My 17 years long corporate HR experience and all the thought process behind personal and career development were pointing to a conclusion I couldn’t explain verbally before I started my venture but felt it deep down inside. Robert Kiyosaki managed to explain it perfectly in an inspirational way in his book “Before You Quit Your Job”; “the difference between an employee and an entrepreneur is the difference between desire for security and desire for freedom.” A strong desire for security contradicts by definition the essence of personal development, while freedom is doing what you want, when you want, with whom you want, the way you want. Everything I learned in my corporate career, all the coaching sessions and all the personal development programs I delivered were leading to the fact that career development has to progress eventually into entrepreneurship, not chasing bigger titles in a never-ending rat race that keeps people trapped in a system where others control their destiny and therefore their life in exchange for fake security. Entrepreneurship should be the end game because it is itself a highly self-fulfilling achievement for those who take it seriously and decide to be masters in what they do.
Take a Job for Learning
I’m not saying people should not seek employment and growth in corporations; on the contrary, young people should start off in my view being employed, prove themselves, build their confidence, develop their interpersonal and communication skills and learn everything they can learn about the business world, so they exit one day and be successful on their own, but it must be a means to an end.
Based on research, the average age of successful startup entrepreneurs is 45, which means anywhere between 15 to 25 years of employment that provides serious learning opportunities would be sufficient in my view. The earlier, the better, so my advice to ambitious young people is – do not seek jobs that do not offer learning and development opportunities as you would be wasting your time and jeopardizing your progress. When taking on new jobs, if you were allowed one question at a job interview, it should be specifically related to learning opportunities. Make sure though you ask the question in multiple ways and do your research because most hiring managers and recruiters will not tell the truth. This is crucial.
The Career’s World is Changing
The gap between job demand and supply is constantly increasing with technological advancements and other factors, but the recent pandemic will definitely encourage more job losses not only for financial reasons but because many companies now realize that they can do business without employing a massive group people and locking them in cubicles and office hours, they don’t need a large number of ’employees,’ they need specialized and passionate freelancers and entrepreneurs that can get the job done remotely without hefty statutory responsibilities and with a simple go and stop buttons depending on business performance instead of going through the painful processes of hiring and firing in a very cyclic economy.
Employees who demand more flexibility after the pandemic and so-called experts encouraging working from home culture need to understand how most corporations think, employment to many old fashioned managers -that form the majority in my opinion- is about control, control of someone’s duties, his time, his whereabouts, his place of living, his calendar, his time off, his behaviors on the job, his verbal communication, and of course his pay, heightened flexibility kills control and therefore to many such managers it kills the necessity for employment.
With the majority of corporate philosophies totally focused and dependent on profitability and shareholders’ financial return, unfortunately, the people factor is becoming secondary, so ‘removing heads’ for better numbers had become a norm, which is making jobs less and less secure. As an ex HR leader, I had the unfortunate and worst experience of having to let go of so many people who were hoping for few more years of job security before retirement; it is simply awful and devastating.
Fear of Entrepreneurship
It is not a secret that the number one reason why people fail in chasing their dreams and prefer to stay in the ‘employee’ comfort zone is fear. Our mind will give us all the mental excuses to protect its spot in that comfort zone, but if we scratch a bit beneath the service, all these excuses are the result of fear.
Being alone with no fixed paycheck is not easy, especially when everyone you know demands you to find a job and play it safe, many people will not understand what and why you are doing what you do including close friends and family members, the logic they have for decades is that people should play it safe and go for a controlled work with guaranteed payment to pay the bills. However, I am telling you from experience this mindset is very destructive, especially if you are among the 87% of employees (based on global research) who go to jobs with no satisfaction or learning opportunities only to make money. You are basically killing yourself inside and slowly killing your dreams and freedom. I was there, but since I started my venture, I’ve never been more alive!
If you are an ambitious and already established mid-career employee but have a fear of the unknown, don’t overthink, just start, begin partially as a 10% entrepreneur, then make it full time, if you have the commitment you will learn your way. Do not keep the safety net of a job though for long, one because you won’t be fair to your full-time job, two because you want to give your business a good chance to succeed, it is human nature that we perform way better when we do not have a safety net or a way back.
