If you’re tired of waiting around for the job market to improve, for hiring managers to get back to you, for a decent position to show up on Monster.com, it may be time to seize control and see what kind of job you can create for yourself.
For years, I have been writing about the joys of escaping from Corporate America to find more fulfilling work. The best decision that I ever made was to walk away from my six-figure financial services job to start my own business.
Of course, that was in 2005. In 2008, many of those who left Corporate America did not do it by choice. They were pushed off the corporate ladder and felt lucky if they got a severance package to cushion the fall.
And now, many feel like they have been banished from Corporate America for good. There are far fewer jobs for far more applicants than ever before, especially on Wall Street (where many of my friends and coaching clients were superstars for years before getting laid off).
In this job market, many feel lucky to have jobs that they hate because at least they’re collecting pay checks. Others are willing to take whatever position they can get until the economy improves.
Does all of this mean that job satisfaction is an outdated luxury? That you should give up hope of finding fulfilling work?
NO. Yes, a recession is absolutely a tough time to find a job or make a career change. Yes, you may need to make some sacrifices to pay your bills through the downturn. But you don’t have to give up on your dreams forever.
Now is the time to take control of your career and start running it like a business. In fact, now may be the perfect time to start running your own business.
You don’t have to line up millions in venture funding. You don’t have to give up on your job hunt to explore entrepreneurship. You can start a business on the side in your spare time from your computer. After all, that’s how a lot of us managed to make successful escapes from Corporate America — by starting our businesses on the side and doing some ethical moonlighting.
You can launch a business as a consultant or freelancer today — all you need is the talent that you already possess and the confidence to go out and sell it. Or you can think much bigger. Some of the greatest (and wealthiest) entrepreneurs in history left Corporate America to pursue their dreams.
You can potentially start bringing in revenue right away. Maybe you’ll decide to ditch your job search and focus on your business full-time. Or maybe you’ll just keep it going until the market improves and you land the job of your dreams.
Haven’t you always wondered what it would be like to work for yourself? Now may be the perfect time to find out. In fact, many of the entrepreneurs that I interviewed for Escape from Corporate America started their successful businesses after they were laid off during the last downturn. Some of them did it because they were able to use their severance packages to pay the bills during the first, lean months of entrepreneurship. Some of them were fueled by anger over getting laid off and vowed to never be at the mercy of bad managers again. Still others found that unemployment finally gave them some time to really think about what they wanted to do with their lives.
I’m not saying that entrepreneurship is an easy out for frustrated job hunters. To make your own business work, you will have to put in a lot of sweat. However, all of that sweat will go into building something real. The rewards can be life changing.
2009 may just be the year that you discover a new purpose and show the world what you can do. And who knows? You may someday look back on being banished from Corporate America as a gift.