As an entrepreneur, I feel like I am lumped into a group of ‘lifestyle designers’ who run through the streets preaching that you should never work a nine to five – that if you’re spending your time in a cubicle you’re a sell out and that working for ‘the man’ is the devil.
Hear me loud and clear – I do not, in any way, think that 9 to 5ers are “suckers”. I’ve written about it before that YOU need to be doing whatever is best for YOU. Just like nine to fives aren’t for everyone, neither is entrepreneurship. There are pros and cons to both (no, the freelance life isn’t all glitz and glamour) – and there are things I very much miss about the office environment.
I get tired of seeing people who are hell-bent on talking others into “breaking away” from the grind. I love my current lifestyle and the work I’m doing but I also fully understand that this isn’t for everyone.
The ‘corporate’ life has a ton of great benefits. So from an ‘entrepreneurs perspective’ here are a few things that I see as extremely valuable in a 9 to 5.
One of the things I miss most about my agency job was being able to work with so many other passionate, hard working people who shared in similar interests. There is a LOT to be said for the power of collaboration and what you can accomplish within a positive company culture. Being able to bounce ideas around, ask questions, and learn from others in your field (at all levels of experience) is invaluable. Going into work with an open mind and being receptive to other ideas will allow you to grow exponentially as an individual and young (or old) professional.
We talk all the time about ‘lifestyle design’ and ‘location independence’ – that we don’t like structure and routine and we want to set the pace for our own life. I agree that freedom is a beautiful thing, but structure can be as well. Work/Life balance is something that’s very important to many of us, and admittedly, as an entrepreneur, you do a lot of running around like a chicken with your head cut off – you work ridiculous hours, and that work/life balance becomes a blur.There’s a lot to be said for being able to leave work at work.
I look at my wife (she’s an accountant) who can come home and not think about work at night and on the weekends – while I sit next to her with my laptop open plugging away. I find myself now, as an entrepreneur, trying to get back that ‘structure’ I had in my previous jobs. I’m doing everything I can to create a nine to five away from the nine to five (funny how that works out, eh?) Being able to leave work on your desk in the office and come home with a clear mind is a beautiful thing.
When I talk to recent graduates, I never recommend to jump straight into entrepreneurship. I think EVERYONE should experience the ‘corporate’ lifestyle – and while it wasn’t quite my cup of tea, I still learned a ton and each experience was invaluable to shaping the “businessman” I am today. It’s important to do the nine to five thing and see if it is a good fit for you. The hours you work aren’t nearly as important as the work you do and the culture you surround yourself with.
Maybe the job you’re in right now isn’t ideal – but odds are you can still take a lot away from every experience. I’ve learned something from every single job I’ve had, all the way back to being a grocery bagger in Franklin, Tennessee at age 15. And if you feel like you’re not learning in your current situation – push your boss to take on new clients and projects or more challenging work – you’ll learn more, have more responsibility, and who knows, maybe earn a bigger paycheck.
We all want to be valued, we want to be appreciated and recognized for our accomplishments, we strive to be an integral part of our businesses success – the key is, nine to five or not, find something that allows you that. Find something that allows you to be you and to be appreciated and valued as ‘you’. Your company will get the best out of you when you find a company that allows you to be at your best. That, and attitude is everything – it’s amazing what a positive attitude can do for even the shittiest job.
Do I love where I am today? Of course. Do I miss the nine to five sometimes? Very much so. I have ABSOLUTELY no regrets about any of the experiences I’ve had – each experience adds a little something to the toolbox. Nine to five or not – your passion is your passion, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.