Spend enough time at a playground and you'll notice that kids are envious of each other. Small kids want size, skinny ones want bulk and they all want to play with the kid who has the Mr. T 3-wheeler.
This envy continues in the workplace. Big businesses want to be quick and agile to try new things and small ones want the big-business leverage. Individuals often boast their entrepreneurial 'spirit,' but here are a few things business-owners, small or large, never say:
'That's not my job' - We've all read it's better to work 'on' the business rather than 'in' the business. You'll be 'out' of business quickly if you believe that. Business owners regularly work 'in' the business. They take ownership of solving problems. A restaurateur pacifies angry customers (account management), hires chefs (HR), collects money (accounting), generates customers (marketing & sales) and enhances equipment (operations). They work 'on' the business (strategic planning) in the car or in the shower. Not on staff-wide retreats to the Dagobah System.
'I tripled our company's business' - Hey corporate sales guy - unless you (not the marketing department), find leads, work them to close and deliver the product or service by yourself then all you did was take an order. Clerks at McDonalds do that too. Sales people sell. Once they are done with the sale that's it. Payment comes when the product or service is complete. That's delivery. Delivery isn't the salesperson's responsibility. Business owners sell and deliver.
'I got a raise' - Business owners don't pay themselves large salaries. They'll put that money into the business and try to increase revenue. Offer to re-invest the raise given to you in exchange to share in the profits of those investments. Your boss (probably a middle-manager/paper-pusher) will say 'let me get buy-in from accounting and HR. We will get back to you in 3-5 weeks.' A massive email thread, complete with plot-twists (and many characters found here), ensues, but nothing happens.
'I am on vacation' - A business owner may get away for a few days, but they are never truly on vacation. Off-the-grid business owners check their email and remain accessible to calls. Employees can disconnect, ignore work for 2-3 weeks while they are on Mars and catch-up in 1 or 2 days.
'Here are my office hours' - Business owners check their email several times daily - Saturday, Sunday and after dinner included. Whether they respond to the email depends on its urgency. Employees can blissfully ignore work-related tasks when their shift finishes.
'I'm calling in sick today'- It's phenomenal! Business owners rarely have sick days - could this be the end of the raging health care debate? It's because a day off is an opportunity lost. I met a person in a Government role that went on sick leave for 7 months because of migraines and burnout. Their job wasn't physical (they were a glorified email forwarding system). They weren't emotionally exhausted enough to cancel their five international trips during that time.
'I want to make a lot of money so I am taking the year off' - Something corporate sales executives often say. Incidentally they add 'consultant' or 'self-employed' job titles on their LinkedIn profile to retrospectively describe this time. They claim to be between jobs, but want to wait for, or allegedly go to, the right opportunity. Kind of like how someone looking to get married will take a year off from dating (sarcasm intended). Let's admit what's really going on here. You don't have a job, don't want to admit you're looking and, since you don't have many liabilities, decided to take a vacation. No problem, but saying no opportunity is good enough isn't fooling anyone.
'We're buying ABC Company for $X million' - Really? So I guess that means you'll have to tighten up your belt since all the corporate employees are pitching money into a pot to buy this new company. Please. Corporate employees never have to spend their own money on any company investments. They just get to brag about it to all their friends. I doubt the manager of pencil sharpening support at Apple contributed anything to the Beats Electronics acquisition. Guess who ponies up the money when business owners want to hire people, buy products or services? They do. Not the purchasing department.
The above are just a few statements that don't exist in the business owner's vocabulary. If you think your job at an investment bank or Fortune 100 company is hard-work and long hours try adding the uncertainty of compensation to the mix.
Are you sure you want to be that kid?
About the Author
Sajeel Qureshi is the VP of Operations at Computan, a digital marketing and software company. Computan serves as the digital department for numerous businesses throughout the globe ranging from start-ups to multinationals.
He has a degree in Business Administration from St. Bonaventure University and MBA from Eastern Illinois University. Sajeel plays tennis well enough to convince the untrained eye that he knows what he is doing and poor enough that the trained eye submits him to a drug test.