The Right Stress: Yet Another Reason I’m an Entrepreneur


We all have stress in our work, but there is a big difference between what I call “corporate stress” and “entrepreneurial stress.” I have dealt with both and I have chosen the entrepreneurial stress. Here’s why.

stress entreprenuer business

I hear often from friends who work in a corporate environment about the challenges they face daily. While the size of businesses vary, they all share some of the same dynamics, particularly the personnel, policy and culture dynamics that are beyond their control. While I know that control is elusive at best, entrepreneurs have a simple creed we all live by: we eat what we kill. While that might sound simplistic, it’s ultimate the bottom line for those of us who work for ourselves.

As a business owner, I cannot blame anyone else for making bad business decisions, or for not moving forward fast enough to take advantage of opportunities. These are usually my decisions, or decisions I make with a small team of executives. We don’t have a board of directors, a group of investors or bankers we have to seek their blessing for every major decision. We don’t have to ask permission to spend more than 25 dollars.

My friends in the midst of the corporate world have to manage up, down and side ways. They worry about how their boss perceives them, or whether their boss’s boss knows how incompetent their immediate supervisor really is. They worry that their peers perform better or take credit for work they do. They stress over how to lead those who work for them and make sure they meet the assigned quota whether or not that number is based on reality or arbitrarily pulled out of thin air by someone else at the corporate office.

Sadly, at the end of the day, there’s no security for the corporate worker, even for those who perform well–sometimes specially for those who perform too well. Office politics, budget cuts, re-structuring, or whatever the reason might be, the corporate job stress never subsides. While you might be killing your dinner, your boss’s dinner and village chief’s dinner, you still wonder if your job will be there tomorrow.

After years of living in the corporate dilemma, I decided that, for good or bad, I was ready to live with the consequences and rewards of my own talents and decisions. I have yet to regret it.

Which is more your style: managing the corporate or entrepreneurial stress?

  • Okay. Between you, Jon Acuff and Seth Godin I’m beginning to hate my cubicle. I would say that entrepreneurial stress is more my style, but am struggling with feeling like I’ve been programmed to be a Dilbert.

    Fortunately, I have a great boss who encourages development and pushing the envelope so I’ve completed my MBA and am working on becoming a presentation guru.


    • First of all, thank you for putting me along such great company. I’m an accidental entrepreneur; I was tossed into it more so than decided to become one. So you’ll never know how this thing is going to play out for you.

      • Thank you for the encouragement. I find that people are more often than not
        “thrown in” to their career. I think the trick is to show up, take
        initiative and know when to take the leap.

  • John

    Been an entrepreneur for 23 years.  You must have the stomach for it and be able to work around and with many types of personalities.  There is no middle ground; either you’re going to have the stamina to be on your own or the fortitude to take the politics that typically comes with a corporate environment but also comes with the steady paycheck…high benefits to both.

  • So true Maurilio !! I remember a time when I had my own company and it grew to a size that I evolved away from the projects and clients (the fun and rewarding stuff!!)… I found out what it’s like to be self-employed and loose what I enjoyed the most. Consequently, I back-tracked and became more satisfied at the end of the day for it.

    • That’s a great point, Chris. If you love the work, then let someone else manage the business. Those are two completely different skill/passion sets.

  • Excellent points. I too chose the path you have. My mom always told me “You have a choice. Play by their rules or start your own team.”

    • So you’re the kid with the ball who started a new team! 🙂

  • So with you on this entirely – exactly why I work independently… and as a mom, it’s very helpful!

  • One of the things I’ve realized about myself is that am driven by pioneering or doing new things or improving or turning things around… I struggle when I see a need and feel the need to innovate something. tension normally arises when my superior(s) don’t see the need to start blazing trails in new directions… over the last few months I’ve been challenged to manage the tension / frustration… am more fulfilled now that am in a role where am constantly creating new things… 

    I probably would do well as a  full on entrepreneur. For now I think the challenge is when you’re more entrepreneurial inclined and have to manage that in an environment that is not liberal enough (whatever that means)… 

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