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Start-up vs consulting vs corporate vs all three  

One of the great fallacies of the corporate world is that you must have a corporate job to have any kind of security in life. The corporate world is exceedingly good at brainwashing people who work there into believing that, to the extent that most people are (quite rightly) terrified of what will happen once they step out of the jumbo-jet of corporate life into what they perceive to be as free fall.

The natural reaction, once you realise that most of us are born with a solid pair of wings that will allow us to fly around the consulting and/or small business universe without anywhere near the level of risk that corporates thought was there, is to oppose the original lie. And there's some truth in that opposition. Flying in a plane is itself terrifying, because if something goes wrong with the plane, you'll be dead quickly, horrifyingly, and with no control over your destiny. Having your own wings (running your own business/consultancy) is far preferable from that point of view: you have control over your own fate. If you run out of money, it's your own fault, and was entirely predictable months in advance.

But, as I've mentioned before, one should not go too far in this direction either. The sensible, wise perspective is, as usual, in the middle. In large corporations, you can rise high up in the ranks if you work hard, are lucky, and play the careers game right. And so with startups or small businesses: if you work hard, are lucky, and play the game right, you can build something solid and rewarding. Which one you pick is really a matter of personal preferences.

So, in that context, here's an inspiring article by Vlad Lokshin, who refuses to settle for the accepted wisdom of either crowd, and carefully balances all three options. He arrives at his own conclusions of what the best fit is for him: a combination of a steady, 40 hours a week corporate (but independent) job with time on the side spent either consulting or working on his own ideas, as he sees fit. It's an appealing goal (though not so easy to achieve). Have a read for his full thinking.

I'll finish with one final piece of advice, which goes slightly contrary to one of Vlad's points:

No matter where you are, make sure you're always growing on a personal level. Never sacrifice your personal growth for some "I'll make it if I only throw everything into it" martyrdom delusion. Successful people start successful businesses, and successful people are always growing.

More from the library:
Shorten your viral cycle time
Experienced entrepreneurs preserve equity
Learn to think big and small