Last weekend, as I was driving across Kansas after visiting friends and skiing in Colorado, I was once again sad to leave the mountains. As I called various people on the long drive, one suggested a career idea I had never really considered before, buying a company. People do it all the time. I'm talking about those small "boring" businesses, not really a franchise, but with enough reputation to have an established customer base.
In the absence of evidence I typically default to thinking about the world in terms of black and white. You either work a corporate job, or you start a company from scratch. Obviously those are not the only two options. People who were brave enough to start businesses retire all the time without any of their kids wanting to take over.
Last week I visited Mexico, and we visited five suppliers plus our factory, and I looked at those little machine shops from an angle I had not considered before. In many cases the owner or one of the owners showed us around. I realized, I could do their jobs. Not initially, of course I would need training and time to learn the business. However walking into an established business, you would have their current work, their current prices, and employees to help keep from screwing up the opportunity initially.
In many ways it's an awakening for me. I have a great job! I make quite a bit of money. However, I'm struggling with my non financial incentives, like Autonomy, Mastery, and Purpose as this RSA Animate video shares. Well, the mastery part is actually very fulfilling for me currently. I get to work on really technical problems where no one, as far as I have read, has really solved the problems. Still, the lack of autonomy and confusion about purpose can be stressful.
Along these lines, I paid off my student loans in December, and it's interesting how that, and Everest, had been big financial motivators for me the past eight years. The only real other financial goal I can think of would be to save 25 times expenses to be financially independent, and I'm so far away from that that I can't live the next 15 years of my life solely aiming for that goal. Plus, it's a pretty selfish goal, that again doesn't really deliver a sense of purpose. Now that student loans and Everest are off the table, having been accomplished, I would take a major pay cut for the right opportunity.