Corporate Freedom

When it comes to people’s careers, I see people seeking two kinds of freedom: economic freedom and personal freedom.

Economic freedom examples - to be able to afford to live wherever, travel wherever

Personal freedom examples - of having no office politics, and given flexible days

 These two kinds are not always mutually exclusive, but generally, people tend to sacrifice one for the other. Generally, high paying jobs are more stressful (I know I know, there are definitely exceptions). Of course it’s not that the companies want their leaders and experts to get stressed; that can lower productivity. Nevertheless, their work can take some energy and personal freedom away from them.

Sacrificing one kind of freedom for another is a bit more intuitive than what I’d like to cover next, which is: once you’ve learned which freedom type you’d rather prioritize, what kind of company do you go to? Initially, it may seem that small startups make people work overtime and potentially bring huge monetary benefit to its workers. Larger companies, on the other hand, look like they offer more job security and work-life balance, but its workers can’t expect their company stocks to dramatically soar. Yet there are exceptions. Have you thought of any?

The reality is that the type of freedom companies offer are not dependent on company size. Company culture and the type of business being run should be considered as well. A company doesn’t need to be the size of a startup to maintain startup culture. And imagine working for governmental or top secret organizations; no matter your pay, you wouldn’t be able to speak of your work. In BEAM, we’ve had a brief conversation about Apple’s high level of secrecy. Although Apple has grown to be a large company, I can’t say it offers a vast amount of personal freedom. And while a trip to Google reveals how much it cares for workers’ well-being, it is also quite clever about getting young employees to work from breakfast till dinner, with its free meals and all (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing if they enjoy their job).

I have friends who are writers, and they’ve told me about how they do not want to sacrifice their personal freedom to scale the corporate ladder. Perhaps they’d like to be freelance writers (haha, get it?). And then in BEAM, I see my peers eager to enter the corporate world as soon as possible. As a BEAMer (well, also as a writer), my response to my writer-friends is this: remember the kinds of freedom you are trading off by not entering the corporate world, but in the end, you are free to choose the kind of impact you’d like to have on the world.

Chase Robbins