The Road Not Taken: Being Awful at Office Politics Inspired Me to Become an Entrepreneur
published by , on 15/11/2014

In this series of posts, Influencers explain how their career paths might have changed. Read all the stories here and write your own (please include the hashtag #RoadNotTaken in the body of your post).

I became an entrepreneur by accident. I grew up in a very traditional family. My father was a teacher and my mother a social assistant. They taught me that with the right degree, I would be able to find a decent job, working under a decent boss. Preferably I’d find a job as a teacher, since staying at home during school holidays would make life much easier. Or maybe within the European Union, as I was graduating at a time when the EU in Brussels was booming.

Despite my parents’ best efforts I wasn’t really motivated at school. I managed to pass all exams, but barely. Studying was really not my cup of tea. Luckily, working was. Both before and after graduating, I worked hard at whatever job I had at that moment. People could count on me. I was always on time, stayed until everything was finished and was available when a last-minute replacement was needed.

Some time after getting my degree, I started doing research for recruitment in a smaller company. I loved it. I loved taking care of assignments, making sure I found the right information for my customers. I never complained about the working hours, even when having to show up early or stay late. I was willing to do whatever it took to make sure I was doing the best job possible. I was happy and so were the clients.

And then I was fired. Not because I wasn’t doing a good job, but because I was bad at office politics.

That was the moment I decided to take a different road. I didn’t want to work for a boss ever again. I became a freelancer and continued working in the recruitment sector. It wasn’t hard to find enough work, since the customers that knew me from my previous job were very happy to hire me for their assignments. The assignments kept pouring in, so after a few years I hired some co-workers. To manage the recruitment of my own candidates better, I created an internal software program. Customers heard about it, and asked if they could use the tool as well. This resulted in me starting a new company, CVWarehouse, the one I am currently managing after selling the first.

Although I don’t regret a single bit of the road that led me here, it isn’t what I had in mind when I was young.

“Entrepreneurship” was a word I had never heard of before my twenties. I just loved working and wanted to be the best in what I did. And somehow, my path turned out to be that of an entrepreneur. And I am very grateful it did!

How about you? Did you stick to a plan, or did faith and/or coincidences decide your path for you?

Photo: unsplash / LinkedIn

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