I have come to believe that job security is one of the worst things a person can have, especially early in their career. Getting fired gives you a chance to reinvent yourself. All of a sudden you have the whole world in front of you and you can now leap to a career that you may love more
Over the years, many people that I laid off or fired have contacted me and, in many cases, it turns out that they took their severance or unemployment insurance time to get another business going. Many times an employee who was easy for me to lay-off was just miscast at Atari. Once they were in the position of creating their own gig, they knocked it out of the box.
If you are a recent college graduate who is nervous about his or her career--but you also feel unprepared to start a business--ask yourself this: What is the probability that someone in their 20s will know, with absolute certainty, which job or career will make them happy? Trying to hold onto a job early in your career is not necessarily the smart move.
And once you have a wife, a kid, a house, and a boat, you will find yourself unable to move from a job that you hate. You'll be stuck. Unless you are lucky and really screw up and get fired or at least get let go in an RIF.
I am really glad that I cannot tell the difference between work and play, and I wish that everyone has that chance in life. If your job is in trouble or you can't get a job or you have just been fired, now is your chance to pursue your dream.
Last updated: May 13, 2009
Veteran entrepreneur NOLAN BUSHNELL is the founder Atari, Chuck E. Cheese, Etak, ByVideo, Axlon, and uWink. Among his accomplishments, Bushnell invented Pong, hired Steve Jobs, and developed a series of robots. He lives in California. @NolanBushnell