My 8 months experience as an entrepreneur taught me that it is not as complex and risky as I initially thought, it is incredibly challenging but simple. Everything you need is literally at your fingertips, all the know-how, expertise and mentors are out there accessible with a click, all your potential customers are around you in the virtual world just one message away and all the tools, systems and software you require to streamline your business processes and data are available and free! All you need is the right mindset, some common sense, and a fighting spirit in addition to good communication and interpersonal skills. End of the day the risk you are taking by trying to stay as an employee hoping for security till retirement is way bigger because what happens to you will always be a result of the market, org changes and other people making decisions about you, by hoping to meet your grand goals while hanging on as an employee, you are to a large extent playing the lottery with your life.
Besides, the security you are seeking in a job is not for free; if you are good at what you do, then it is capping your true value to a market price and, therefore, your income potential. Think about it this way, everyone in the market, whether they are good or bad, valuable or not, ambitious or not, will make more or less the same income range for the job you do because there is a market price, a price tag for every corporate job. Even when you take up higher positions every couple of years, there is always a limit to how much you can make; your potential is therefore capped by many means in exchange for temporary security. When you are on your own, the potential is ‘Limitless’ because opportunities are limitless. Opportunities are limitless simply because problems are everywhere; you just need to reach out with genuine intention and skills to solve them. Do not block your potential and limitless opportunities for temporary comfort.
The key question you need to ask yourself is, what life do you want to live? A life of safety and security and annoying reactions to other peoples’ decisions affecting your life, or you want a life of adventure? You need to decide, do you want to be obsessed with big goals by being a passionate creator or industry disruptor, or you just want to be like the other 90%, an average person who plays it safe and hope those on top like him till retirement.
Life is a constant fight for territory to get the things that you want, the moment you stop fighting, the things that you do not want will automatically take over. Therefore, success or failure depends on the mindset and fighting spirit; nothing can stop those who are willing to take another way when there is no way and fight relentlessly until they get what they want. Nothing!
Take Control of Your Destiny
When you are young, having people telling you what to do, what you should learn, where to spend your time, how you should think and how you should behave, even telling you if you worth something or nothing is all digestible and many times useful, this is part of the learning process, you sacrifice your ego for the sake of learning and growing. In fact, if you are under 30, I personally encourage you to listen, follow other’s footsteps and instructions, do what is told and take in and analyze all negative feedback regardless of the situation and the people giving it.
As we get older and established, we tend to have our own understanding of the world based on our own experience; therefore, it becomes harder to be just a ‘good employee.’ You want to speak up your mind and say what is right and what is wrong, challenge the system when it needs to be challenged, question intentions, and point out mistakes, that’s the only way you can be yourself, contribute to the fullest, and truly exist. Of course, getting feedback and hearing other views is an ongoing process that is always beneficial in constantly developing and refurbishing your view, but it should be a two-way process because now you also have something to put on the table.
Unfortunately, most companies today struggle with the 2-way transparent communication between management and employees, simply because they prioritize profits over people. So, under tough shareholders and business pressure, they downgrade the role of HR and fail to build or sustain a strong company culture. Such companies lock you in a one-way communication system that wants to force you into a certain tight thinking process, communication that is cooked like the financial statements presented to employees, very well marketed messages that you must contribute to. However, with time and experience, those messages become harder to digest because now you know the difference between what is real and what is fake. If you are at one of those businesses, do not speak your mind and say things people do not like because it will put you into trouble, you have to act, keep your head down and make sure other people like you if you really love your security. Or, let me ask you the question again, what life you want to live as you age? A life where you follow boxed decisions, where you are always trying to impress others in exchange for security, or a life filled with passion, a life of doing, and saying what you believe and being 100% yourself?
We are talking here about you retaking control of your destiny; You are more important than just a name and a title discussed in closed rooms, so plan your career accordingly. If you are young and ambitious, learn now as much as you can, everything about the business you are in, and add to your personal strengths because your business will unbelievably reflect your strengths and weaknesses. And if you are established but still so much worried about security, let me remind you that we live only once, what a shame if you waste that time in the shadows of others, so find a good problem to solve, take a leap of faith, get good people around you and fight till you succeed.
Finisya Hospitality solutions supports new restaurant owners and investors in making their dream come true and in running their business successfully. If your entrepreneurial dream happens to be in the F&B field, let us know!
Co-founder and Managing Partner
Finisya Hospitality Solutions