Hmmm! This is a question I am often asked by ambitious young professionals. Should I start my own business or go through the ranks of a well-established corporation?
I have taken a path that is a little atypical, to say the least.
After a 14-year career at the Xerox Corporation (100,000 employees), I made a 180-degree turn, changed directions and tackled a new career at a smaller institution the National Bank (with only 20,000 employees). Still a big company, but definitely a smaller team!
The years of corporate life were extremely enriching from a personal development point of view. I reached career heights that I thought were unachievable, and, I developed great friendships with many colleagues.
I then made another 180-degree turn. Today, I am actively involved with BizBiz Share (20 employees and no employee number!), A young technology company that has the wind at its sails and who is always working towards the big picture! Working at a start-up is a completely different life. For one the budgets are much tighter. You have less to work with so you become a “handyman”, a jack-of-all-trades. You have to be ready to pull up your sleeves and get your hands dirty. You have to be versatile and adapt to a constantly changing environment.
At the same time, life at a Start-up is extremely exciting. You are no longer just a number, a cog in a wheel. Now, you are the wheel. My employee number at the bank was 38472. Even as a Vice President I had a number !!!. In a Start-up, it’s just André, no number and it’s the team that really makes the difference!
Creativity is always in full-force! We are always thinking outside the box. No barriers, no limits. Teamwork and passion is everything and is essential for the survival of a start-up. The rewards are more direct and infinitely more powerful than in big corporations.
For those who have the desire to change the world, to build a business, a start-up, with all the risks associated with it, gives you 1000 times more fulfillment and “thrill” than any other job in the corporate sector.
The choice is yours!