Returning to the workforce as an employeeselling his companyhas benefits and challenges but Carlos E. Garcia looks to a new lease on life
In part one of this chapter, I talked about my transition from Hispanic entrepreneur to employee. There were certainly aspects of being The Boss that I liked. I miss being able to make an executive decision on the spot and not having to take everything to a committee. I miss taking a day off when I feel like it (and work allowed) without having to ask.
On the flip side, I can tell you that not having to worry about payroll every two weeks is a relief. Not having to stress about everything all of the time is a relief. Being free to do great work, having great colleagues to work with, new vistas, greater resources, all of these things are exhilarating. I feel like I got a new lease on life. I only wish all of this had happened before the incredibly stressful Great Recession even though I know that the market timing for our merger could not have been better, so I guess even all of that pain was worth it.
7 Lessons From the Afterlife
I learned a few lessons during my post-entrepreneur experiences. These seven are valuable:
- First, life will go on after you lose, close, give it to your kids or sell your company. As much as you identify with it, you are not your company and your company is not you.
- Try not to beat yourself up for having to make tough decisions, even when you really care about the people who get hurt in the process. Hopefully there will be silver linings you cant see just yet.
- Always look forward. If you had to do it all over again is a fun question, but you cant go back, you can only go forward, so learn from the past and focus on the future.
- You might be surprised how much you enjoy working in a larger organization again, even if its been a long time since you had to answer to higher ups.
- If you play your cards right, you should be able to make a reasonably high-level lateral entry into the firm that acquires you. So instead of having to struggle up the ladder and potentially being caught in political or any other games, you arrive in a position that revives your entrepreneurial muscle, and your entrepreneurial skills may serve you well in your climb from that point because you are probably a self-starter and already used to taking the bull by the horns and getting things done.
- But if your business venture fails, it doesnt mean you have no business smarts. It may simply mean you failed to plan for your exit or lacked the strategic business plan to stay on your own. Someone may copy your idea and have access to more capital and better advice and blow you out of the water. You need to assess the competition at least annually and act on the facts. And you are not personally responsible for the Macro Economy. Stay proud and keep an annual plan tied to your strategy.
- And the flip side, if you succeed, it doesnt mean you are utterly brilliant. You might be, but business success, in my view, has a lot of luck built into it. Sure hard work and native ability certainly make a difference, but so does timing and chance. Stay humble.
About the author
Carlos E. Garcia, born to Mexican immigrant parents, grew up in East Los Angeles and attended Pomona College, UC Berkeley and National University (BA, MA and MBA respectively). He has over thirty years of experience in the field of US Hispanic consumer research, twenty one years at the helm of his own company, Garcia Research. He is now SVP at GfK: Knowledge Networks, where he heads up their Hispanic research efforts.