At some point, it became fashionable for Millennials to forgo corporate life to carve their own paths. In fact, it seems like you can’t pick up a business publication these days without reading something about people surrendering their stable paychecks and leaving the corporate world to pursue their passion or purpose.
This endless focus on entrepreneurship, the gig economy, and “side hustles” is enough to make the most committed corporate advocate question their conventional 9-5.
I love the spirit of entrepreneurship. And, I admire the guts it takes to make that leap. It’s not easy. I know because I did it. I followed my purpose and I have no regrets.
But what about those whose life purpose REQUIRES working inside an organization? After all, some things can’t be accomplished through a solopreneurial gig. Some big dreams require being part of a larger organization, where you get the kind of structure, support, and resources you need to really make things move.
Like the engineers and project managers I coached who came together to complete one of the largest liquified natural gas projects in the world. Or, the scientists, like my husband, who are working to find new ways to treat cancer. Or the engineering, marketing, and finance teams I coached from a major auto manufacturer, who steadfastly brought new vehicles to market. None of these big goals could be accomplished individually.
In romanticizing the rugged individualism that is so deeply honored in our culture, are we losing sight of the grand ambitions that require more?
I know that life in corporate America is often far from glamorous. Staring across a field of cubicles or sitting through a droning PowerPoint presentation can be downright soul-sucking. Dilbert exists for a reason.
Bad bosses, shady power plays, and the daily grind can be draining. You go to work and see decisions being made that are incomprehensible. You run up against policies that are frustrating and counterproductive. You ask a question that no one can answer—and they seem annoyed that you even asked. It’s enough to make Uber driving seem appealing.
At the same time, most entrepreneurs will tell you it isn’t as sexy as it sounds. Yes, there are incredible benefits to calling your own shots. But there are also downsides to working on your own that no one prepares you for—the constant hustle, the isolation, the lack of support and resources, and the stress of not knowing where your next paycheck is coming from.
The truth is, there is no right or wrong path. Just different choices. If you choose to work within an organization, you can use the idea of entrepreneurship to identify and reconnect with what inspires you about your own work. Consider how you can embody an entrepreneurial spirit in your organizational job and carve your own path within that realm.
When you launched your career, you wanted to be part of something meaningful. You can still have that. But to get there, you need to generate your own sense of purpose. You need to know what it’s all for and to feel like you’re actively pursuing that and growing along the way.
When you have a clear sense of purpose—when you know exactly WHY you’re sitting in that cubicle—it’s energizing!
Finding your purpose in your job doesn’t mean trading in weekly meetings to wander through Tuscany (as dreamy as that sounds). It just means taking some time to focus on what you want to accomplish long-term and identifying the most efficient and effective avenues of action. And, you don’t need to wait for your boss or division manager or CEO to articulate it. You can make your own meaning and take charge of your own destiny. Be your own leader in this.
That’s exactly what I cultivate with my clients. I help them get in touch with what they want from their careers long-term and the steps they can take to get there. You may not be able to see the path from where you’re standing, but it’s there. And once you see it, moving toward that vision will inspire you like never before.
If that sounds like something you’d like to explore, let’s connect. We can get on the phone for about 45 minutes and talk about where you are now and where you want to go in your career – and if I can help you on that path, we can talk about that. And if not, that’s okay, too – I’ll do my best to steer you toward other resources who can. Either way, you’ll walk away from the call with more clarity than you have now, I promise. Click here to book a call.