Climbing the Corporate Ladder Vs The Entrepreneurial Experience: How To Decide Which Career Path Is Right For You

  • Photos by:
    Max Rovensky
  • Published on:
    April 19, 2021
  • Reading time by:
    7 minutes
Climbing the Corporate Ladder Vs The Entrepreneurial Experience: How To Decide Which Career Path Is Right For You

You deserve a career that fulfills you. One that gives you purpose and supports the life you want to lead. To achieve a dream-come-to career, you need to choose a path that aligns with your interests and your personality. 

Here are some pros and cons about working your way up the corporate ladder versus embarking on your own entrepreneurial path: 

(PS: Let us know your thoughts in the comments on Women On Topp!)

Corporate Pros

Resources. The largest pro is access to what you need to get the job done. Things like an equipped office with IT support should your computer fail. Maybe you even get an assistant. There should also be a clear job description with goals established.

People. My favorite pro is all the fabulous people you are likely to encounter. Any idea you have can be made so much better by pulling in the right people. Hopefully there will be a culturally diverse array of personalities and talents. Some of my greatest friendships have come from people I have worked with in my corporate roles. 

Benefits. The pro you can’t beat is benefits. Salary all depends but it is impossible to even buy insurance coverage close to what many corporate jobs provide. There is also 401K, life insurance and vacation pay. You could get expense accounts for entertainment and travel plus other perks and discounts. 

Corporate Cons

Rules.  Even though technology allows us to work from anywhere most companies do not. Many maintain a formal 8 to 10 hour a day work schedule. You have to get approval to go on vacation or even to the Dr. Basically your time is not yours during office hours.

Processes. If you like to just get crap done, there could be layers of process and approvals that make it a challenge to move quickly. There are typically protocols relating to email and meeting etiquette. Communication and collaboration are good but you could find yourself frustrated. 

Politics. It’s pretty impossible to avoid office politics. There are always people or teams that are in dispute. People who have control don’t always make sense. It can be tough to watch people get promoted based on relationships versus merit. You have to play this game but it is not always pleasant.

Entrepreneurial Pros

Empowerment. It’s just cool to be your own boss. You get to call all the shots. Establish your own processes. Create your own vision and mission statements. Create our own business plan. It’s your show. If you like to be in charge, you will love this.

Flexibility. Not a morning person? No problem. You get to set your own hours. Don’t like meetings? Great, don’t have any. Want to take a 2-week vacation? Just make plans and go. You can establish your ideal work flow and accommodate pretty much any schedule you want. This is my favorite pro.

Excitement. It’s often pure passion that leads one to an entrepreneurial career path. There is something quite thrilling about being in charge of your own destiny. Your victories feel sweeter too because of your ownership in its making.

Entrepreneurial Cons

Money. You can make a lot of it. Or not. That paycheck is not coming every week on the same day. The money only comes if you find opportunities and make it happen. This is called the hustle. Working project to project can be stressful unless you have some cash in savings in case of a slow start or rocky periods. The money could trickle or come in waves so financial planning is a must.

Grit. Get ready to get your hands dirty. Real dirty. You are likely o get way in the weeds on things you might not have known you needed to know. While it’s cool to be the boss, you also get to be the legal and finance department. Get ready for everything to be your job. 

Solitude. You will likely be working alone more. You can opt to work in a crowded café or a shared work space, yet it can still feel pretty lonely especially if you are used to working in a larger company. Even if you have staff, you are the boss and they are counting on you and that can also make you feel alone.  

There are lots of pros and cons to both corporate and entrepreneurial life. Some are black and white realities and others are really a matter of personal style and preference.  If you like structure and more certainty, go corporate. If you thrive on creating something new and being in full control of your day, then give the entrepreneurial experience a chance.  

Perhaps you can find opportunities to try both paths as they could suit different points throughout your life. Whichever path you choose, have fun and enjoy your career adventure.

Let us know your thoughts in the comments on Women On Topp! Make sure you’re subscribed to our emails to get the latest posts and updates from Women On Topp

Eva Steortz

Eva is an enthusiastic, results-oriented go-getter and Chief Inspiration Officer of her own company, Vita Creativa.

She has done marketing consulting with every major entertainment studio following a 20-year dream-come-true-career at the Walt Disney Company where her accountabilities included strategic brand planning, consumer marketing, retail marketing, promotions and sales.

Eva’s anything-is possible attitude and saucy southern charm comes from growing up in West Virginia. She recently published a career advice book called FROM THE OUTHOUSE TO THE MOUSE HOUSE, CRAP YOU NEED TO KNOW FOR A DREAM-COME-TRUE-CAREER.

To relax, Eva enjoys gardening, yoga and drinking champagne as needed.

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