I just passed my 6th year here at my company. I clearly remember the first Thanksgiving I celebrated while a "real employee" six years ago--up in Portland with my sister Melissa and Laurel--and I thought: "How cool. I'm on vacation--but still getting paid!" Yes, I had experienced the working life once before (from 1995-96 at a small software company in Cupertino), but after three years of basically impoverished, subsistence living in law school and then one year in Hungary as a teacher earning $300/month, getting a Silicon Valley salary while celebrating the holiday with my family was quite exciting. (By the way, six years is pretty much longer than anything else I've ever done in my life (excluding Elementary School...). It's longer than high school, college, grad school and longer than my superb five-year marriage to Lovely Ivy.)
A quick and sincere "thanks again!" to Patricia L and Tiffany D for helping me get my current job. My life would be pretty different if Patricia hadn't called me up and told me about a job at this company with a weird name that Tiffany knew about. It has been a great experience and I'm very thankful that I've been able to move from my starting point as the Contracts Manager to Corporate Counsel these last three years.
However, Ivy and I are aspiring to something different for the next stage in our working lives. After much thought, we have decided to give starting our own company a go and we're planning to move overseas to Hungary in the Spring of '07.
Anyway, it will be a big change and we know this path is in many ways initially more risky than sticking with our current jobs that we do like a lot. However, after evaluating the pros and cons, here's why we are big fans of running our own show: IF your business gets off the ground (and we know many businesses aren't successful and die out) and IF you manage to structure it that you're not spending all your time running it...then you have much more control over your work schedule (why not take Thurs afternoon off and work instead on Saturday...) and there's much more potential financial upside as an owner of the business, rather than simply being an employee (i.e. instead of hoping for a 3% raise each year, your efforts may pay off by being able to sell the business a decade or so from now.) It's nearly always better to be an owner if the company does well.