being in someone else’s comfort zone is the same as being in their rear view mirror, or, under their thumb.
You will meet resistance trying to pass or get out from under.
And you won’t have to destroy your reputation, they will destroy it for you.
But you are right, it is the way forward.
Probably the only way, there’s just not many sneak arounds.
And if they seem to let you, well, they still got you, you’re somehow useful to them, playing their game still, not your own.