I have so many good posts lined up in my head, but I know that my traffic will be terrible tomorrow. So, I'll make two for the holiday - one a personal observation and a post I made last year which I received a lot of great feedback on and cross posted it to Marketing Pros. Anyway, on to my personal Independence Day.
I had a great call with my friend Melissa G today and after I gave her the run down on what's new in my world, she said to me "You are never going back to corporate. You sound so happy and you are incredibly busy. It is good for you". It dawned on me that she is 100% correct. It is good to be independent, but I didn't always think so after ten years at AT&T and then 5 years at DLJ/CSFB/Harrisdirect. I couldn't imagine myself on my own for more than say 6 months; hence the reason for my boring website. So, what's been my secret? Well before I give some of that away, let's take a look at what I was afraid of...
TOP 5 REASONS I COULDN'T LEAVE CORPORATE AMERICA
- Where was my next paycheck coming from?
- How was I going to cope with health insurance (those that know me personally know this is not a trivial concern)?
- Who will want to talk with me if I'm not the big shot marketing executive with the big marketing budget?
- What would it be like to not bleed blue for the company you work for?
- Who am I really if I'm not a Managing Director or a Marketing Director?
All of those were real concerns and maybe a few of them still are, but that hasn't stopped me from being away from Corporate America for almost 20 months (During my last month at E*Trade I still continued to produce however, I realized that they were a dead end for me corporately. And I felt like a homeless citizen when I was in the office because I was laid off and people felt bad for me.)
TOP 5 ITEMS/EVENTS THAT HELPED ME OVERCOME THESE FEARS
- Becki Donatelli who runs Campaign Solutions and Connell Donatelli called me in the fall out of the blue and told me I needed a career change. Between her and Mike Connell, we came to an arrangement where I'm not alone, but out of Corporate America, doing something I have a passion for politics.
- I realized that my job never defined who I was, what I did in life defined who I was. My key to figuring this out was asking myself as I was driving into Jersey City for the last few times, what would I be doing if I wasn't on this drive and would my kids still recognize me. The answer was they couldn't tell what I did anyway, I was just Dad.
- My wife and my friends clearly saw me not as the guy that got promoted at AT&T very quickly, but someone who could make a living doing whatever I wanted. They kept telling me that I didn't need the big company; that wasn't who I was.
- You have to keep selling in order to keep having paychecks rolling in. Even as a marketer you have to sell, so you might as well use those skills to keep getting new clients.
- Who are these big companies and who really makes the money? It isn't the low level manager, it is the top level management so the sooner you figure out that won't be you the easier it is to let go.
You know what I learned after all this time? You do have friends in the real world even if it was a sales person who you thought was only being nice to you because you had money. If you have a skill that people need, sell it, sell it, and sell it again. Finally, it is perfectly normal in 2008 to work from home - you just have to be very disciplined to do it.
Are you looking for a little independence? Have you realized that you've been climbing up the corporate ladder only to find out it has been leaning up against the wrong building? This it is time to get up from behind your desk and break your supposed golden handcuffs and start your own career revolution. I did with a little help from my friends and family; who knows if I'll ever go back...