From a distance big companies always look organized, professional and in control. The documents other people write often seem so structured and complete, compared to yours. Other peoples lives always look well organized and stress free.
Of course, if you look behind the scenes: chaos.
When I show people my house all I see is the mess. I see the cracks in the ceiling, the spider nests in dark corners and the paint job that I never finished. Other people just see a beautiful house.
I once spoke to an entrepreneur who sold his company after 10 years. He told me that during those 10 years there wasn’t a day that passed without there being some sort of crisis, incident or major worry. He kept remortgaging his house to get access to money, he contstantly had to deal with employees that didn’t function well and he generally felt like an amateur struggling along. When he had meetings with potential clients he was always worried that they would see through the facade and ‘expose’ him as being an amateur. He had no idea what he was doing and just followed his feelings.
Then he sold his company and started working at a few larger companies. There he found out that at bigger companies it is even worse: the same problems with employees, only worse. The same problem with nobody knowing where the company was heading, only worse.
The same chaos, only hidden behind a expensive marble facade and some PR people.
Being professional doesn’t mean avoiding chaos. It means feeling reasonably comfortable in a chaotic environment and being able to take charge when everybody else just sees chaos.