Corporate leaders, this one’s for you.
Think back to when you started your corporate career path. Maybe it was 20 years ago. Maybe it was 5 years ago.
Take a brief pause to look at your time investment, your progression and to revel in your accomplishments.
Then ask yourself a bold and honest question.
IS IT EVERYTHING YOU’D HOPED FOR?
If the answer is anything less than “mostly yes”, you could consider other interesting options that you may not have allowed yourself to entertain.
The world of work as we’ve known it for the past 50 years is crumbling and simultaneously morphing into something we’re yet to fully understand. In doing so, it’s presenting us with new problems – and new opportunities.
Most of us are so busy doing what we always have that we don’t often pause to reflect on whether these opportunities are better suited to us than the corporate life.
However, if there is just one smidgen of a question about the path you’ve taken, you’re not alone.
A poll by the Huffington Post cited that nearly 80 percent of workers in their 20s said they wanted to change careers, followed by 64 percent of 30-somethings and 54 percent in their 40s.
So, what are your other options? Here’s a handful to ponder.
1. JOIN A STARTUP.
Working for a startup is oh-so-chic and trendy these days.
I would highly recommend that you remain extremely level-headed about the “cool” factor of your potential startup job. If you allow this to become one of the main motivators, you won’t last long.
I’ve been in the startup world for 5 years now – and during this time have met countless startup teams in Australia, have travelled to the Silicon Valley a few times and worked out of a swanky startup hub in New York City.
Here’s what I’ve learned. Yes, some elements of the startup life can be sexy.
But it all depends on the team that you join, its culture and the stage of growth that their business is in.
If you join a venture capital backed startup in that’s just raised a Series B round of funding, you can probably expect to be pampered with all the usual bells and whistles – impressive office space (or a 100% location-independent work arrangement), subsidies and freebies, (maybe) unlimited annual leave policy, etc.
However, in many ways those startups are so established that working at one might not feel too different to what you experience with your current employer.
Which means if you want a more raw, real, let’s-rally-together-and-let’
In both cases, keep in mind that, because the CEO is under huge pressure to grow the business fast, the workload can be brutal. Don’t join a startup if you’ve just had a baby, have a medical condition which requires regular treatment or have relatives who need your care.
2. GO FREELANCE.
Yep, you read that right.
There’s a popular belief that most freelance workers are film producers who tend to subsist on rice and beans. While that was probably true at some point, we’re now seeing emergence of freelance CFOs, COOs, CHROs and CTOs.
This is driven – to a large extent – by growth in the number of startups.
Many of them plateau and realise that they require specialised outside expertise in order to continue to grow. Hiring a full-time C-Level executive, however, is typically too risky / too expensive / is an overkill – which is where a “gun for hire” offers the right mix of effectiveness, cost and risk.
If you’re not at the C-Level, don’t be discouraged.
The main requirement is for you to have deep expertise and experience in a clearly defined field, so that you can comfortably and confidently add value to a growing business.
3. START YOUR OWN BUSINESS.
With this last option, we’ve sort of come full circle.
Because starting your own business would be a startup–with you in the driver’s seat. Like working for someone else’s startup, this option is not for the risk-averse.
But…if you have a personal vision, tireless motivation and are resilient enough for the roller coaster ride, it could be the ride of your life.
If losing your regular paycheck is too much to swallow get creative. For example, go part-time with your current employer and start your business on the side.
ONE LAST THOUGHT.
If you’ve ever fantasised about getting laid off–and yearned for what might have been–give yourself the time and the space to explore your options.
To define what living the dream means for you once and for all.
Because if you don’t do it now, there’s the chance that someday you’ll look back and have regrets. And you’re far too talented for that.