I often feel badly for people who join large organizations. They miss out on so much excitement.  The benefits of joining large organizations are many, so why question doing it? What is wrong with driving up to a large campus-like facility every day and pass through security with your card to your quiet work area?  Nothing, really.

Yes, there is infrastructure and funding to provide support for business activity. Yes, there is prestige in professional association with certain large organizations. And, yes, you do get to be involved with large scale projects.

But unless you participate in forming a new business division at your MegaCorp, you’ll miss the chance to construct infrastructure from scratch.  I don’t mean bricks and mortar.  I refer to the actual standard operating procedures, work instructions, job descriptions, accounting procedures, customer lists, databases, and other fundamental structure relating to the conduct of business.

It is messy, contentious, confusing, and exhausting. It happens in successive approximations. Careers can be spent trying to get an organization moving in the best direction.You’ll make lifelong friends and enemies. You will see both the best and the worst in people bloom before your eyes.

Not everyone likes to do this. In fact, you might even say that very few people are willing to do it. If you are a chemist, you probably prefer to do chemistry rather than monkey with chemical business structure. That’s fine.

Having participated in this kind of work, and, speaking only for myself, I must say that I have a better appreciation for the accomplishments of others. To a large extent, civilization is about the establishment of infrastructure in its many forms. Business isn’t “just business”, it is part of civilization. While few of us will be able to help construct a granite monument or edifice, we can more readily participate in the conduct of our institutions.

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