Never Having a Job, good or bad?

Person: You’re your own boss? That’s awesome…it must be nice not to work for anyone.
Me: I guess so.

Since I’ve never had a real job it’s hard to say it’s nice since I don’t know the other side.

I suppose it’s nice I’ve never had a real job, but there’s a big problem: I’ve never learned the procedures and discipline you get by working for a company.

I’ve always contemplated taking on a job just for the experience, but this obviously takes away a lot of time from doing my own businesses. Perhaps I can find a fair medium where I can get the experience, but further advance my knowledge.

When I was in college and heavily active in a lot of financial clubs, a lot of big companies would try to hire the active people such as me…..they didn’t even care I was a government major instead of a business major. However these companies require you to be at the office at 8am or earlier and leave at 5pm or later. They also teach you relatively little about running your own company, or anything particularly interesting besides stock. Even then, general entry level positions at these companies keep you busy with all the boring work no one wants to do….this isn’t bad, but if you’re not learning from your surroundings whilst doing the grunt work, it doesn’t seem worth it. They ALSO don’t allow you to run businesses on the side. Seriously, the people at Morgan Stanley said they’d hire me, but I was absolutely not allowed to run businesses on the side. Obviously a deal breaker for me.

One of the places I ABSOLUTELY ADMIRE and want to be more involved in is the IC2 Institute and the Austin Technology Incubator. I won’t go into much detail, but these two organizations are divisions of the University of Texas and spin out some amazingly interesting companies and programs worldwide. I think these two organizations do some of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen, but sadly hardly anyone knows about them except people in the entrepreneurial fields.

Being at one of these organizations, especially the Austin Technology Incubator would put me directly into a place filled with startup companies, investors, buyers seasoned industry experts and tons of accomplished and intelligent people.

I want to be around a place like that.

I’m thinking if I got some sort of small job or internship at one of these places, it would be immensely useful in helping me get the discipline and procedural training I want from a job, but allow me to run my own businesses at the same time. I would also be in a place swarming with ideas and innovation.

Ideally I would like to work or intern at one of these places for around 4 hours a day. A paid position would be fantastic, but I’d be willing to work for free, just don’t tell them that!

Blog posted on: November 2, 2007

10 comments on “Never Having a Job, good or bad?

  1. coop

    I had two full-time jobs before going out on my own. I lasted 1 month in the first, 9 months in the second. And.. it’s only worth it to see how ineffective, poorly managed, and egotistical most businesses are. People do things that, to a proprietor, seem absolutely ridiculous, like engaging in activities that are bad in the long term just to make them look good on each particular day.

    It’s worth having a job for a brief while just to give yourself the morale and encouragement to succeed on your own, because you’ll soon discover it’s not hard to beat a bunch of mismanaged idiots.

  2. Jason P

    Heh, read this.
    I work full time as an account executive and I also try to create income streams via the internet. My blog outlines my progress.

  3. LawSchoolGuy

    To just kind of echo what poster said above, after being an entrepreneur if you go to work for any small or even medium sized business you’ll be amazed and frustrated with all the things they’re doing wrong.

    I’ve been in you exact same shoes: owned two different businesses out of college and decided to get some “real world” experience. Let me tell you, the only way this is useful for someone like you (and me) is if the job is at a major corporation. They’re the only ones who have the type of knowledge you’re looking for: procedure implementation, operations improvement, H/R development, etc. It would be a waste of time for you to work anywhere else. Further, if you stick it out for a couple years, you’ll become “corporate” which down the road other people will recognize immediately as an additional level of experience and professionalism.

  4. Anonymous

    Wow, you could have figured out that you lacked discipline if you would have taken the feedback on your blog seriously.

    Many successful businesspeople have learned to drop the ego and listen to constructive criticism to grow.

    Now only to get you to realize that your change jar is not income…

  5. Anonymous

    Interesting to read this. I’ve followed your blog for a while. Out of college, I did entrepreneurial stuff for about 3 years, but it started getting boring and I thought some experience would be helpful. Now I’ve been applying to work for some major corporations. It really is a good idea to get some experience early on just as a safety net. If you get to 30 and you’ve never had a real job and your businesses aren’t working out, you are going to have to take an entry level job and that’s rather embarassing at 30. Working can also help you get some capital and most companies aren’t going to care if you run businesses on the side.

  6. SeekerBug

    i think that real world experience is very important, especially because you get to meet a lot of people, when i first started college in abilene (sr in college now) i started my online companies, i had so much free time i opened an antique store, within 2 weeks the antique 2 doors down bought me out, the same day i went to the mall and filled out an application for Sears, i started as a sales associate and made over $2o per hour some weeks, now i am a manager, just over a year, i am being trained for higher positions, one reason they took a chance on me is because i run other businesses, but i dont mix them with my sears job.

  7. Chris

    Hey Nev,

    I’ve been reading your blog for sometime now, but haven’t taken the time to comment.

    I think having a crap job at sometime is good, it gives you a perspective, you know another experience. Someone already mentioned this, but you can see how moronic bosses are and how poorly businesses are run. If you have the right mindset it gives you the confidence to start your own business. Most people don’t have that effect.

    I do agree with the richdad, poordad guy, if you’re looking to learn about something, than get a job at it. You want to start a business doing X, and you don’t know anything about X, go work for someone that does X, offer to work for free once a week. You’ll pick up what you need to know.

    Hope this helps.
    Keep up the good work with the blog.

  8. Eileen

    A lot of companies allow you to run businesses on the side as long as you don’t let your side businesses interfere with your job and as long as you don’t compete with your employer. I spent two years after college working on startups that got nowhere. Then I took a job for money. It’s a fairly cushy university job, with decent pay, a moderate workload, and no overtime. My startup is officially still in existence, though it doesn’t do anything. I’ve learned a few things about getting things done: For example, just do it, instead of spending forever thinking about it; and break goals down into discrete tasks. However, I certainly haven’t learned discipline. Otherwise, I would actually work on my startup.


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