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?
Katrina Kibben is the Founder and Principal Consultant of Three Ears Media. For most of Katrina’s career, she has been a marketer living in a recruiter’s world – listening to both sides of the talent equation to understand the real issues and find solutions for engaging and hiring better people. Today, she uses her technical marketing know-how and way with words to help both established and emerging brands develop and deliver content that fuels smart recruitment marketing that makes the right people apply.
Katrina has written for Monster.com, HR.com, RecruitingDaily and many other digital publications. She is a recognized leader in recruiting and employer branding who speaks regularly at conferences around the world.