My friend Tom is trying to start his own business. He and his partner are discussing the business opportunity with potential angel investors. He’s been doing this on his own, on evenings and weekends and lunch hours.
Yesterday he let me know that he’s being let go from his job in the school district where he works. They argued that his off-hours activities were affecting his on-hours performance. I’ll bet that if his wife just had a baby they wouldn’t be using that argument. More likely his boss resented his trying to start a new career.
Talk about smothering the entrepreneurial spirit. Too many employers around here treat the entrepreneurial employee as a threat or a slap in the face of corporate allegiance. School districts in particular should be championing this cause rather than trying to stifle it. Imagine getting a bunch of high school teenagers into the auditorium and rallying them: “This is what we can do in Buffalo with a little energy and motivation!”. Maybe if we showed them by example at an early age, more young people would take up the banner and take that risk to help better this area, rather than relying on others to do it.
Shame on the school district. They are letting go of an intelligent, self-motivated, high-energy employee. When they post the job listing for his replacement it will read “Looking for an intelligent, self-motivated, high-energy employee”. They should also add “who is not interested in ever starting his own company”.