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.
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?