The Myth of Entrepreneurial Exceptionalism
“The amazing part to me is how just a few years’ dipping in the corporate-ladder tea can make a person of normal intelligence believe that full-time salaried employment is the only kind worth having.
I remember meeting a guy at a networking event about five years ago. Like a lot of local networking events the shindig was well-populated by independent business people and consultants. ‘Do you work for yourself?’ I asked him, as the guy wasn’t wearing an ID badge.
‘Oh no!’ he said. ‘I’m one of the lucky ones.’ I may have gaped at him in astonishment.
Lucky? I can’t agree with that assessment. To work your tush off toward someone else’s goals with zero visibility into the future of your earnings, your resume or the way you spend your time all day – how is that lucky? I have no problem with full-time employment as a concept, but the past ten years should have shown us that to trust someone else with your career and earning power — even the roof over your family’s head — is lunacy.
We need to insist on visibility, information and the opportunity to negotiate the terms of our involvement in any project as often as necessary. No one benefits when we pretend that we don’t care whether the company’s new strategic direction spells an expanded role for us or none whatsoever. Why the fake politeness? We can say ‘How will this change affect me?’
That’s just prudence. We evolved on this planet. We know how to take care of hearth and home, or we’d better figure it out. We don’t do that by behaving like sheep, following somebody else’s plan for our careers. We don’t do it by internalizing the idea ‘I could never work for myself.’
You work for yourself no matter who pays you. It’s an entrepreneurial world now.”