I have excerpted this from a series I first wrote in 2004.
From Employee to Entrepreneur – 1
I recently met a friend I have known for a long time. We have known each other enough for me to discuss his work and career. While the work he was doing continued to be interesting, I sensed a restlessness. There was a feeling that perhaps he should look at alternatives. Perhaps, a career at another company. I suggested that he should look at doing something on his own as an entrepreneur. He had obviously thought about it, but something was holding him back. Having spent over a decade working for large companies, that path was easy to follow. It was a predictable future. Thinking about a start-up either joining one or creating one was a path that was different and unknown. Perhaps, the security of a job outweighed the risks of entrepreneurship.
I have been just the opposite in my career. Even when I started working at NYNEX (now part of Verizon) in the US in 1989 after my Masters at Columbia University, I was clear that in the very near future, I would start my own company in India. That was the advice my father gave me when I left India for further studies in the US. If he was able to return to India in the mid-1960s, I had better do so now! Because of family compulsions, his entrepreneurial career began a little later after he returned from the US. I need not wait.
And so after just over 2 years of working, I left NYNEX, returned to India, and launched out as an entrepreneur. It has been a mixed scorecard. But I could not think of living life any other way. Give me the ups and downs of the entrepreneurial journey with its mountains beyond mountains than the security of employment.
Yet, I understand that not every one of us can become an entrepreneur. But there are many who consider it. Just like those abroad who consider returning to India, contemplating entrepreneurship is also like the year N+1 syndrome. It keeps getting postponed to the next year and that next year rarely comes. As time goes on, it keeps getting harder to do.