The first job I ever loved was at a ten-person startup. There’s something exceptional about functional startup environments. You have access to smart people and an innovative workplace that people at big companies only dream of. Ideas have value. Roadmaps actually change.
Bureaucracy is bullshit, and imagination is king until the cash runs out.
That’s what happened to me. The first job I loved, the one I thought I’d stay at forever? We ran out of money with everyone else in the dot com bubble. It was only my second job out of school, and frankly, I was a little traumatized when I realized that work was fickle. Nothing was guaranteed.
“Never again,” I thought. “No more startups. I’ll go where there are guarantees.” I’m laughing at myself now, too.
Every single time I have worked at a big corporation, it hasn’t taken very long to remember that I have a low tolerance for being a small fish in the big company pond with little power to change anything.
Proof: The last time I tried, I was so annoyed by the end that I started my own company. You can read that story here if you’re interested.
Innovation At Work: Why Aren’t Startups Leading The INNOVATIVE WORKPLACE WAR?
Starting my own company was a test of willpower and prioritization. All of a sudden, I didn’t have a boss to tell me what to do, and I surely didn’t have any rules. Yet one day, I found myself working while sick like I had an empty PTO bank and an angry manager checking up on me.
I thought to myself, “call your boss and ask for the day off then.”Note sarcasm.
As an entrepreneur, I was falling into the corporate hustle and “we’ve always done it that way” mentality.
But why mirror corporate America if you can make something even better? I mean, look around. Nothing will be 100% the same after all of this is said and done. It’s about damn time we break the future of work rules before we create plexiglass lined human zoos once known as open office spaces like this dude is predicting.
As entrepreneurs, we should be the ones trying innovative workplace models. Why can’t we be the people who make things like the 4-day work week a reality? I mean, I can ask my boss and see what she thinks but… me, myself, and I are on the same page.
We’ve all heard we can’t, and we won’t change things. But that’s why most of us start companies in the first place – to change things. As entrepreneurs with no infrastructure or hard rules to follow, we get to break all the rules. Bonus: it’s a lot easier to pilot ideas with three people than 3,000.
We can innovate at work and try new things corporate can only dream about. Things like:
Note: “open office concept” is not on the list. Removing privacy and still forcing people to come into an office? That’s not innovation, that’s manipulation.
I don’t even think I’m truly working outside of the box yet, but the benefits are boundless on the programs that are already happening. Click on any of them to see how those programs are working for companies now.
Here’s the bottom line. As entrepreneurs, we’re probably the only people who can change how work operates. We’re the only people who truly can creative innovative workplaces. Let’s push the boundaries.
What’s stopping you – the boss?
Kat Kibben [they/them] is a keynote speaker, writing expert, and LGBTQIA+ advocate who teaches hiring teams how to write inclusive job postings that will get the right person to apply faster.
Before founding Three Ears Media, Katrina was a CMO, Technical Copywriter, and Managing Editor for leading companies like Monster, Care.com, and Randstad Worldwide. With 15+ years of recruitment marketing and training experience, Katrina knows how to turn talented recruiting teams into talented writers who write for people, not about work.
Today, Katrina is frequently featured as an HR and recruiting expert in publications like The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and Forbes. They’ve been named to numerous lists, including LinkedIn’s Top Voices in Job Search & Careers. When not speaking, writing, or training, you’ll find Katrina traveling the country in their van or spending some much needed downtime with the dogs that inspired the name Three Ears Media.