Many of you reading this might think that after just a year or two at a job you’ve learned all you can, and now it’s time rush out and start your own business or make your big move, whatever that might be.
To that urge, I say wait!
Wait to make your big move—whatever it might be—until you get a little more experience and make a few more connections and save up some more money. Wait until you really know what it is you want to do after you venture outside the safe but dull haven of a corporate job. Learn all you can, and then when you’re ready and an opportunity presents itself—and you’ve saved up enough money to live off of until you get your next project off the ground or start your second act—then make your move. But make sure to wait until you’re ready to make that move. Too often people make that move too early only to have to come crawling back to a job in corporate America when they are still wishing they were somewhere else.
Just like in comedy and in sports, so it is in life: timing is never going to be perfect. everything. So wait and make your move when you feel it’s the right time, but make sure not to wait too long. Money is infinite time is not.
What if I can’t land that brand name job?
Not everyone can get a job at a large, brand name company, and some just don’t fit in there and don’t even want to try, even if only temporarily.
I knew a guy who chose to work at a small, private financial firm rather than a brand name company. After a few years, the firm grew and he eventually made partner. You could almost say that he was probably able to climb the ladder to the top faster given the smaller size of the company. He made it to the top faster, but he still had to give up some things due to working at a smaller firm.
Sometimes, you can get lucky, and if you start working at a smaller firm or company and that company grows under you, you can someday end up on top.
As with all endeavors, success happens after you know what kind of person you are and what kind of workplace you will thrive in best. So, if you’re not as competitive, then a small firm might be better for you. However, if you’re competitive that you can swim in a larger firm, especially if you’re young, single, and have lots of energy, which can allow you to outwork your coworkers who are older than you and may no longer have as much drive and who have to worry about going home to a family every night—meaning that they can’t keep working long hours.
My buddy who opted for a smaller firm can stay there forever, and that’s great for him, but he misses the lessons that he might have learned in dealing with others, changing jobs, working in a busy, competitive environment.
Obviously, there are plusses and minuses both ways, and even though he’s sacrificed some things by choosing a smaller firm, just because you land a job at a large company doesn’t mean you’ll make it to the top. In fact, most people don’t. At the same time, if you choose to work in a small, family-owned company, your ability to climb may be limited by your last name if it’s not the same as the owner’s.