Why Corporate Jobs Ruin Entrepreneurs

Last Updated Sep 11, 2008 8:38 AM EDT

Why Corporate Jobs Ruin EntrepreneursWant to start your own company? Don't spend too much time in corporations.

Oh, and get it done before you age much into your 40s.

That's the advice of Harvard Business School professor and entrepreneurship expert Noam Wasserman, on a recent post on Harvard Business Publishing.

Here's his reasoning:

"Long tenures in corporate jobs keep you from becoming the self-reliant jack-of-all-trades that a new venture requires. You get used to having HR specialists take care of HR issues for you, finance aces prepare reports for you, and IT whizzes maintain the company infrastructure. You become accustomed to delegating and to distancing yourself from "real work" -- a luxury that just isn't possible in a start-up."
His own research shows that 76 percent of founder-CEOs had worked less than 20 years before starting their own company, and had done so by their early 40s.

In other words, if you have the itch to start your own venture, don't wait for the perfect time. Just do it.

(Young entrepreneurs image by Ted Percival, CC 2.0)

  • Sean Silverthorne

    Sean Silverthorne is the editor of HBS Working Knowledge, which provides a first look at the research and ideas of Harvard Business School faculty. Working Knowledge, which won a Webby award in 2007, currently records 4 million unique visitors a year. He has been with HBS since 2001.

    Silverthorne has 28 years experience in print and online journalism. Before arriving at HBS, he was a senior editor at CNET and executive editor of ZDNET News. While at At Ziff-Davis, Silverthorne also worked on the daily technology TV show The Site, and was a senior editor at PC Week Inside, which chronicled the business of the technology industry. He has held several reporting and editing roles on a variety of newspapers, and was Investor Business Daily's first journalist based in Silicon Valley.