I consider myself a corporate refugee. I was able to escape cubicle nation and trade the 9-5 for 50+ hours a week doing what I love. I wouldn’t have it any other way but being an entrepreneur has its ups and downs. Yes, you get to do what you love but you also have ghastly hours, have to hold yourself accountable and paychecks are never certain. It’s no wonder that entrepreneurs start to question whether or not they should yield to their desire for a consistent paycheck and employee perks. Our members are often lured back to the traditional workforce and the recruiter’s phone calls bring back memories of the joys that consistency can bring. We are unable to tell you if you should return because every person is different but coming from an experienced refugee I would say “HECK NO.” If you still aren’t convinced here are six questions you should ask yourself when deciding to return back to the corporate world.
1. How much do you value freedom?
Freedom; men have died for it, world wars have been started because of it and it’s the same reason why our founder, Felena Hanson, chooses to be an entrepreneur. As a business owner, you have the option to go to work early, take a Friday off, or leave for a doctor’s appointment. How important is that to you? If you don’t mind following protocol and a chain of command to request time off or pitch an idea then you can check this issue off of your list.
2. What’s the new company’s culture?
Do your research and find out why this company recruiter has come searching for a viable candidate. Why is this position open? Why did the previous employee choose to leave? If it’s a cultural issue, you need to be wary. Hunt for some of the company’s employees on LinkedIn and ask them about the company’s culture. Is it innovative? Do they value collaboration? Is this company transparent and ethical? Knowing what kind of organization you could potentially be a part of will help you make an educated and value based decision.
3. Is Corporate America really secure?
One thing that people fail to remember is that Corporate America isn’t a sure thing. Your job, position, and contract are not set in stone. You are replaceable and regardless of tenure or title you can still fall victim to a restructure, fire, or lay off.
4. Why did you leave in the first place?
Draw a line down a piece of paper and write out the pros and cons of your last position or your last experience in corporate. What was it that made you leave? If you believe you will encounter that issue at your potential organization, don’t take the job.
5. What do you value?
Finding out what motivates and drives you can be a challenge but it’s imperative to declare them before you join a company. If your new company values what you do, then the job might be a good fit. If you are person driven by humanity or innovation and find that this organization is unethical or stuck in their old ways, you know that you will spend your days butting your head against their double glass doors.
6. Could this be your new client?
So they want you. How nice! Turn their offer into a lead. Figure out what department this job falls under and contact their VP or director. Express that you are not for full time hire but you can support their goals as a consultant. Don’t undersell yourself either. Triple your hourly rate; trust me they can afford it. Everyone wins — they are able to complete the tasks they need without paying for a full time employee’s salary or benefits and you get a steady paycheck, reputable client for your portfolio, and autonomy.
At some point in your career we are all faced with the decision to pursue entrepreneurship and to leave it. These questions and tools will help you make a logical and value driven decision.
My advice — Don’t take it. But that’s wisdom coming from an experienced refugee.
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