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Dealing with the security gene

My wife Laura is skeptical of self-employment at times. When I talk to her about the coaching business, or even my new venture,, she confesses that she's afraid. She says it's because her security gene is enhanced, and for good reason. I was laid off from my last full-time job with benefits in 2004, 7 years ago this month actually. I didn't find a job until 51 weeks later after, and that after we moved clear across the country to North Carolina.

The change actually began in 2002 when I stepped down from my management position. While I enjoyed my work, I had become a workaholic, and I was missing critical time in the lives of my young daughters. I took a new position working for my friend and mentor who had hired me. Unfortunately, things changed soon after.

 After a period of time, we had some reorganizations, and my boss changed. My new manager was far more interested in her career, and I became expendable. The day I was told I was being let go, I was at lunch with my wife and daughters. She called me up to tell me on the phone, not even having the courtesy to wait until lunch was over. Laura has never forgotten that day.

I was told of the decision the day after my annual performance review. My new manager had my old manager provide it to me. The review was good, noting how the previous year, my efforts had led to a $2.6 million dollar savings for the bank. So, how do you reconcile the review with the layoff notice? Well, in large corporations, it's far more about politics and who you know rather than what you know.

That's OK. I don't believe there is job security anywhere, and that's really probably for the best. For local and state governments, the budget pressures are going to be felt on their workers sooner than later. Companies need to make a profit. In smaller companies, you need to prove yourself worth keeping around. This is true to some extent in large companies, but the politics and connections are involved as well.

While there is an allure to working for a large company, especially for the spouse who sees a steady paycheck and benefits, it's really an illusion in my view. So, what do you and I need to do to convince our spouses, or even ourselves, that self-employment is the better choice over a job with benefits that threatens to suck the life out of you?

It has to start with a plan. You need to be able to articulate, and show on paper, your idea and path to self-employment. This past weekend, Laura and I discussed in much greater detail than previously. We discussed the revenue model and how the business will be grown. We also discussed the time frame for which I hope to be able to generate income for it. After our discussion, she appears relieved, though the unknown is still a little scary.

Finally, at least for this article, you should develop accountability. I have the most incredible group of entrepreneur-minded friends that are helping keep me accountable. Our mastermind group meets twice a month. We set goals for our next meeting, and recount what we've accomplished. Some of us are full-time in our businesses. Others are in transition. Having this group is a major encouragement for me, and they are helping me get major things accomplished this year.

In summary, having a well-developed plan, and demonstrably executing that plan, can help satisfy the security gene of those you love the most. This also will help you fulfill the path to which you are called.

2008-2013 Mark Burch Coaching

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