Magazine article Management Today

First-Class Coach

Magazine article Management Today

First-Class Coach

Article excerpt

How much would you miss the relative security and comfort that employment affords?

Q: I've been in the same large management consultancy since I left university 12 years ago. I've got a good salary and all the benefits, and since I had my first child four years ago, I've been working flexibly. Yet I'm becoming increasingly bored of corporate life, and I'm toying with the idea of starting my own business. Would it be stupid of me to quit?

A: As I know from friends who work in management consultancy, in the early years of the job, the pace is fast and furious: exhausting, but exciting, with new projects and different locations providing constant interest. However, this degree of intensity isn't sustainable, and it becomes a lot less desirable when you have a young family. Flexible working and involvement in different types of project relieve some of the pressure and can reduce the travel requirement, but the trade-off is a loss of some of the challenge. It sounds to me as if your cushy job is boring you.

Your idea to leave and start your own business may be the right thing to do, but it is only one option. Because of the nature of new business start-ups, it is important to explore other possibilities before jumping ship.

It would be difficult to imagine two more different existences than working in an established organisation and starting your own business. The first provides light, warm offices, a photocopier, a computer, a mobile phone and tech- nical support, paid holidays, status and the companionship of like-minded colleagues - not to mention a regular (perhaps sizeable) salary.

With your own business, you'll have to set about creating all this financial, logistical and emotional support. Initially, only the quality of the coffee may be better than you have now. Certainly, the quality of life will take time to develop into something close to your ideal.

Some of my clients have set up their own business and have so relished stepping outside the pressures of the corporate world to become masters of their own destinies that they have made light of the difficulties they encountered on the way. Others have experienced enormous frustration, especially in the set-up phase, when there is no-one to whom they can delegate simple tasks like buying the loo roll, or the fact that they have to wait in all day for a phone line to be installed. …

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