Time to ditch the corporate ladder?

Lady banging head

I was a long term sufferer of Mondayitis. For me, it used to creep in on Sunday evening and last until Monday lunchtime. By then I was back in the groove, doing what I did best and excited about achieving wins and overcoming obstacles in the week ahead.

I loved working in big corporations. The challenge, the brand, the people. I loved planning what the next rung up the ladder would be. Then it changed – I lost my groove and the Mondayitis seemed to last all week.

The excitement disappeared. I was bored and demotivated. Something was missing and I couldn’t quite put my finger on what it was.Was it time to leave behind a world I had become comfortable with,ditch the corporate ladder and be my own boss? Would I be able to do it? What would people say? What if I failed? And what about that healthy income!

According to an independent study by Servcorp1, it takes up to a year for Australian entrepreneurs to overcome fears and doubts before starting their business. These fears included concerns about money, fear of leaving a secure job, failure and perceived lack of expertise.

It makes perfect sense – I was one of those with fears and doubts.

I think it takes even more than a year for ‘to be’ entrepreneurs to just give it a go. ‘Now’s not the right time’ is a great excuse. And that’s all that attitude is great for – an excuse. Why wait for tomorrow? There is always going to be ‘other stuff’ going on in life whether planned or unplanned. That’s what happens. Why procrastinate over a decision that has one of the biggest impacts – on your life, happiness and your future.

Is it risky to set up a business – sure is. What is even more risky is staying in a job that is unfulfilling and unrewarding. Because with the pace of change, technology innovations and disruption all happening at a faster rate, we live in an age where no jobs are guaranteed.

The idea that you provide your loyalty to one organisation and receive job security in return isn’t as significant as it used to be. These days it’s about demonstrating agility and diversity. Most of us have experienced ourselves or know of others that have lost jobs because the company restructured, the role was replaced by technology or it was no longer needed.

Essentially, there is no such thing as job security anymore. Even the profitable, well performing companies roll out redundancy programs due to strategy change or leadership change for example. You can’t expect a company to look after you. You need to look after you.

The learning curve is big and will vary depending on the chosen venture. It’s also highly likely there will be bumps in the road. Though don’t forget that corporate experience affords substantial knowledge and business nous. The skills that need to be learnt to adapt to business ownership are usually easy to pick up or accommodate. Any failure that ensues usually turns out to be the best opportunity for development and growth.
I’m not begrudging big business here. Without them I wouldn’t be where I am today with the exposure to training, great mentors and opportunities. Key skill development and experience and the development of a disciplined mindset are all key foundations in any career.

Small business, the entrepreneurial spirit and the innovation factor all have a big part to play in our economy in Australia. Support is required by talented corporate professionals who have the ability to contribute to business development. We are behind overseas and we need to catch up.
It is true what they say that life begins at the end of your comfort zone. Climbing the ladder was comfortable for me. If I hadn’t of ditched the ladder I would have missed out on one incredible (and ongoing) journey that has and still is taking me to places in life and career I never would have imagined.

Note 1 – Jacobs, D 2015, Entrepreneurs Fear ‘Taking the Plunge’, Dynamic Business, viewed 29 November 2015, http://www.dynamicbusiness.com.au/entrepreneur-profile/ entrepreneurs-fear-taking-the-plunge.html

Read more tips and insights in my latest book, ‘Ditch The Ladder: Escape The Corporate Trap’, which I wrote in an effort to help others contemplating taking the leap from corporate to set up a business’.
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