My Journey of Intrapreneurship: Taking a Leap of Faith and Leaving Corporate America

It’s no secret that the majority of Americans don’t like their 9 to 5 jobs. Whether it’s due to the work itself, the management or industry, many workers have experienced unhappiness or felt unfulfilled at work.

I found myself in the same boat many years ago. I had been in corporate banking for over 10 years. It wasn’t the most fascinating job in the world, but I found the work a great fit for my skills. The job was stable, too, which I really valued. I was able to work part-time and even had a remote work arrangement.

I know this sounds like heaven to most people, and I acknowledge that I had a lot of great perks. But even then, I found the job monotonous. My world felt like it was a gray blur of suits and the dreary 9 to 5. It was an environment where I had to conform to succeed. Even then, there was limited room for growth and advancement.

I was over it.

After working for more than a decade at one of the nation’s largest corporate banks, I needed a change. That’s when I made the shift to intrapreneurship.

Related: How Promoting Intrapreneurship to Millennials Generates Growth and Innovation

Bye bye, suit and tie

I had worked with ChicExecs founders, Nikki Carlson and Kailynn Bowling, in the past during trade shows. I jumped at the chance to work with these amazing ladies as my full-time job.

It definitely was a leap of faith to leave my career in banking. It was terrifying to make the jump, even though I knew the team I was joining and knew my abilities were up to snuff. When I tell people my story, they wonder what drove me away from banking. But it’s not necessarily what drove me away from that field; it’s what attracted me to ChicExecs.

There were very limited growth opportunities in banking, both professionally and personally. Every day was the same. I didn’t feel like I was growing or improving at a conservative job where I was discouraged to make waves or to get creative.

Employers who encourage intrapreneurship, however, make growth a priority. I feel both challenged and supported in an environment that lets me be myself.

They encouraged me to create my own career path within the organization through intrapreneurship. As an intrapreneur, I was able to use my grit and dedication to grow. It’s exhilarating being able to carve my own path using my natural talents.

Nikki and Kailynn encouraged me to find what I love: to find work that gives me meaning, not just a paycheck. With the fostering of intrapreneurial culture, I was encouraged to pursue work I love within the walls of the company, with full support and all of the tools I need to be successful. Even if I fail, it’s seen as a chance to learn and grow, rather than a horrible mistake.

While entrepreneurship is a great option for those who are ready to take the leap and start their own businesses from scratch, I love my journey as an intrapreneur. I’ve been able to grow in a supportive environment with strong women who have been in my shoes. The only way to go now is up.

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Intrapreneurship: the bottom line

Intrapreneurship can prepare you for making the leap to entrepreneurship because it is all about letting go of the comforts that a traditional workplace provides.

If you take a chance, you will reap the benefits of doing what you love versus remaining stuck doing something you hate just for a consistent paycheck. Being in an intrapreneurial environment prepares you to become a problem solver, think on your feet and adapt to many different situations, all of which are qualities that entrepreneurs need to have.

I know how scary it is to leave corporate America, but let me tell you this: if you take the leap of faith, I doubt you’ll regret it. Personally, I’ve never looked back.

Today, I’m proud to be part of a company that works primarily with entrepreneurs who have also made the jump. No matter how many people I meet, one thing holds true: there are no regrets in making the change.

If you want to break out into a new space, ditch the suit and tie and forge your own path that allows you to be yourself and start your own business.

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