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Have you ever thought about going into business for yourself? Have you found the one special product or service that would enable you to be your own boss? Have you ever wondered how you could turn the dream of working for yourself into a reality? If you answered yes to any of these questions, were you able to succeed?
Well…….I haven’t. I work for someone else. I have a 9-5 job that I physically go to each week day. I earn a steady paycheck and have great benefits, but there are times when I would rather walk over hot coals and poke needles in my eyes. There are days when I literally count down the seconds until I can exit the building. Sometimes, my job makes me want to freak out.
(UPDATE: Not any more! I have worked for myself for almost 3 years!)
However, I would say that – overall – I like my job. At times, I would even agree that I “love” it. My point is this: working for someone else doesn’t have to be all bad. Even though I’m still chasing the dream of being self-employed, there are definitely some big advantages to working for someone else that I’m going to enjoy while I can.
When Something Goes Wrong, It Isn’t Your Problem
There are days when my boss leaves early, and it is slightly irritating. It is especially annoying when it’s a beautiful day outside, and I know he is just going home to screw around. However, when something goes terribly wrong, I am able to get the hell out of there when 5 o’clock rolls around. This is especially true if the disaster is something that doesn’t relate to my job in any way.
For instance, once while we were having a public function in our building, an entire hallway flooded because of a plumbing issue. Guess what? Not my problem. At various times, people have called to complain about the service that they received. Since these complaints weren’t about me, they were definitely not my problem. Periodically, different staff members have had complaints about hours, scheduling, or each other. Again, it is not my problem.
Another downfall to being the boss – especially in a small business – is that you are constantly “on-call.” This is true even when you are not in town. I can not tell you how many times my boss has been called while he is on vacation. It can’t possibly be relaxing to be on vacation knowing that a business you own is experiencing problems. In contrast, when I go on vacation, no one calls me. Even if they did, I would completely ignore it. I can do that because it’s not my problem.
I like having it – and I’m talking about a real group policy, not the crap that you buy for yourself on the open market. There was a time when we didn’t have access to a group policy and had to buy our own coverage. At the time, we wanted to have children, so we also had to purchase a “maternity rider.” It was ridiculously expensive. By the time we moved to our new group plan, we were paying almost $1000 per month for almost useless coverage. Now that we have a group plan, it is paid for with pre-tax dollars via payroll deduction. Yes, this does sound confusing, but using tax preparation software such as H&R Block Online really helps make sense of it. As if that wasn’t enough, my current policy is much less expensive than the policy we had before and covers a much wider range of medical issues. Yay for working in a business that can qualify for group coverage!
If you work for someone else, chances are that they offer a pension, 401K, or some form of retirement plan. Chances are also good that they contribute to that plan in some way. My employer matches the first 5% that I contribute to my work sponsored 401K. They also participate in profit-sharing, which can be quite substantial depending on the year. Of course, if you work for yourself, you can still have a retirement plan; that’s not the point. As an employee partaking in my company’s retirement plan, I am receiving “free” money toward my own retirement. If you are self-employed, nobody is going to help subsidize your retirement savings. It is entirely your responsibility.
Some jobs have almost no perks. My best friend got a coffee cup from her long-term employer for her Christmas bonus last year. Other years, they gave her similar knickknacks and kitsch items. She doesn’t appreciate them, and I don’t blame her.
On the other hand, some jobs have real perks that come with them. Government jobs may offer a “take home” vehicle. Other jobs may offer the option to work at home. At my place of employment, full-time employees have fully paid smartphone service. We also get a decent Christmas bonus and an annual clothing allowance. No matter what perks your employer chooses to offer, take the time to appreciate them. You may find that you are better off than you think.
Choose to be a Happy Employee
I didn’t write this article to try to discourage people from finding a way to be self-employed. There are definitely benefits to being your own boss. Setting your own hours and being in charge are very attractive to some, while not as attractive to others. There are those people who just don’t want the headache and responsibility that comes along with owning your own business. Others crave that same responsibility.
Whether you are working for someone else because you have to or because you want to, remember that being an employee doesn’t make you a failure. It also doesn’t mean that you must have a boss forever. To me, working for someone else is a learning experience. Do I wish I was my own boss? Sure. But for now, I choose to be happy just where I am.