3 Things I Genuinely Miss About the Corporate Culture & Cubicle

Love Dilbert!

[This is part of the Escaping the 9-5: My Road to ProBlogging series.]

It might be a bit odd to believe that someone who loves setting off on their own and working for themselves might actually have a few tidbits of regret leaving the environment that kept him prisoner for so long.

Perhaps it’s because of all the challenges that a inevitably arise from working for yourself and having to manages those difficulties instead of someone else.

Or perhaps it’s the “guaranteed” bi-weekly check that appears in your checking account that keeps you comfortable and anxious-free at night? Sure, nothing’s completely guaranteed but some circumstances are a bit more consistent than others!

I love where I am and the people I now get to spend the vast majority of my time with but I would be lying if I were to tell you that it’s all “fun and games” and I don’t have doubts every so often.

As a result, I think it’s a good thing that I share some of the things that I genuinely miss from the corporate lifestyle and cubicle, just so that you have some more food for thought as you consider making a leap into ProBlogging!

1. Non Virtual Environment

One of the things that I have enjoyed is the complete freedom to work from home and anywhere I please at any given moment. I don’t like being told what to do and especially the way that I should or should not work!

But during the tough times of doing business or writing I can miss the consistent source of physical community, especially since my startup teams don’t have a real office (yet).

I sometimes miss the ability to get out of my seat, walk over to the next cube (we’re talking 2 feet away, at the most) and whining to my colleague about how the legal department is taking foooooooooooooooooorever to get approval for a last-minute marketing copy change for our new product.

Ah. I miss that. Throw in some nerdtalk about how last night’s epic 25-man Raid of Naxxramas went (and what loot dropped) and you’ve got a fine personal watercooler!

2. Corporate Hiearchy

This might sound a bit odd as well but there’s something powerful about hiearchy and corporate structure, insofar as it’s ability to help levelset expectations and to clarify roles.

I also hate it at the same time (and it’s partly why I left) but at times it’s a necessary challenge that, for some people, is the only way that they can work.

I understand the corporate dynamics that take place in the workplace and it’s many drawbacks – but I’m also familiar enough with how it can, when done well, improve productivity, provide foundational expectations and understanding about roles and responsibility, and how it can destroy decision gridlock when leveraged appropriately and wisely.

Some people thrive in absolute chaos – but I’m not that type of person. I still need a bit of structure within which to play with so I can maximize my core strengths as a person.

And when you’re a ProBlogger you make all these yourself and sometimes you’re everything (and nothing) all at the same time. That can be a challenge for sure!

3. Competition

You might not have ever thought about it in this way but the corporate culture and office lifestyle has competition flowing through it’s veins – and for the competitive person (like me) this is a constant adrenaline rush.

Many people are looking for the next challenge, the next step to develop your career. When managed wisely and well this is a good and healthy thing!

But when you’re a ProBlogger it can be difficult to really understand who you’re competition really is – and having yourself be your only competitor can get really boring really fast!

For those that especially thrive in cultures and environments where a competitive spirit is rewarded and thought of highly working for yourself can be a challenge at times.

What I’ve had to do is to create a lot of alternative metrics and standards of comparison so I can keep the competitive spirit alive and well, for my sake and yours!

What about you? Have you made the jump out of corporate only to realize much of what you miss? What are they?

[This is part of the Escaping the 9-5: My Road to ProBlogging series.]