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Special section 6 ways to get ahead in the office or get out

The worst day as your own boss beats the best day in a cubicle, but no one would ever say that it's easy.

Leaving the cubicle for your own company

You've been downsized, right-sized, overworked, overlooked, laid off, paid off, guilt-tripped and pink-slipped. You're mad as hell, and you're not going to take it anymore!

Ready to kick corporate?

It may not be as easy as you think. Get ready for an emotional roller-coaster ride. It's going to shake your paradigm but good. A few of you may even end up returning to the mother ship.

But if you're like most budding entrepreneurs who have fled the world of Dilbert, you're going to keep on walking and never look back. Because, to paraphrase the popular bumper sticker, the worst day as your own boss beats the best day in a cubicle.

"There's an intriguing thing about independent venturing, which is that people are almost never sorry that they did it, even if they failed," says Karl Vesper, professor of business administration at the University of Washington School of Business. "It carries benefits -- freedom and independence -- that are very addictive."

Are you a corpaholic?
How well and how quickly you'll take to entrepreneurship may depend in part on your relationship with your corporate job.

Those who have spent their corporate years consumed with amassing power within a corporation are the least prepared for the real small-business world, according to Leonard Lodish, professor at the Wharton School of Business and author of "Entrepreneurial Marketing: Lessons from Wharton's Pioneering MBA Course."

"People who have been in organizations where it's all about how big your silo was and how much power you have don't do very well in the entrepreneurial setting because they have a different value system," he says. "If you've done that long enough, it's very hard to change."

Three corporate types
David Paradise of the Family Business Resource Center in Boston says there are three types of corporate workers.

Corporate types:
1. Those who join a corporation with the intention of using it as a launching pad for their own business.
2. Those who discover their entrepreneurial spirit while working in corporate.
3. Those who never intend to leave the safety and security of corporate life.

Obviously the first two groups are going to kick corporate easier than the third, which tends to face an uphill struggle.

"They are not prepared in their minds," he says. "Psychologically, they have wanted to be with the corporation out of protection, out of identification, because 'The corporation knows more than I do' or that 'They'll take care of me.'

"When suddenly the corporation says we don't need your services anymore, they get thrown into entrepreneurship by default."

 
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