As I stood in front of the world headquarters of Chemical Bank, circa 1992, a Rolls Royce stopped in front of the building. A small crowd gathered. Before a door opened, the crowd swelled. I thought it might be Elvis Presley on his way to see a private banker, or to give a press conference on the fact that he was still alive. The Rolls Royce was carrying a rock star for sure, but it wasn’t Elvis, it was John McGillicuddy, Chairman and CEO of Chemical Bank, the man who engineered the merger between Manufacturers Hanover Trust Company, and Chemical Bank, creating what was then the second largest bank in the U.S.
I was a young employee at Chemical Bank, recently out of college and learning quickly about the real world. Should I work hard to make someone else rich? Possibly – by helping make someone else rich, one can get rich in the process. Also, work experience is a priceless commodity.
As an employee in the public or private sector, few achieve the rock star status or compensation of the late John McGillicuddy. Though the same can be said of entrepreneurs, in the context of the psycho dynamics of work and organizations, not only does entrepreneurial freedom yield happiness, but it’s more conducive to allowing one to be the master of their fate, rather than the victim of their circumstances. I can honestly say that the most miserable people I know either work in corporate America or have been displaced by corporate America. Though entrepreneurialism in and of itself does not create a utopia, the happiest people I know are entrepreneurs, and I’m one of them.