Corporate Job vs Entrepreneurship

When I graduated from college, I had a relatively easy decision regarding whether I should take up the job offers  I had, or carry on with my business. My business was up and running, and profitable, and, having experienced work in the investment banking department of a large bank, my choice was pretty much made and fairly clear without too much thought and deliberation. My family was supportive of this idea which was another key factor in making the transition a smooth one. However, maybe my case is an anomaly which most college graduates do not experience. Usually at graduation time there is no set business to do, and even if there is, it is very much in the conceptual stage and untested. There is hence much family pressure to take a job and acquire :

1. Discipline to work in a 9 – 5 job.

2. Get experience before you eventually make the transition to running your own business.

3. Bring stability to your life & pay off any debts you may have incurred at college.

All valid points, and in most cases, often the right choice for people to get a job rather than start up their own business. However, my take on the matter is that this decision is purely dependent on the characteristics and personality of the person. To argue the first point, it is all a matter of a self discipline. If you are someone with the ability to get your schedule right, and work a pre-set number of hours or more everyday, then the first point in the argument does not hold true given the crazy schedules that most graduates have in college. However, this is a quality which definitely needs to be developed.

The second point of getting experience to run your own business  is bogus in my opinion. I believe the experience someone gets running their own business is far greater than anything you learn at a desk job. You may develop some functional expertise eventually in a specific area at a job, however, that will not be enough to start your own business. This essentially limits your horizon to a specific area, and more often than not, strategies taken by larger companies are not translatable in the startup world. Lastly, when do you achieve enough experience? I know a lot of people who said they would quit their jobs after a couple of years, but that seldom happens! Once you get into the corporate routine with a stable pay check, you take on responsibilities such as mortgages, leases and eventually get married. Each one of these factors work against your ever taking the plunge into the startup world.

The last point regarding stability and getting rid of your debts has some degree of truth to it. I agree with the getting rid of debt aspect of the argument, I don’t however agree with the stability aspect as much. When you are 23 do you really need stability in your life? This is the time in your life when you can take the greatest amount of leveraged risks as you do not have major responsibilities. The stability concept is definitely appealing to parents who are able to sleep a lot easier at night knowing that their son/daughter is working at a reputable firm, which will eventually enable them to live the ideal cookie cutter life.

My thoughts in this post are definitely biased, it is true. However, they are biased towards those individuals who actually want to take risks to do something remarkable with their lives. There is a need inside of these individuals to create value and wealth themselves. Entrepreneurship is definitely not for everyone. It is a roller coaster ride which has the ability to turn your life upside down. It confuses people, specially parents and the people in your life , until you experience some degree of success in what you are doing. This is a route meant for those individuals who have the ability to risk everything they have in return for a chance to achieve greatness. If you are a recent graduate, and think that entrepreneurship may be the path for you, you need to fight for it like everything else in life. Overcoming the odds is what sets entrepreneurs apart, and the sooner you get a head-start, the better!

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