A while back, I wrote that in the futureeveryone will need to be prepared to become an entrepreneur. The other day someone asked me if I still believed that.
My answer, “Now, more than ever.” And then I ticked off these three reasons.
The first? You could lose your job.
If that happened a couple of decades ago, it would have been no big deal. You would dust off your resume and make a few calls and within a relatively short time, you would have found a new place to work.
Well, those days are gone. And while it is possible you could find another job today, you may not want to bet your financial life on it.
Reason #2 is related to the first. The preparation could serve as a wonderful transition to whatever you do next. At some point, you may decide you want to create something new on your own. Or if you leave your company willingly–say you retire or take “the package” that is too wonderful to pass up–the groundwork today will make it easier to move on to the next phase of your life.
The last reason takes us full circle. It could make your psychological life easier. Perhaps the worst thing about losing your job is that you don’t have an answer to the question “what do you do for a living?”
You can answer with, “I used to be a…” but
A. That is not what people asked and
B. It isn’t emotionally satisfying to you. No one likes to be reminded of what they were.
Preparing to do something sounds–and feels–a whole lot better. “What do I do? Well, I am spending most of my time these day trying to see if I can create a business around all the those bird houses I build.” (Or “I am trying to create a youth center for all the kinds in town. Or….)
A waste of time?
Could this peparation for go to waste? Not really. Let’s say you really like your job–and it is secure–and you have no intention of ever starting something on your own. The skills you learn when it comes to starting something new are transferrable to your current job and will make you a more valuable member of your organization. Innovation is what every company is looking for today and you have just gained the necessary skills.
And, of course, a job that is secure today, may not be so secure tomorrow. If things change, you’ll be prepared,
That is a whole lot better than staring at your final paycheck and asking yourself, “what do I do now?”
Paul B. Brown is the co-author of Just Start: Take Action; Embrace Uncertainty and Create the Futurepublished by Harvard Business Review Press.