“Jobs allow you to work in an existing set up, get acquainted with the specifics of the working environment and the structure of a corporate arrangement”, said Mr. Biswaroop Chakraborty, explaining why the majority still choose to take the safer route. It offers you a decent amount of control and dynamicity, especially when you are at the higher end of things. “Even jobs can be innovative. You don’t own it, but under your flow of control it’s quite similar to being an entrepreneur – designing products, attracting investors etc. One has to recognise his/her DNA within the corporate paradigm”, added Chakraborty.
Another thing that leads to a large number of people opting to work in established firms rather than starting up just after finishing college is that jobs help you to make it worthwhile to chase your passion. “Say, if you are passionate about technology, you can only satisfy it by working in a tech firm, because in a start-up, the technology covers only 15-20% of the things, rest of the effort goes into structuring your start-up”, said Dr. Naveen Kabra, illustrating the point.
But there are things which make a job too drab for someone seeking independence, especially when you are working down in the hierarchy. This is where people get the feeling of being stuck. You spend a lot of time in coordination, can’t see the end product of your efforts and feel the impact, and it gets frustrating. “What adds to the frustration is that someone else from someplace else makes the rules and you can’t understand why, but have to work within it”, Dr. Kabra was quick to point out. “Being an entrepreneur saves you from all that trouble.”
As an entrepreneur, one gets to create things which are non-existent. “You feel the direct impact of what you are doing in the form of your clients. They are your bosses and in a way, they influence your operations”, said Naveen as his take on the pros of starting-up. “The satisfaction you receive by seeing your customers’ happy faces is an added bonus to the optimism of creating wealth, which entrepreneurship offers”, added Mr. Zishaan Hayath.
On the other side though, people often tend to get weary of the amount of inputs it takes to run a company. “Early stage start-ups are quite unglamorous. There were days when I ended up cleaning my own office” said Zishaan, sharing his experience as an early stage entrepreneur. Another thing which one should always keep in mind is that there is a realistic possibility of being broke even when you are 35. But once you are able to navigate that rough patch successfully, the returns are worth every dime of effort put in at all the stages of your start-up.
Where does Academia fare between the two?
Quite clearly, pursuing higher studies or working in the academia is not what most of the students look forward to, just after graduating. One of the main reasons behind the trend is that the returns get stalled at least by a couple of years, while the work may get increasingly monotonous as one progress through the ranks, respectively. However, Dr. Aliasgar Contractor explained why working in the academia is not a bad choice.
“Working as a researcher is quite similar to being an entrepreneur – you get to innovate, you have full flexibility regarding your work and you have to pitch your ideas in front of the investors to get research grants. And the hidden incentive is that there is not much of a strict deadline, within which you need to deliver”, said Dr. Contractor.
It is a good idea for start-up enthusiasts to first go for higher studies and then indulge into entrepreneurship. Having done his PhD before starting up, Dr Kabra explained “The mind-set that is required to run a start-up venture successfully, can be developed while doing a PhD. You start with great enthusiasm but it slowly fades out. You reach a point where you start questioning yourself, wondering that maybe you’re the only person who cares about the stuff you’re doing. That’s the low point. It’s all up hill from there. Entrepreneurs face a similar curve”.
Different people are turned on by different factors and these factors are the ones which they base their choices on. Effectively, one needs to discover his/her DNA. Be it pursuing higher studies, entering the industry or starting your own venture, in the end living your passion is what matters!