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Deck the Halls with Pink Slips

Topic: Entrepreneur Evangelist | Comments Off on Deck the Halls with Pink Slips

Posted on November 11, 2009 by admin

Holiday Layoff NoticeQuestion: What is one of the best things about owning your own business?
Answer: No one is going to lay you off.

There really is nothing like a few pink slips to help digest an up-coming Thanksgiving dinner.

Yesterday, software mammoth, Adobe joined the ranks of other big name companies making a clean sweep before the holiday season gets in full swing.

In the past ten days alone, we’ve seen layoffs from a number of other big businesses:

What gives particular sting to Adobe’s layoffs is the fact that not only did Adobe just purchase Omniture in mid-September, and thereby effectively ‘hire’ a whole new batch of employees in the process, but that Adobe has spent a decade proudly touting their place on Fortune’s annual list of “100 Best Companies for Work For.”

This begs the question: if a company that is very proud of their culture, and which makes large, on-going investments in it employee engagement and development efforts still enters the holiday season by handing out pink slips, then where does that leave all of the people working for companies that start off less concerned about their people to begin with?

One of the most important reasons to become an entrepreneur is to build a business that supports your long-term lifestyle objectives and your family’s best interests.  For decades there has been a fantasy that getting a job out of school and spending your career working for someone would be in your long-term best interest.  But if there is anything that the last two weeks should remind us all of, it is that big business’ best interests are not the same as an individual’s best interest.

Does this make entrepreneurs selfish, greedy types only looking out for Number One?  Hardly.  Is looking out for your family’s well-being selfish?  Is building a business where you are helping create more jobs, offer needed goods and services, and actively engaging as part of a community being selfish?  Not even close.  But this is what entrepreneurs do every day.

The Kauffman Foundation issued a report last week which projected that more than 70% of new jobs will come from startups.  This is further evidence that the fantasy about big, stable companies taking care of employees until retirement has out-lived its value.  The value today?  Teaching people with ideas, passion and motivation how to get started out on their own, where they can have some control over their future, and not be subject to the whims of large, faceless corporations whose interests cannot possibly align with every single person in their employ.

For as sad an event as layoffs always are, I hope that at least some of the people handed an early and unfortunate Christmas present over the past week take the opportunity to explore starting that business they’ve always wanted, or join a small startup whose idea is something they can be passionate about.  It can be a scary step, but for some, it’ll also provide the breath of life that their careers have been missing for a while.

The future of small business is now.  And big business keeps showing us exactly why.

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