Thursday, April 12, 2007

5 Resons to Hate Corporate Life

After working for a small technology start up over the last 6 months I have just paused for a moment’s reflection and realised what I was missing from corporate life.

Corporations sell employees “substantial benefits packages”, “job security”, "career prospects" the regular salary and the dream that a handful of share options will pay out enough to retire. Some of this is a little tough to swallow these days as there really is no such thing as job security .

There are a few other side effects for working for a well known organisation not often mentioned. For instance when you are trying to make contact with someone you’ve not met before, they are far more likely to take your call or respond to your messages. You can usually set the agenda and get others to comply – i.e. throw your weight around effectively.

If all you want is a regular income to enable other interests in your life then maybe disappearing into the corporate morass and picking up a regular cheque is just what you should do. This is not what I want from over a third of my week. It may be a bit of a cliché but I want to “make a difference” and get real “job satisfaction” whilst bringing home enough for a crust or two and have a realistic dream of significant success and financial independence.

So this leads to my top 5 reasons why not to go back to corporate life:

1. Personal commitment and hidden agendas
There is a need to establish personal motivations in a corporate community and they can range from complete indifference to monetary gains to megalomania. Success or failure of personal agendas can cause a wide range in levels of commitment – almost none of which are for the corporation. Right now the only thing that matters to us is the success of our start up – without which we all fail.

2. Just a replicating cog
Someone somewhere in a large corporation has done it before or already decided what you should do. I like to create and today that’s down to me and I get the satisfaction of being responsible for the results – good or bad – it’s a freedom that’s unbeatable.

3. Budgets
The budget reigns supreme in matters which involve financial planning and there is generally no concern about the funding, cash position, investments or real affordability. It’s no wonder so many crap decisions are made. Small business limitations force this awareness and this in turn drives innovation and efficiency.

4. Red tape and inflexibility
Controls are needed in a large organisation – at least that’s the defence for red tape – what I can appreciate now is the efficiency between taking a decision and making it happen, usually there’s a whole different critical path. i.e. can we afford it right now as opposed to have we got all the necessary signatures!

5. Human Resources
There is a science in crowd control or battery farming and HR is the equivalent in corporate life. Under the pretext of caring for employees, providing training and other personal development benefits their cover is blown during periods of reorganisation. Hopefully we can scale efficiently enough to avoid this parasitic role for a long time to come.

There were a few that didn’t quite make the grade like: meetings – room availability and scheduling fun, reporting for reporting sake and dividing up menial pay raises amongst a team all deserving the maximum award.

Thank god for our technology start up – hopefully we’ll come up trumps on the rewards as well.

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