Saturday, January 3, 2009

Dreamers and Doers

Big companies are announcing layoffs right and left, and those who do keep their jobs are being asked to do evermore work without any pay increase, bonus, or title promotion. We have felt very secure at big companies because in large part they have taken good care of their people and rewarded loyalty. With this latest downturn, we are seeing people with 10+ years of service turned out, replaced by younger and less expensive employees. The game has changed.

Here is the reason for hope in all of this economic mess. Maybe, finally, people will begin working very hard for themselves and not for these large companies. Perhaps we will begin to place more trust and faith in ourselves than we do in these behemoth organizations. One observation my former boss, Bob, made about a year ago is that the difference between generations these days is that young people, by and large, will bet on themselves rather than bet on a corporation to make their careers. 

In today's New York Times there is an article entitled "Dreamers and Doers" that discusses entrepreneurship programs and classes on college campuses. They have experienced double digit growth in the past few years, and some colleges like Babson have become known for their entrepreneurship programs.

It is my greatest wish for the economy of 2009 that all of this corporate downsizing sparks a surge in entrepreneurship and innovation by small companies. Will giant corporations that have long dominated the business landscape go the way of the dinosaurs? Maybe. Think of all the talented, capable, well-educated people that are now being laid off. If they banded together to create something new, leaving behind the saddle of corporate politics and bureaucracy, couldn't they be more productive? 

Supporting small business may be President Obama's shortest road to economic recovery, and we would all be better off for it.   


Dave Goldberg said...

Hi Christa! I like this post a lot and hope that I will be one of those who starts a new venture in 2009.

You speak about economic drivers of entrepreneurial activity, but there are other drivers as well that support what you're talking about. Advances in technology and a stronger information infrastructure are allowing small, flexible companies to thrive. It's exciting and it makes me hopeful.

By all accounts, I have a good job and technically, I'm on a good career track. But it doesn't excite me. Helping large companies become incrementally larger makes me feel like I'm fighting against the flow of history.

Keep up the blogging. Happy New Year!

Christa said...

Hi Dave,
Thanks so much for your comment and for reading my blog. I am really excited about all of the tools that currently exist and that are coming not to far into the future to allow small, flexible companies to be successful. I have the exact same sentiments you have. Can't wait to see how 2009 unfolds for all of us interested in new ventures!

Happy New Year,