I love trying new things. Waking up, experimenting, researching, and implementing is exciting to me – this is why entrepreneurship is so appealing to me. Lately though, I’ve been having a lot of conflicting thoughts. I’ve finished up my last project at work, and now am on to another project which I’m really enjoying. Why would I want to leave a good situation, even if I have the money to do so? Why not get paid to build my skills some more? In this post, I will share with you why I never knew the impact Corporate America would have on me.
An Update on 9 to 5 Life
A few weeks ago, I posted about my job search and how I was considering taking a paycut. I ended up interviewing at the firm and didn’t get the role. They asked me where I wanted to be in 3-5 years and I didn’t have a good answer for them because I really didn’t know. I didn’t know if I wanted to be an employee for a big firm or the owner of my own small business – I’m still trying to figure this out! At the end of the day, they moved on and I’ve come to peace with it. The role would have been a great learning experience, but also a tough move to make at this stage in my career.
I finished up my summer model development project this past week and now have started on a new project. I had lunch with one of the managers in my department who runs the production team and we chatted about the cool projects he wants to tackle: some more automation of our models, potentially building out dashboards and web applications, and exploring new technologies. These all sounded very exciting to me, as I could learn new skills on the job: some more HTML and CSS, Java, Scala, and I’d be designing interfaces for senior members of the organization to look at different segments of our portfolios.
I love programming – the problem solving that comes with programming is not work to me. Sitting down, popping in some headphones, and coding never gets old. I started to reflect on my situation – why am I in this spot to make a move that’s beneficial to me and the team? There are a few things that Corporate America has taught me, and how I’ve learned them, internalized them, and grown to allow myself to become a strong contributor to my firm.
The 3 Things Corporate America has Taught Me
There are 3 things Corporate America has taught me:
Monday through Friday, 9 AM to 5 PM. No days off, work towards the goals of the department until we reach them and then keep going.
Consistency is incredibly important in all facets of life. Waking up and working towards your goals each and every day is how to be successful. Put in the time, and time will work for you.
Communication is the most important skill of all in Corporate America. Being able to explain your thoughts and work in a concise, yet informative way is so critical. I was never that great of a communicator growing up, and after giving presentations, working with a diverse group of people, and working on my writing, I’ve become better.
It really shows who works on their communication. Just this Spring, I was the youngest person by at least 5 years in the board room presenting to our regulators. Other senior members on our team weren’t presenting because I knew the material and could confidently convey my thoughts and ideas in an understandable manner.
Emotional intelligence is another very key skill to have. Sometimes people will get on my nerves and I’ll want to explode on them. This isn’t acceptable, and it’s key to be able to take a step back, analyze the situation, and make a rationale choice to move the situation along.
Most of the managers I’ve interacted with at my firm are decent at this skill – they recognize when you are feeling a little uncomfortable and address the concern. I’m still working on this one, but I’m getting better.
Changing my Tune (a little)
Reflecting on my time in Corporate America has changed my tune a little bit. 6 months ago, I was seriously considering leaving my job. I wanted to explore entrepreneurship full on and take a huge risk. The books I was reading were pushing me to the edge, and I wanted out. Getting rich is only a few successful businesses away, right? Sticking around has been a great choice, as I’ve been able to continue to save for the future, continue to pay down my mortgage stress free, and grow my skill set.
I’m now hopefully switching to a new manager where my work will be fun and interesting – I love programming, and building out a web application would be something new and exciting! Joining the group and hitting the ground running in my first 3 months has opened up many doors for me in this team. My manager’s manager loves me and thinks I have a lot of potential. He says I think in a very similar manner to him – a compliment to me since he is a very smart guy.
I still think entrepreneurship is awesome and will keep busting my butt to make my businesses profitable, but there’s a case to be made that given the right situation, Corporate America is the best place you can be. Many of my co-workers and managers are making $100k+ and I’m actually looking forward to sticking around another year or so to continue saving and building my experience.
I Never Knew the Impact Corporate America Would Have on Me
Looking back on the last 3-5 years of my work experience, Corporate America has taught me quite a bit. Show up every day ready to work, communicate effectively, play the office politics game, and build up trust. Each day is a learning experience – a chance to grow and build your foundation. Corporate America has helped me develop effective communication and emotional intelligence. Working with vice presidents, regulators, and teammates of all backgrounds pushes me to become great.
Not every work environment is set-up this way where you have flexibility to learn and work at your own pace. Getting paid to learn is something that excites me – I’m going to provide some great value while also building up a new skill set. To add on to that, I get to build skills that should directly help with my entrepreneurial drive – a win-win!
Put yourself in a situation to succeed. If your situation isn’t optimal, figure out why and follow your instincts. At the end of the day, the people around you want to see you find happiness and productivity in your work. Corporate America has many benefits, and while it’s great to be your own boss, I’m going to continue to balance the two as I build up my skill set and savings.
Readers: What’s your take on Corporate America? Good or bad? For you entrepreneurs out there, has a Corporate job helped you in your endeavors?