No career is a straight line. A few follow predictable paths; most take surprising curves to unexpected places; while others receive incredible boosts leading to different outcomes. After 17 years in the corporate world, last month I started some incredibly exciting business ventures and left behind a steady visible role in a large organization and decided to invest time, work and brain into some of my (remunerative) passions and purposes.
Will I go back one day? Maybe yes maybe not, surely not for a little while: I am increasing in value meanwhile as they say, staying laser-focused on my purpose and making impact where right now it matters most to me. I am incredibly grateful for what the corporate world has given me, I could not be doing this had I not had the experiences, network and discipline that only years of hard work in the corporate world often provide. Make no mistake, I worked hard, very hard and nothing was ever given for free, in fact, the opposite really, I gave much more than I received, as it happens for many in the corporate world. But if you are smart you learn from the good and the bad, I treasure this truth and have made it mine daily.
I am born and bread in the corporate world and have met a great amount of smart, talented people in it. I have met those who love to thrive in it, and probably could not thrive elsewhere and surely not on their own, I have met those who believe to be seriously smart, but get nothing done and really smart are not, they simply shout louder or can temporarily leverage the right "vitamin", which by the way, will not last forever. I have also met a great amount of what one of my old bosses would call "floaters" - still makes me smile thinking of some people I have met over the years who perfectly fit this definition, you know who you are guys. And finally I have met some gems that could really shine brighter in other environments and some who are just perfect where they are and thank goodness for them, please keep shining.
These dynamics today are increasingly interesting to me. Who stays, who goes back, who leaves the corporate world and why? Is it a generational phenomenon or part of the "4th industrial revolution" or both?
What becomes apparent rapidly once out is the highly peripheral view we often suffer from when plugged deep into a corporation. I recently had lunch with Mark A., an admirable ex colleague who has decreased to the minimum his working hours at his company and started his own exciting business. Like me he has been on his entrepreneurial journey for only a few weeks and we both marveled at the amount of reality we only found out about once both out and about to build our businesses. More about him and his story in the coming weeks.
So what happens once "out"? As mentioned you realize immediately that the business world is much wider than you had perceived. Of course, you do know that while at your corporate desk, but you don`t really size it up because everything you breathe is scanned through the "corporate lens". The incredible amount of seriously smart, brave leaders, ex-corporates mostly, who are driving and launching incredible businesses all on their own while having fast, high, tangible impact is positively overwhelming. And their impact affects their businesses, the economy and society at large. Not in years and multiple headlines, but in weeks or months with stats and facts.
From years as a D&I champion in various corporate roles, I had realized the high amount of talents that the corporate world loses every year. 7 weeks into my own entrepreneurship adventure I can see where many of the brightest minds are increasingly heading to. What will the future hold for large corporations who are no longer able to retain many of their talents I wonder and what could be the impact on society? Is the balance of power shifting? Is this due to the new generations coming in, moving up and out, to the new opportunities offered by digital life, to a new awareness, or is it simply cultural and economical winds of change?
Just over a year ago I was sitting in front of a very forward looking financial services economist, UBS`Paul Donovan who stated that "Labour markets are undergoing a cultural revolution: what we are seeing in the global economy today are the early stages of the 4th industrial revolution: 76% of UK businesses today employ nobody. They are 1 person businesses." Watch his presentation here. How real does that ring now.
“Fearless Fridays" is about outstandingly talented human capital that has started businesses in the past few years. A series of blog-posts that will showcase the amazing stories of successful, purpose-driven entrepreneurs I have come across in my first 7 weeks outside of the corporate world and of those I met along the way in my highly formative years on the corporate ladder.
We will portray talents that have left the corporate world behind to do something less conventional, whether it was to move into a different sector, to start their own business, or to do something more creative.
Stay tuned and don`t miss our first story on Friday 1 December on the single, most successful ever-recorded case of crowd-funding in Switzerland.