Executive Decision

Silver Lining

While corporate workers are continuing to be laid off with a lot of economic and emotional pain, some still see a silver lining to this troublesome story. For one, as more executives explore entrepreneurship, many are getting a chance to finally pursue a lifelong dream. Technology Concept's Keillor, for instance, always yearned to start a business of his own-he just never had the right opportunity. Likewise, he says, as many of IBM's casualties continue to open their own companies, scores of them are finding a whole new world of possibilities.

"In the short term, [the layoffs were] very painful to the Rochester community," Keillor admits. "But in the long term, I think it took a lot of underutilized talent and unleashed it. Putting [that talent] out on the streets is going to be one of the best things to ever happen to Rochester economically."

Darr agrees that while many former executives start businesses out of necessity, others discover they were cut out for entrepreneurship all along. "Once they start a business, they realize they should have done it earlier," she says.

Out of a bad situation, it seems, has sprung a new legion of entrepreneurs. No longer content to take their unfavorable job situations sitting down, countless corporate workers who've been laid off, downsized or bought out are now seizing control and striking out on their own. As Darr puts it, "There's just a kind of entrepreneurial fervor that's gripped the whole country."

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This article was originally published in the July 1996 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Executive Decision.

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