Eight-to-five jobs are underrated

We are told to treat our eight-to-five jobs as placeholders for our dreams. Those dreams apparently only exist on the self-employment planet.

So we are told not to settle; to be uncomfortable and unsatisfied until we have people opening gates for us while giving us meek smiles and calling us “boss.”

We are told not to give too much of our time, intellect and energy to our day jobs. Because apparently by being employees, we are selling ourselves short and building someone else’s dream.

And I say, not so. At least, not always. First of all, not everyone is built for self-employment. The harsh reality is that only a select few possess the shrewdness, patience, sociability, leadership, bravery, and riskiness required to start, grow and maintain a successful and sustainable business.

Second of all, every business needs employees to run the day-to-day operations. Where will the employees come from if everyone starts their own business?

Thirdly, having an eight-to-five job actually has a lot of benefits. To begin with, there is a steady paycheck at the end of every month. When you know how much to expect, you can plan well on how to look after yourself and your family.

The eight-to-five job also gives you the gift of time. You can leave work behind at the end of the day or workweek and relax.

You can check your children’s homework and catch a movie. You can go on dates, connect with people. You can travel, pursue other interests. You can have maternity leave for three or more months without worrying about the company going down under.

If the company does go down under, you have the luxury of walking away scot-free and looking for another job.

Even if the company stands, you still have the flexibility to up and move to another company or country. You can switch careers. You can change your mind. The same can’t be said of a business owner.

It’s not always true that you’re selling yourself short by working for other people. Employers are not always out there making profit at your expense. Sometimes it’s just a transaction.

You exchange your time, ideas and energy for pay. Your employer can only have enough money to pay you if your work is bringing in money.

And it’s not true that dreams exist only on the self-employment planet. You can actually be happy and fulfilled with an eight-to-five job. The end goal doesn’t always have to be power and money.

Yes, they are great things to have. But you can also be fulfilled by the difference you’ve made in people’s lives, by the social connections you’ve made, by the thriving career. 

Besides, it can be a trap to chase money and power because very often people forget to just breathe and just live.

So then, appreciate your job. If it does turn out that you are made for self-employment, go for it. But otherwise don’t buy into the façade by many a motivational speaker that you should live in dissatisfaction if no one calls you “boss.”

editor@newtimesrwanda.com