Is the career shift from business to politics worth it?
I've had people ask me this question who consider the move, but also those who don't but are trying to understand why someone would quit their job in business for the world of politics.
My answer, in brief, is below.
Why it's worth it:
- Sense of community
- Serve your community
- Meaning & purpose beyond self
- Big lever: influence policy affecting millions
- Personal growth: step into a high-challenge environment
- Work on topics that are important but neglected by business
- Your skills are in short supply - leverage them for governance
If I had to pick one word to express why it's worth it: meaning. If I had a second word: community.
Why it's not worth it:
- Tension between material security and other values: will I live up to the latter if it risks the former?
- Work tends to be all-encompassing, with weak boundaries between 'public' and 'private'
- Low job security: will you get the job, and how long will you keep it?
- Will your skills from the business world be appreciated?
- Low-support: blame, even threat, low trust
- Worse pay versus business
If I had to pick one word why it's not worth it: stress.
But here's the kicker: Can you have one without the other? Is not the flip-side of meaning & community that they are not given to you on a silver plate. It's not like picking the next movie on Netflix.
For me, it's been worth it when I switched from the corporate world into politics 5 years ago.
And I am seeing more and more brilliant people with a background in a business join politics. It's encouraging.
What do you think about the trade-off? Did I miss a pro or con? Let me know.
🎙️ My latest podcast
This conversation with Axelle Bagot is interesting for anyone looking for a handle/framework to make sense of leadership decisions. Axelle teaches the concept of Adaptive Leadership and it has changed how she has made sense of her leadership. Give it a listen:
📚 What I read & listen to
🖋️ My favourite quote
„I never won a fight in the ring. I always won in preparation.“
- Muhammad Ali