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Conventional Wisdom Is Just Plain Wrong

The numbers are staggering.

Over half (56%) of all Americans dream of starting their own business. The United States is the land of opportunity, but so few of us ever make the leap to this fundamental aspiration. Work is a central part of our lives. Each week for 35 years or more—over 70,000 hours and often half of the time we are awake—most of us work (and travel to and from work). Yet, only a very few of us ever feel that we set our own course, work at what we do best, and are doing what we most love doing. Indeed, in late 2003, the Conference Board reported that U.S. job satisfaction hit a record low: Over half of all Americans are unhappy with their jobs. The Gallup Organization asked 1.7 million employees in 101 companies from 63 countries, “At work, do you have the opportunity to do what you do best every day?” Only 20% of the responding employees working at large firms answered yes. Finally, a 2004 Gallup poll found that over 70% of U.S. workers are “disengaged” from their jobs, meaning that almost three of every four workers have mentally checked out and lost any real commitment to their work or their company.

People are unhappy at work, can’t use their unique skills, and want greater control of their destiny. Even more important, they feel they’re wasting an important part of their lives. As Bob Fuhrer, a successful entrepreneur and the president of Nextoy, LLC, said, “When I was a kid working as a gofer, it was the older guys in the office whom you would always hear saying, ‘I wish that at some

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GO IT ALONE! Copyright 2004 by Bruce Judson. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.