- Business and Employment
Working For Someone vs Being Your Own Boss
We've all had them. Those really bad days at the office - days where you forget about the monthly bills, forget about the car / house repayments and just don't give a damn anymore. Days that make you want to clear your desk with a mighty swipe of your hand, days when you just see red - where you need to resist the urge to march into your bosses office and tell him to take his job and to you-know-what. It's an interesting fantasy - one that I have at least once every couple of months. I picture myself gathering up my things, giving my colleagues a courageous wave goodbye, wishing them all the luck in the world - and walking (but really resisting the urge to run) out fearless (but trembling inside), with my head held high and a smile plastered to my face. Think Jerry Maguire.
When do You Know it's Time to Leave?
Leaving a full time job where you are guaranteed a monthly salary for something less certain takes a lot of guts. Maybe you've just reached the point where you don't care anymore - where you'd rather be eating cans of beans and packets of soup, than have to face another day of working yourself to death in that soul destroying place known as 'the office'. It might not be that bad - I might be over exaggerating. This however, was exactly how I felt 4 years ago.
I remember the day I made the decision to leave my permanent job clearly. I'd had been booked off for 2 weeks by the doctor that January with Vertigo, after an incredible amount of stress at work. During those two weeks of not being able to drive anywhere, focus on anything on TV and pretty much do anything besides sit quietly and think - I came to a decision. When I got back to work that week, I handed in my resignation letter without a second thought. I didn't have another job to go to, I hadn't looked at my budget - I'd done no planning at all. I had hit rock bottom with my health - to me, that was more important than being somebody's slave for eight hours a day. What for? Do you think someone's going to stand at your grave one day and say, "What a shame, she made such great coffee and those recons were something else! What will we do without her at the office?" Sadly, no - no one is going to care about what you did at work. You're going to leave behind family and friends who never got to see you because you were either working crazy hours at the office, or bringing the stress home every day.
The Fantasy of Becoming Your Own Boss
The Reality of Working for Yourself
Working for yourself has it's perks, but I definitely wouldn't recommend quitting your day job if you don't have full family and financial support behind you. Four years ago I sat down with my husband and asked him to stand behind me. I told him I'd move heaven and earth, that I'd give it my all - yes, we'd suffer a bit financially in the beginning - but, it wouldn't be anything that we couldn't handle. I said to him that I'd rather we scrape through for a few months and do something that I enjoy - that doesn't promote the rage, stress and depression I'd been bringing home every day, than risk it affecting our marriage or my health anymore. I was fortunate that during that year and a half of working for myself from home, that he didn't complain about the money (rather lack of it) - not even once. He stood behind me 100%.
Starting my home business was easy. I paid R150 to CIPRO (South Africa's business registration organization), and took a few days to decide on a catchy, short and appropriate business name. I decided to pursue my hobby at the time of creating gift hampers and small gifts and turn it into a full time job. This seemed like the perfect idea, as I would be able to unleash my creativity and get paid for it. My husband designed the website and this gave him the opportunity to discover his creative side as well. He researched and put together the entire website of about 10 pages - an incredible job, and a huge achievement. I am so proud of what he accomplished.
During the first year I made gift hampers for all occasions - Mother's Day, Valentine's Day, Christmas, etc - but the most popular were the birthday hampers. I spent a lot of time on these as I customized each one to exactly what the client wanted. If they wanted sunflowers added to their basket - I arranged it, if they wanted a unique card added to their order - I designed and printed it, if they wanted it the same day - I made it happen. I knew that it would take a few years for my business to get off the ground properly and was prepared to go the distance. I found an Accountant to do my books for free, advertised my gifts in every possible medium - social media websites, blog pages, newsletters and flyers; and I just started to dip my toes into the wedding gift field. Unfortunately, a year after working from home my husband received news of being retrenched from his job. I knew then that I'd have to give up the dream I'd been living and go back to a permanent job. Luckily, he started a new job a month later and I was able to carry on with my business from home on a part time basis. I started an Au Pair job in the afternoons to bring in some extra money, worked a few hours in the morning for a catering company and did my business in between and at night. I enjoyed the variety of the 3 positions, but sadly - working part time, proved to take it's toll with me as orders started decreasing and I had less time to dedicate to my business. After a few months of selling hardly any hampers, I took a week to weigh out all the options and decided at the end of it to let go of my business and to go back to full day work. It was a very hard decision, knowing what we'd both put into the business (even looking at these images today makes my heart extremely heavy), but I knew that even keeping it on the sidelines while working full day - I wouldn't be able to give it my all. We were looking at financial stability and starting a family within a few years.
I'm currently working an 8 - 5 job, I don't hate it - but I miss the freedom I had while working at home. I'm happy that I receive a monthly salary and that I don't need to stress about buying proper food or paying the rent - but I miss the creativity I became accustomed to. Looking back, I'm glad I took the chance to start my own small business - that I had the opportunity to do it. I learned so many things about myself and about the way business works. I'm positive that I'll do something similar in the future - when we're in a position to do it, but for now - I'm happy to pay the bills, and go away on holiday when we can afford to.
The 9 - 5 Job
Work whenever you like
Work set hours
Answer to yourself
Answer to your boss
Guarenteed monthly pay
Take a day off whenever you like
Take off when it suits the company
Probably need to work when you're sick
Can take time off to recover when sick
Gym at any time during the day
Gym before, after work or during lunch
Work from home
Sit through traffic
In the company of colleagues
Make changes anytime
Run ideas by your boss first
Work until you get the job done
Work 9 - 5 and then go home