I read so many posts about successful stories of people who have left their corporate jobs to start businesses. They talk about how amazing it has been to work from where they want, when they want and to do something they are passionate about. To all of those types of entrepreneurs out there, I seriously commend you. For every one of you, there are thousands who have failed. I spent the past few ninety days in between jobs (which I’ll share more about on another post) and had some time to focus on TPS full time. Although I echo all of the positive things I’ve read about from the entrepreneurs who came before me and am no ways discouraging anyone from following their dreams to start a business, I want to talk about what everyone else seems to ignore….
Why you should appreciate your corporate job:
- The steady pay check: I know, this is an obvious one, but the illusive “they” say the most addictive things in the world are cocaine and a steady pay check. Undoubtedly, there is tremendous monetary upside to starting you own business, but what is oftentimes ignored is how many years it could take you to get there. I’m not saying you can’t do it, I’m just saying don’t underestimate how much you’ll miss your steady pay check.
- Friends: When I left my job at a big bank, I didn’t think about how much I’d miss my work friends. Even if you hate what you’re doing, there is something nice about the human interaction of coming to an office every morning and someone asking you how your night was, or if you watched the Dodger game. I was very lucky to have amazing work friends. Even on the worst days, we’d find ways to laugh: About the crazy bureaucracy we worked for, about a colleague’s phone call we overheard, or about that person’s lunch that just smelled horrific (I can go on and on.) When you’re on you’re own, some days might be packed with human interaction and meetings, but others could just be you behind a computer working really hard (obviously this depends on what the business is.) Also – the 4pm social hour coffee break and office gossip are pretty hilarious.
- Routine: There were some days where I loved the lack of routine, but there were others that I hated it. Without a weekly routine and break on the weekends, I found myself working around the clock and felt no difference between a Wednesday and Sunday. On the one hand, this was great, because I was highly productive throughout the week and not just Mon – Fri. But on the other hand, the weeks and months sort of start to blur together. Again, this is just something I never thought I’d miss. It’s just an odd feeling when you stop getting excited for Friday!
- Resources: Unlike when you have a corporate job, if your computer crashes, your ass is online at the apple store. Forget about your favorite tech guys. Want an office to go into? WeWork and other shared office space come with a hefty price tag that may not be ideal for a brand new start up trying to conserve costs. Need a notebook? Head over to staples? Printer ink? That could set you back $100. You get the point…
- Benefits: Health insurance can be very expensive when you’re on your own… just saying!
When you should leave
When I was at a big bank, all of the conversations among my friends and I was when are we getting out and what cool start up are we going to try to run. I’m not saying it’s not good to dream, and I’m not discouraging anyone from going for it. If you are going to leave, though, leave for the right reasons.
- Have you maxed out of learning opportunities and pay increases on your current track? If so, have you explored other opportunities at the firm? Many of these large corporate companies are filled with opportunity and there may be a new job (with almost as much long term opportunity as a startup without as much risk)
- Have you started your business already? Don’t quit on an idea, you’ll regret it. You may have to give up some personal time, but a side hustle is a perfect way to test out a concept. Work on it as long as you possibly can before you leave your day job. This will give you time to work out as many kinks as possible while still earning income.