📺 Stream EntrepreneurTV for Free 📺

No One Should Feel Guilty for Jumping Off or for Staying on at a Job. Me, I Jumped! Starting a business or sticking with a career is a personal decision that requires a lot of soul searching and a thorough understanding of what you personally want out of life.

By Jim Joseph

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


I was a good boy. I did what I was told, and I did what was expected of me.

I knew from day one that I wanted to go into marketing, whatever it is that marketing is. Or was, back in the day.

I knew I needed an masters of business administration to get a good brand management job, so I went to Columbia. I followed a path that was prescribed for me, and it worked. I landed my first marketing gig at consumer giant Johnson & Johnson working on Johnson's baby products, Reach toothbrush and then Clean & Clear skin care. Marketing heaven.

Related: Former New York Times Pressman Worked Out a Strong Career Change in Mid-Life With Retro Fitness

I was climbing the corporate ladder, smiling on each wrung. My mother was so proud.

Not so long after, though, my life changed. Drastically. I became a dad, just like I had also planned, and my priorities suddenly shifted. Well actually, my life shifted drastically overnight, and I had to reorient my career so that I could take care of the kids.

I jumped! I started my own agency. Overnight, I walked away from the big job and became a small business owner. Being an entrepreneur was never in my sights until that very moment. I'd never even heard the term entrepreneur. I'm not sure it was in the vernacular at the time.

Do you have any idea what it's like to jump off a planned, safe and predictable career path to go try something completely unknown? Do you know the scrutiny I faced when I abandoned the corporate world to start over on my own, untethered? Do you understand the uncertainty I suddenly faced?

If you're an entrepreneur, then you do. It comes with the territory.

While it may be more than a bit terrifying, jumping off the tried and true can be exhilarating. There's something very, I don't know, American about starting out fresh and carving your own way. There's something individualistic about not doing what everyone else is doing. There's something motivating about following your own passion, not just wandering down a path that has been paved by those before you.

Years later (decades even), I'm back at a large multinational, and I still draw upon the skills I learned as an entrepreneur. I still carve my own way. I still try to take a novel approach. I still follow my passion. I work for a big company, but I'm still an entrepreneur. I always will be.

Related: In Order to See the Road Ahead, You Must First Clear Your Windshield

I learned to be myself along the way, the hard way. Sure, I still follow my friends who stayed on the corporate ladder, and I admire them for the accomplishments they've made. I respect that they've stayed loyal to their companies through the years. Had I stayed at J&J, I'd be over 25 years tenure. Whoa.

Truthfully, though, that's just not me. I jumped and it made me who I am.

I'm not sure I would have had the same success had I stayed true to the tried-and-true. I certainly wouldn't have been as happy, and I certainly wouldn't have been able to be with my family when they needed me most.

I wouldn't trade that for the world.

Don't get me wrong -- the well-traveled path makes a lot of sense for a lot of people. There is (relative) security and a step-wise career progression if you are so inclined. Although honestly, I'm not sure that it's entirely true anymore. There's risk everywhere, and the concept of loyalty has certainly changed over the years.

The key is to do what's right for you.

Related: Aspiring Entrepreneurs: Before You Quit Your Job, Do These 4 Things

No one should feel shame or guilt for jumping off -- or for staying on. It's a personal decision that requires a lot of soul searching and a thorough understanding of what you personally want out of life.

Me, I jumped!

Jim Joseph

Marketing Master - Author - Blogger - Dad

Jim Joseph is a commentator on the marketing industry. He is Global President of the marketing communications agency BCW, author of The Experience Effect series and an adjunct instructor at New York University.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Side Hustle

These Coworkers-Turned-Friends Started a Side Hustle on Amazon — Now It's a 'Full Hustle' Earning Over $20 Million a Year: 'Jump in With Both Feet'

Achal Patel and Russell Gong met at a large consulting firm and "bonded over a shared vision to create a mission-led company."


Want to Be More Productive? Here's How Google Executives Structure Their Schedules

These five tactics from inside Google will help you focus and protect your time.

Side Hustle

How to Turn Your Hobby Into a Successful Business

A hobby, interest or charity project can turn into a money-making business if you know the right steps to take.

Business News

These Are the 10 Most Profitable Cities for Airbnb Hosts, According to a New Report

Here's where Airbnb property owners and hosts are making the most money.

Business Ideas

63 Small Business Ideas to Start in 2024

We put together a list of the best, most profitable small business ideas for entrepreneurs to pursue in 2024.