Would love to get your comments below on this post from a client of mine. How can he use his entrepreneurial skills to land a corporate job that desires those skills? If you have some insight here, please share!
– Coach Wolfgang
I’m in the middle of a job search and working with Wolfgang Career Coaching. There’s a big question I have that doesn’t have clear answers. Amy Wolfgang suggested we ask it in the context of a blog and see what answers come back.
Corporate jobs are frustrating
I currently work in the marketing department for a good company that provides a reasonable amount of security. Sometimes the work is interesting, sometimes it is challenging but many times… it’s frustrating. It’s frustrating for a few reasons:
- My role is often reduced to routine project management.
- I really don’t feel my full skill set is being utilized.
- We aren’t trying to tackle the real issues that hold back our success.
- We move so slow to get just simple things done.
This isn’t the case all the time but it is fairly routine. Thus, I’ve been passively looking for jobs for months now and recently stepped up to actively looking.
Entrepreneurship offers more satisfaction
So why do I feel this way? What am I comparing my current job to? The answer: helping to run a small business. My partner has a small business that I’m actively involved in. I lead the way with digital marketing initiatives (website, ads, emails, blogs, etc.), bookkeeping, operational projects and our sales metrics. It’s a lot of work but I enjoy it because:
- I’m on the leadership team developing our strategy
- I get to wear many hats that utilize a variety of skills
- We focus on what matters and will make the biggest impact
- We see the impact of what we do immediately
- I’m compelled to develop my entrepreneurial skills and learn new things.
So here’s the question:
Barriers to listing my entrepreneurial skills
I’m hesitant to add my experiences with my startup to my resume. I fear that companies will look at my entrepreneurship skills and think:
- This guy is distracted and just wants to work on his side business.
- All these skills he is listing aren’t needed for this role.
- His successes and experiences in a small business don’t translate into corporations.
That’s the conservative thinking coming through (and winning). My gut tells me that my work as an entrepreneur makes me a very valuable hire and that experience will actually set me apart.
The problem is that I can’t get past the gamble.
I just don’t know that recruiters and hiring managers are open-minded enough to entrepreneurial skills. Even if they are, I question my ability to present these skills in an effective way.
So why don’t I quit my corporate job and be a full-time entrepreneur?
My partner is full-time in the business and the income isn’t covering one salary let alone two. It would take awhile to get the business up to that level. The short-term would require a reduction in our savings account and a cutback in our lifestyle. I’m hesitant about taking the leap and my partner is very much against it.
Why don’t I put my entrepreneurial skills to work at my corporate job?
This is a tough question to answer because I do and I don’t. My favorite parts of my corporate job involve identifying and trying to tackle a complex problem that others seem to ignore. On the other hand, most of my day is spent struggling to keep up with all the project work that is on my plate.
Corporations actually suppress innovation
At my corporate job and in most job descriptions I get the strong sense that they want someone who can follow instructions. Of course, they need to use their expertise in a particular area. Sometimes that involves making changes and suggesting new ideas, but the impact of those changes/ideas are minor. Mainly, I’m there to execute what someone else devises.
In reality, this suppresses my entrepreneurial instincts, not just because my time is eaten up by project management, but because ideas are pushed to me and no one ever asks me what my ideas are. I find this ironic because I’m someone on the front line who has a good sense for how our marketing is received. I would think Directors would want my opinion for that reason!
The other way entrepreneurship is suppressed in my corporate job is the pervasive sense of fear. No one will get in trouble for doing things the way everyone else does them. Thus, everyone – and I mean all the way to the VP level – sticks to the current set of expected tactics. When the results are poor, no one gets in trouble, probably, because everyone would do things the same way. Managers respond by saying we need to get faster or we need to improve communication or our workflow… the whole process is very stuck in doing what people already know.
Corporations don’t know what innovation is
It’s funny in the corporate world when someone chooses a different tactic or different way of doing things. The differences are minor yet the managers and directors behind the change, tend to toot their own horns as being innovative and thinking outside the box. I think it’s funny because it’s so minor compared to being in a small business. Entrepreneurs have to deal with figuring out how to do things so that they deliver better results. Oftentimes, that is something very new or something developed by testing.
“Doing the same old thing” in the corporate world will eventually have its day where that “same old thing” is returning decreasing value. That’s where entrepreneurial-minded people would have a great impact. When will corporations want to hire those people and use them correctly? I’d love to discuss your thoughts below in the comments section. Thank you!
Amy Wolfgang is a career coach who founded Wolfgang Career Coaching and co-founded Coaching 4 Good. She brings over 15 years of corporate and coaching experience to help organizations boost employee engagement while simultaneously helping her clients excel in their careers. She is a certified PCM (Professional Career Manager) and has a Master’s degree in Educational Psychology from The University of Texas at Austin.
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