More executives than ever are taking the leap into the unknown and starting businesses
I read an interesting article recently that made the above claim – that in 2014, more executives than ever before are choosing to make their own way in the world and turning their back on the security of their corporate roles.
I found this interesting, not least because I expected more executives would’ve ‘jumped ship’ when the recession first kicked in, after figuring that an uncertain future in self-employment was no worse than an uncertain future in a very shaky corporate position, as the economic crisis claimed job after job. That executives are leaving in their droves now the economy looks to be stabilising led me to ponder why this may be.
Materialism is old hat
Before the recession, we lived in quite a greedy world. Consumerism was unrelenting, and many people bought things they couldn’t afford, simply because they could get credit to do so, or to ‘keep up with the Joneses’. Now that most people have had to make cutbacks, for many, it has helped them understand that items they once coveted were not actually essential to their life. I’ve seen a definite shift in mind-set over the last few years; many of my clients are reassessing their values and now realise that they’re less interested in what’s in their wardrobes and garages, instead, choosing to focus on what’s in their heart, mind and spirit.
The view from the top isn’t ‘all that’…
Some people, when they reach the top of their organisation, feel dissatisfied or disillusioned. The thrill of the climb is behind them, and there are fewer and fewer challenges ahead, which is what some executives thrive on. Once they’ve ‘made it’, where is there to go? It’s understandable that some think the next step is to make their own way in the world, applying the skills and experience they’ve gained towards a company they own – just to see if they can. The ‘quitting while I’m ahead’ mentality can also kick in for some executives, once at the top, where the only way to move is downwards.
When you’re focused on consecutive promotion and climbing higher in an organisation you rarely have time to think about anything else but reaching the next goal. But as you get higher up the ladder, and as you get to delegate more and more, you may start to consider the ‘bigger picture’. If you’ve always harboured a desire to start your own enterprise, these feelings may get stronger as time goes on, particularly if corporate life starts to become monotonous the more time you spend in it.
Age can be a factor
The recession and the state of the economy could be irrelevant – some executives just reach a point in their lives where they reinvent themselves, or take action because a life event has caused them to reassess. A loss of a parent can cause many people to look internally, as to whether they feel fulfilled and happy. Such an event often brings a new perspective to our lives. This ‘crisis of meaning’ hits many of us, mid-life, and propels people towards coaching to figure out their answers.
Courage to finally make a move
Perhaps it’s a longstanding feeling that they’re not ‘cut out’ for the corporate world that sees some executives decide to start up on their own. Though they’ll have probably known for quite some time that they’re unsuited to life behind a desk, or they feel increasingly trapped within the confines of office life, a need to financially provide for family/dependents may have stopped them acting on their desires once the recession reared its head. Now the economy is on a more even keel, it could be all they need to finally act on the plans they’d parked.
The shift in mind-set
Whatever the reason that sees many executives choose to leave their financial package behind, and though they may finally be living the life they’ve always dreamed of, it may be quite a shift, mentally, from autonomy to flexible working. However much they may have resisted corporate routine, suddenly having to be self-accountable and self-motivating can take some getting used to.
I’ve previously written a whole series of blog posts on the change process, and the separate stages that occur when transitioning. Though why you made the leap into the unknown may have been a decision you made a long time ago, adapting to the change when it actually happens can still throw up fear and uncertainty. Acknowledging and accepting these feelings will help you to adapt to your situation.
- Though you’re at liberty to work when and where you like, now you’re solo, it’s a good idea to still keep to a routine similar to the one you’ve left. Maintaining structure in your day will help you to get more done.
- Ascertain your transferable skills, and how they’ll best serve you in your new venture. This helps you to identify any skills gaps, or allows you to outsource any help you may need.
- Be realistic: there won’t be a salary dropping into your account every month, so it’s a good idea – in the short term – to evaluate your household income and expenditure and cut back on any non-essentials. It will take a while to get your name out there, whatever career you’ve chosen, and you need to make sure you can manage financially in the interim.
If you’re unsure of whether to go it alone, I can help you make that decision. If you have already come to such a conclusion, and would like my support so that it’s a smooth transition, contact me on 01302 220021 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
- Posted in: Emotional Intelligence ♦ Executive Coaching
- Tagged: angela sabin, consumerism, courage to start an enterprise, executive coaching, executives and self-employment, executives starting businesses, jumping ship, leaping into the unknown, materialism, reassessing life plans, self-employed or corporate life