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Instead of Quitting Your Job to Work for Yourself, Try This Instead

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leaving job-walking away from desk

For many young professionals, corporate life is not what they thought it would be. Do you often feel you have more to offer than the job you were hired for? And you think you could do your manager’s job better, don’t you?

It’s hardly a surprise that Millennials often score lowest in employee engagement. If only the economy weren’t so bad, we would have started our own companies and could proudly call ourselves entrepreneurs, right?

The great stories of leading self-made innovators like Elon Musk make it easy to see ourselves standing in their shoes, building companies and disrupting industries just as they did. And because corporate life can be so frustrating and unfulfilling, you want to completely jump ship and do your own thing.

Perhaps if you burned your bridges, you’d soon be the next Steve Jobs, on stage presenting the next big thing, the world at your feet…

News flash: entrepreneurship isn’t a ticket to success

Ready for a wakeup call? Your dream is not going to happen.

Most young-professionals-turned-entrepreneurs aren’t even close. They aren’t even entrepreneuring. They often do the same kind of work as before—but as consultants. (What else can they do with only a few years of experience?) These free agents chase clients, network like crazy, stick their noses in social media and market themselves, but still they find themselves unsatisfied and earning less than before. Has being brave ever felt less appealing?

Maybe you shouldn’t leave and become an entrepreneur. Maybe there’s another way to use your talents and ideas and channel your frustrations about what your organization needs to change.

Leaving is not your only option. Why not take a deep breath, stand up, rise above your desk and shout out, “Enough! I’m making changes around here!”

Sure, that might seem a bit theatrical. But doesn’t this statement (and be honest) actually describe how you feel?

Start your secret intrapreneur mission today

If so, try a more subtle way to go about disrupting the status quo: start a secret mission to become an intrapreneur. That means you can use your entrepreneurial mindset and skills to create the job you love and generate better results for your company.

Read that again: a job you love that generates results for your company. Is that impossible? Nope. Many have done it. Not all openly call themselves intrapreneurs, but the group of these inspiring people is growing. These employees change their company’s culture from within and launch hugely successful products. Think of companies like 3M, Sony, Vodafone, Dell and Google, just to name a few.

These inspirational figures started at the same point as you. They experienced the same issues as you. And just like you, they knew change was needed.

They had similar ideas and the same urgency to challenge the status quo and figure out how to get things moving. But instead of walking away from these challenges and leaving the company, they decided to bring about the change they envisioned.

Being the change-maker takes passion, persistence, patience and resilience. It’s not the easy road. And it’s not how our generation was raised. We’ve been told that the choice is always ours, that we can have whatever we want and that participation is optional.

GenY operates under the mantra of, “If we don’t like it, we don’t do it.” If you don’t like your job, it might seem easier to quit, but it will not necessarily help. You might still end up feeling unfulfilled, with no stage and no audience (plus a lower salary or none at all).

Isn’t it more exciting and rewarding to show our colleagues, our managers and our senior executives that we, Millennials, can finally fulfill our promise of being innovators, connectors, change-makers and leaders?

The next time you envision yourself as Steve Jobs, picture yourself on the same stage announcing the same breakthrough innovation—but wearing a shirt with your company’s logo. A successful and happy intrapreneur. Doesn’t that feel more fulfilling than chasing gigs? You still get your monthly salary, and if you do it right, you’ll grow your income faster than as an entrepreneur.

If you’re still not eager to start intrapreneuring, there’s another reason you should be

You may, like many GenY workers, feel inspired to play your part in changing the world for the better. Multinational corporations and other big organizations still play a major role in change-making, believe it or not.

You can take a shorter shower to save water, but compared to the consumption of big industrial corporations, it’s a droplet. You can talk for hours about the financial crisis, but as long as big banks and institutions don’t change the way they operate, will it ever be solved? Transforming education is a must, but if there’s no work for hundreds of millions of young people, why care?

Multinational corporations and big organizations are crucial in changing the world for the better. And the only way to get them be frontrunners in that process rather than followers is for you and your Millennial peers to bring about change from within.

Ready to mold your inspirations into the talents and ideas that will help you become an intrapreneur, rather than an entrepreneur? The best way to start is by learning how to perform better at your current job and in less time. This time can be better spent investing in interesting side projects, engaging in more strategic relationships and building your reputation.

Are you in?

Hans Balmaekers founded sa.am as a resource for young professionals who care about their future, want to make a difference and want to develop the mindset and skills to become change-makers. In August, sa.am launches an online intrapreneurship course to set up aspiring and starting intrapreneurs for success.

Brazen powers real-time, online events for leading organizations around the world. Our lifestyle and career blog, Brazen Life, offers fun and edgy ideas for ambitious professionals navigating the changing world of work.

  • Monasez (@Monasez)

    Good suggestions. I know a lot of people who are in their twenties
    and feel trapped in their career. I always encourage people to turn their job into a challenge. This is an awesome article but it only applies to people in certain industries I guess.

    • Hans Balmaekers

      hi Monasez, thanks for your response!
      Which industries do you refer to and why only these?

  • Gordon Dent

    I think anyone who decides to become an ‘entrepreneur’ because they dislike their job and/or don’t like doing certain things is going to have a very very big shock when they realise there is a lot of that in the entrepreneurial world too. I would definitely advise this not being a motivator for quitting your job and starting your own business/startup.

    I think your advice is sound for people in that particular boat – either that or find a job that does actually align with their passions and skills. But it is irrelevant for people who start their own thing because they have a vision and a genuine desire to try and see what comes of it. I think this is an important distinction to make.

    • Hans Balmaekers

      Thanks Gordon – yes, I agree that disliking your job or doing certain things should never be the primary motivator to start an own company. There’s other ways to solve that issue.

      The thing is, I have seen too many people with a great vision and a heartfelt desire who started an own company, struggle.
      Reflecting on their current situation, they tell me that with what they know now, they would have decided to use that vision and desire to launch a side-project inside the company.

      But yes – if you’re the real entrepreneurial type, this is not for you. Guess you would never have started working at a corporate/

  • April Carter

    This is a subject that is close to my heart. It should also be noted that it’s important to cultivate this mindset even for those of us who are still trying to find the path to a career; who couldn’t get through college, or couldn’t find work in their field. We can still be a disruptive force–a change for the better–no matter where we are working or what we are doing.