Allison Greenberg, owner of Absolute Start-Up Advisors. Promoting small business growth.
I have spoken to many people who leave the corporate world to go out on their own and become an entrepreneur. I have asked many of these people why they chose to do so; the most common response I get is “I was sick of the corporate bull s***!” Then they go on and on about some traumatic instance they had with their boss or coworker. Listen closer and you will see that this typically boils down to 5 major themes. Master these and you will rock the corporate world. If not… maybe it is time to be your own boss! Read more to find out where you stand.
Ask yourself these 5 questions:
1. Can you take criticism?
In the corporate world you will always have a boss. Your boss is paid to tell you what to do. Your boss is paid to be the expert in that field, and because of that, they will feel obligated to instruct you. Right or wrong in their suggestions, they are still your boss. What is needed to overcome criticism even when you didn't ask for it? Patience. If you have the patience and the know-how to take criticism and action off it, you will be a star student in the classroom of the corporate world.
2. Have you mastered the art of challenging someone without being rude?
There is a fine line between a friendly disagreement and argumentative rudeness. If you can walk that line while still being respectful to superiors, you are made for the corporate world. Think your boss is wrong? You better have something well-thought out to say before you confront them. If they still disagree, back off and do what they want, but make sure to CYA (cover your ass). A friendly email recapping the pros and cons of the discussion will do. Unfair? Maybe. But out of your control, yes!
3. Can you handle a total shut down of your genius idea?
You have this genius idea. You did it. You finally figured out how to solve the problem. You spend hours putting the pitch together. It is brilliant. You stay up all night practicing what you are going to say to your superiors the next morning. You walk into the boardroom like a boss, you practiced and it’s perfect, it is the best idea you have ever had. You pitch it for 15 minutes straight… but it only takes 15 seconds for it to get smashed, stepped on, spit on and then thrown in the trash, never to be seen again. Sound traumatic? It is! But if you can handle it, and better yet, come back with an even better idea a few months later, you are made for corporate life.
4. Can you be happy working with unhappy people?
According to a CBS Money Watch report, “Of the country’s approximately 100 million full-time employees, 51 percent aren’t engaged at work -- meaning they feel no real connection to their jobs, and thus they tend to do the bare minimum. Another 16 percent are “actively disengaged” -- they resent their jobs, tend to gripe to co-workers and drag down office morale as a result.” This means that for every 2 people you pass on the way to the water cooler everyday, one of them is unhappy at work. This environment creates a serious crowd mentality. Who wants to preach rainbows and butterflies when your peers are acting like they just left a funeral? If you have the personality to turn negative energy into a positive environment, you will kick ass in a corporate world.
5. Understanding that no matter how many hours you work, your paycheck will still be the same.
This is not always the case, as some corporate positions are hourly, include commission or an incentive program. But for the majority of salaried employees, your 40 hours or 80 hours a week is the same in the corporate book of life. If you are solely driven by money, this may be a hard pill to swallow. This phenomenon can also have a negative effect where employees realize they do not need to put in the required hours but they will still receive their paycheck. Eventually this mentality catches up to people, but if you are one who believes that the more you work the more you should get paid, the corporate world model may not be best for you!
How did you score? If you answered yes to most of these questions, you should keep rocking that corporate life. If you were rolling your eyes and saying 'amen' too many times, you may be ready to take the next step to being your own boss.
DISCLAIMER: the contents of this article are the sole opinions of the author and do not reflect a particular company or industry. Different companies may have policies that are not reflected here. The author is aware that every company is different and many of the information may not apply to all corporations.