In Defence of the 9-5

Some Points to Consider Before Ditching the Office for Self-Employment…

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Having experienced the stress of growing a ‘start-up’ and the comparative mundaneness of working 9-5 (‘what a way to make a living’ – sorry, couldn’t resist!), I have come to the not-so-startling realisation that both these money-making avenues have their advantages and disadvantages!
Wow, what an insightful revelation, right? I bet you can tell I have a degree!

Being self-employed is awesome, yes, but don’t go jumping off the deep end into a life of tax returns and business bank-accounts before you consider the extent of what you will be giving up!

Take it from someone who has been there and done that, running your own business is nothing like in the movies!

What it really boils down to (strap in for another epic epiphany), is what sort of life you want to live and which employment pathway can lead you there…with all your marbles still intact!

Let’s take a closer look at the old 9-5 gig.

Ahhh, the joys of unexpected Monday morning presentations, water-cooler bitch-fests, and parking space stand-offs.

Not to mention that darn wonky air-conditioning; seriously, why are all office suites either sweat-inducing sub-tropical temperatures or have an arctic west-wind blowing through their cubicles? WHY!?

The classic office job i.e. Monday-Friday, 9-5, gets a hell of a lot of negative press. 

Personally, I find this a TAD unfair.

There is something to be said for stability; a regular pay-cheque, familiar faces, a pension scheme, a savings account, paid leave and all that other good stuff!

For the most part, all this goes out the window when you’re trying to get a business off the ground, at least in the beginning.

It’s only when you have experienced massively fluctuating finances, resulting from some crazy self-employment venture that you come to truly appreciate the comfort afforded by that weekly or monthly cash deposit.

Money talks, and while an entry level office job isn’t going to have you living like a Saudi prince, pay-day does bring with it an indescribable buzz.

(Then, your car insurance payments and monthly subscription to
insert mind-numbing magazine here’ get debited from your bank account and you’re back to feasting on baked beans and non-brand Oreos! 
But, hey, the pay-day feeling is pretty sweet... while it lasts.)

In ‘ordinary’ employment you can also plan things, like… your life…and stuff.

You can depend on that pay-cheque and budget accordingly. Go ahead, book that holiday to Fiji, content in the knowledge that with your dependable, faithful salary, you can afford it!

You’re a big-time office worker after all!

In the early days of self-employment, you can literally feel like you're free-falling in space!

For me in the beginning, agreeing to go for lunch at the weekend was too much of a commitment…"I have no time to eat! Are you crazy!? I need to make 6 million dollars by next Thursday!"

Yup, things can get pretty cray-cray for new business owners!

Sure, your job working in the insurance sector may not be the most creative of endeavours, but you do what you have to do to bring home the dosh, right?

Said dollar can then be spent on whatever creative, visionary, extra-curricular enterprises you wish to partake in. The world is your oyster…at least on a Saturday and Sunday!

Don’t underestimate the awesomeness of not working weekends; something most self-employed folk can only dream of!

So, to wrap this up and let you get on with your life, there is a lot to be said for ‘normal’ jobs. Don’t get me wrong however, (here comes negative Nancy) 9-5’s do have their drawbacks.

  1. Office politics are the WORST! Yes, the person who goes for drinks with their boss will get promoted before you.
  2. Routine, routine and more routine! The day-to-day operations of your average office don’t change much. Are you someone who thrives on variation and suspense? If so, the 9-5 might have you losing the will to live and I’m pretty sure Susan in accounting’s new haircut isn’t going to provide you with much of a lifeline.
  3. Lastly and perhaps the most damning, is the lack of passion that can stem from a job outside of your interest area. Most people working for big companies could not care less about company goals, ethos, or performance. They are there to do their job and collect their winnings, which is fine!

Nonetheless, when all is said and done, without passion and enthusiasm, any job is going to be a real struggle.

If you’re ready to strap in for one HELL of a ride, go down the self-employment route FOR SURE!

It can be wonderful and make you hella rich!

But, and I think this is not said enough, working for any company, in a societally perceived ‘regular’ working environment is not necessarily some affront on your creative freedom.

Many people are MORE than content, dare I say HAPPY, working for the man!

The idealistic image of the coffee-drinking, yoga pants wearing, happy-go-lucky entrepreneur is BULL CRAP!

Businesses are hard, man!

That being said, if it has always been your dream to start a dog-sweater knitting company, then yes, go for it, by all means. Passion is THE key!

BUT, if you want to quit your office job just so you can add ‘self-employed hustler' or ‘girl boss’ to your insta bio, then forget it… you'll be pleading with your boss to take you back within the week! 

Claire Edmundson
Claire Edmundson

Claire Edmundson is a freelance writer from Ireland! She spends her days weaving words and hugging dogs. As a vegan, she is passionate about animal welfare, sustainable living and holistic health. View her work at: www.claireedmundson.com

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In Defence of the 9-5