It’s been a while since I added to this series that looks at the trends in corporate America that I think are pointing to its inability to retain top talent in the future. The third trend that threatens to keep corporate mediocrity alive & flourishing is the fact that better alternatives to corporate now exist.

Those alternatives haven’t existed for that long.  You could argue that anyone who wasn’t satisfied with corporate has always had the choice to leave & open up their own business.  That’s true and many people have left corporate to do that very thing. But in recent years, the availability of options to do that have skyrocketed.  The Internet has blown away many of the barriers to entry in industries that were once dominated by large corporations. Social media tools like Facebook and You Tube give small business owners direct access to markets they simply could not penetrate years ago.  Internet marketing has made millionaires of startups who have taken their products & messages directly to consumers.

Even more interesting are the number of startups that are blossoming all over the world especially in lesser developed nations.  This shows the tremendous power that technology is putting in the hands of ordinary people with a dream & a purpose & desire to make money.  

Then you have a pretty stable & robust venture capital industry that is helping fuel startups all over the world.  In the past, access to capital has always been difficult for an individual that was tired of working for a corporation yet had a dream he or she wanted to pursue.  Without capital,  a dream can quickly turn into a nightmare.  These days individuals have more funding options available to pursue their own business and many of them are doing so.  With corporatons laying off millions of people in this recent recession, many individuals, especially Baby Boomers, are looking at self-employment options especially since the chances of corporations re-hiring them in the future are slim to none.

Finally, you have the Millennials.  Over the past few months, I have been conducting a series of Gen Y Interviews that I call Millennial Musings.  The reason for the interviews is that I wanted to get a pulse on how Gen Yers felt about their corporate experience.  The oldest members of the group are now in their 30s so they have had a good taste of what working for a corporation is like.  To my surprise, over 80% of the Gen Yers I’ve interviewed  thus far are extremely dissapointed with their corporate experience.  Many of them have left corporate and have either chosen smaller companies or have started their own businesses. 

But here’s the really interesting trend I’ve seen with the Gen Yers that have opted to start their own business.  Many of them are teaming up with their laid off Boomer parents & starting a family business.  Now that’s a twist that has not been seen before.  The Boomer parents are bringing their tremendous experience & body of  knowledge while their Gen Y children bring their tech savviness, passion & collaborative networks.  The combination is proving to be quite powerful & profitable. As one of my Gen Y interviewees remarked   ”Why would I want to work for some corporate boss who is a jerk when I can work with my parents who are cool”  It’s always refreshing to see how well Gen Yers get along with their parents & how at such a young age, they are throwing out the box & coming up with creative ways to succeed in their own business instead of trading hours for dollars in a corporate job.

The alternatives to working for a corporation have indeed expanded and are providing all generations with viable & certainly attainable options that don’t include corporate.  Newspapers, magazines & blogs are filled with stories of how very talented individuals who were laid off by their corporations after years of service have stopped looking for a corporate job & pursued their own businesses & are thriving. This is good talent that is now lost to a corporation forever.  In many cases, their Gen Y children, underwhelmed by their corporate experience are joining them outside the corporation & are contributing to that success.

In the final installment of this series, we will look at Trend #4, the Millennials.  My favorite of them all.