase for everyone, according to inflation.
  • Yes, but I don't mean that. But, well, my salary is not reaching me and I want to see when I get a raise.

The chief touched his chin. How to tell Patricio that things don't work out like this? Patricio lives in "El Túnel". And he must escape soon.


“El Túnel” is one of the causes of greatest frustration among employees in Mexico and the world.

"El Túnel" is one of the sources of depression and poverty within the middle class.

"The Tunnel" is one of the biggest lies in our educational system.

"The Tunnel" is a trap. And you must get out of it.

"The Tunnel" is the conception of reality that consists in believing that we run inside a tunnel that is made up of successive and necessary goals or achievements. Whoever is inside the tunnel believes that all things will come "eventually" , and that it is enough to keep walking.

But it is a lie.

We learn "The Tunnel" from kindergarten, because that's how it works. We are in our first year of kindergarten, and unless something serious happens, we are suddenly in second grade! In fact, practically everyone in the classroom goes on to second, third and primary, regardless of whether they have put in a lot or a little effort. They simply introduce themselves and "The Tunnel" does its homework. It is designed for that.

Later, Primary, secondary, preparatory ... and even university. Everything is part of a tunnel. We soon learn that it is possible to meet the minimum to go to the next level . It is practically enough that we go to classes, that we raise our hands, that we deliver some work ... but we know, everyone knows, that you can "swim dead." Eventually they all move on to the next year and graduate. There is a lot of party, hype and saucer.

And they tell us “success awaits you. Everything will come eventually. Just keep walking ”.

But they lie.

During our first 20 years they tell us: "just do this, and we will give you a diploma at the end of the tunnel." And we do it. And they give us our diploma.

Finally, we get out into real life. "The Tunnel" is over, but nobody warns us, and millions live thinking that as long as they attend work and meet the minimum requirements, the next "steps" of the Tunnel will arrive: the increases, the jobs, the house with the garden and the car and the club. Everything will come eventually. Or not?


Unfortunately, they are not going to give Patricio a raise, or another position of more responsibility, because "The Tunnel" ended for him years ago and he has not realized it. You believe you have the right to “move up” , receive your diploma and cap, and become a manager or director, simply because you have filled your chair for enough hours.

Like Patrick, thousands of others live going to work every day… and every day wondering why they are not moving forward; why others take the best positions and have better salaries. They cannot understand that they are no longer in high school. It is not enough to comply: you have to create. You have to risk . You have to do new things in a different way, you have to raise your voice and offer initiative and creativity; not just obedience and submission.

Whoever does his job well, stays at his job. That's not bad, necessarily.

But whoever does their job and also creates something, soon finds the tools to build it. And for this, he must consciously leave "The Tunnel" and know that things are not going to happen unless we make them happen.

Directors, entrepreneurs, leaders are not the people who have been warming up the chair the longest, but those who come out of the "Tunnel" and change it for something much better: freedom.


When "the Tunnel" is over, that which terrifies automatons appears: freedom.

When we are at school, we are told "do this and I'll give you a ten."

When we are in college we are told "just do this and I will give you a diploma."

When we are the professional "The Tunnel", we are told "just do this and I will give you a salary".

"Just do this, just do this" is the mantra of the inhabitant of the "Tunnel". You expect a simple order and are willing to fulfill it to receive your prize.

Just outside "The Tunnel" appears a terrifying sign, which reads:


Outside "El Túnel" there are mountains, valleys, lakes and cliffs. There are some roads made and different new roads, stairs and holes. What there is not is a guide who will take you by the hand and tell you: "Just do this ...".

The inhabitant of "El Túnel" prefers to play safe, but what he does not know is that living in "El Túnel" is the greatest risk of all , because his entire life is in the hands of other people.


Perhaps there was a time when betting your entire life on a company or a boss was a good career plan: salaries were good, benefits were better, and you could spend 30 years in a chair before retiring.

That was the corporate "Tunnel", but that tunnel is over. Being in control of your life and career today is not the best way to live: it is the only way.

If you are in a job that you enjoy, then start working your way out of the tunnel:

  1. Learning more than the others . The man you were yesterday won't have the job you want tomorrow unless he grows up. Read, study, sign up, explore and keep growing.
  2. Creating art and taking risks; that is, looking for new ways to do better what you already do. This implies the risk of being wrong, but it is a 100% necessary risk.
  3. Connecting your work with your passions and your talents to make yourself visible. Teach, share, podcast, create a course. Do not give more of the same, but more of the new, than only you can give.
  4. Creating wealth outside of your work : learn to invest and find side deals that help you continue learning and have your own project. Find a passive income stream that offers you freedom.
  5. Designing a life project that includes your talents and passions, as well as your purpose: something that makes you wake up every day with renewed enthusiasm. You are much more than your job!

If you enjoy work, it allows you to learn and earn, there is no reason to quit. You can work your whole life in a company, but your life cannot depend on a single company . I know several who after years receive their farewell letter: their whole world falls apart. They have lived in the Tunnel too long and now they don't know how to live outside of it.

If, on the other hand, you have a job that you do not enjoy, then prepare the court to move as soon as possible, following the same five steps: grow, create, connect, network and draw a project . When you're ready, take off or jump into a better space.

It is not about "working harder" or "wanting it." Your life, your space and your family are worth more than any check. Remember that your life is not a tunnel: nothing happens if you don't make it happen.

And if you were waiting for "someone" to tell you what to do, that "someone" is that article that tells you: Wake up; Get out of the tunnel. There are things that only you can do, but do you have the courage to do them?