In: entrepreneur9 Dec 2009
I had a conversation with two different people this week that got me thinking about traditional corporate employment versus working for yourself. There are definitely pros and cons to each, but these stories illustrated a big difference between the two.
“He Just Doesn’t Get it.”
The first person works for a large media company. This particular company is rolling out a few changes to how they do things and a new process was developed for how metrics are reported. The team was instructed on how to properly implement this new method. This person had then gone the extra mile and worked with the team to ensure everyone understand the new procedure.
It wasn’t a big change, more of a tweak to the current way of doing things. But one member of the team continues to do things the old way. He says he understands the changes, but time and time again, he is turning in his reports with the wrong information. This obviously annoyed this person, which then led to complaints about other employees, along with frustration that the boss does little to reward good behavior or address bad behavior. Overall, short of leaving, they felt powerless to change things.
“They Just Don’t Get It.”
The other conversation was with a developer who has managed their own business for many years. They had been working with a specific client during the past few months and it had grown to be a painful relationship. Endless changes and never-ending complaints had taken its toll, but the client paid well, so the projects dragged on.
After the latest client outburst, this developer had finally had enough and decided to fire the client. Sure, they would be walking away from a large source of income, but it wasn’t worth the aggravation. This type of situation was one of the reasons they had left a corporate gig to start their own business in the first place. So ties were severed and the client was let go.
These two stories tell of a similar experience: the pain of dealing with difficult people. But working for yourself provides a huge benefit over being an employee.
When you work for yourself, you can decide who to work with.
You can’t fire your boss. And you can’t fire your co-workers. But clients can be dropped. When you run your own business, who you work with is ultimately up to you. Whether it is a client who is always unsatisfied and complains about the bill or a subcontractor or employee who continually makes mistakes, these work relationships are all at your discretion.
When you work for someone else, your only option is usually “take it or leave it.” You can always quit and work elsewhere, but while you’re there, you often have little control over who you have to work with. The company decides that for you.
Working for yourself isn’t for everyone. And there are days when the greener grass of working for someone else looks appealing. But running your own business can offer something traditional employment can’t: freedom.
One of the Co-Founders of SideTour, former TechStar (NYC Summer 2011), ex-NBA'er, and past TechCrunch Disrupt Hackathon Winner.