Comparing A Full Time Job To Self Employment

by Silicon Valley Blogger on 2011-06-0210

Which is better: working for yourself or working the 9 to 5? Many self employed people wouldn’t be dragged back into a salaried job unless they had no other choice. And by contrast, many employed people like knowing they have a fixed schedule and specific hours to work, and a boss who makes all the decisions.

So, which position would you rather be in? There really isn’t a right or wrong answer here — it’s really all about your personal preference and point of view. In fact, many people fall victim to the “grass is greener” syndrome and end up wishing they were doing whatever it is they are NOT doing at the moment. So an employee may hope to become an entrepreneur with his own venture someday, while the struggling businessman who is besieged by financial problems may pray for a full time job. Sometimes, it can be hard to make up our minds!

So how about comparing these two approaches to earning a living to see which you find more suitable for your situation?

Factors To Consider When Comparing Full Time Work To Self Employment

Here’s a list of factors to consider when comparing different work lifestyles:

#1 The Number of Hours You Spend At Work

When you have a job, you have a specific number of hours you are required to work. There are always exceptions, of course, but for the most part, you have a fixed schedule. A typical work schedule runs from 9 AM to 5 PM. Those are the hours you work, and come 5pm, you drop everything and go home. You couldn’t do that if you were self employed: not all the time anyway.

On the other hand, if you’re your own boss, you may tend to work harder than when you’ve got a job. But the good news is that you’re able to choose your own hours, so if you want to work later in the day and into the evening, you can do so. You can’t have such a flexible schedule if you work for a traditional, less progressive employer. In my case, I pick up my kids from school in the middle of the day. It works out because I run my own home business.

Also, regarding overtime: if you are employed, you may get overtime payments for working longer hours (or extra hours). As a self employed worker, you’ll be paying yourself an income (out of your business earnings), so your “bonuses” are tied to your revenues, not to your hours worked.

You may want to read about how I transitioned out of a job and into a work at home business. Here are some basic business lessons I learned as a new entrepreneur.

#2 The Amount of Money You Make

This depends on the job, but there seems to be a misconception among many people that self employed people get paid less in many cases. But you can’t really generalize. It all depends on what kind of work you are doing. In many cases, people are surprised to find out that they can earn quite a bit by pursuing something they are passionate about and then building a business around it. Here are some examples of people who have found success as professional bloggers.

#3 Your Job Role and Responsibilities

When you work for someone else, the responsibilities you have depend on the role or position you fill. Those responsibilities are pretty set and well defined though, and depending on your job title, you may or may not have too much on your plate. If you’re not interested in climbing the corporate ladder, then you can decide to take on a low stress job. When you work for yourself however, it all changes. You are responsible for everything and everyone you employ. You cannot “pass the buck” onto anyone else because it stops with you. Some people see this as an exciting challenge, but it’s not everyone’s cup of tea.

One thing is certain though –- if you work for yourself, you won’t feel nagged or controlled by your boss any more. But being the one pulling the strings will mean that you’ll have to find the self motivation to manage your business and to see it through.

#4 Job Fulfillment

A lot of people say that working for yourself tends to be a much more fulfilling and emotionally rewarding activity, but if you happen to be in the right career, you could very well enjoy pretty high job satisfaction as well. In my case, I loved working in dynamic corporate environments that also offered me stock options along with a generous salary and job benefits; I can say that this rivals the enjoyment and fulfillment I feel as a business owner. 🙂 Here’s more about my erstwhile Silicon Valley corporate life.

What Kind Of Work Would You Choose?

Some people were never meant to work for someone else. By contrast, other people are simply not cut out for self employment and would crash and burn the minute they tried it. Sometimes, it takes some experimentation and even some serendipity to figure out the best kind of path for yourself.

Here’s a question: If you’ve had the chance to work in both worlds, which path have you decided to stick with, and why?

Copyright © 2011 The Digerati Life. All Rights Reserved.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

ninjacontent June 3, 2011 at 12:23 am

I prefer working from home. I have worked outside too and have found that I can earn more working from home in a shorter period of time.

NoTrustFund June 3, 2011 at 4:53 am

I’ve only ever had a full time job. Overall, that has worked well for me but more and more I find myself intrigued by the idea of self-employment. I realize you can end up working longer hours when self-employed but there is no face time and I assume you only need to work on things you decide are important. But yes, the grass is always greener.

Adam @ ThisIsWhyImBroke June 3, 2011 at 7:11 am

IMO, self employment is the ultimate career goal.

It’s extremely difficult and financially risky to leave your job and go for self-employment, but if you can manage to achieve it you’ll never look back. You will work more hours (contrary to popular belief of working less), but you’ll enjoy it because you know you are putting effort into something that will actually reward you beyond a measly hourly rate.

Silicon Valley Blogger June 3, 2011 at 8:16 am

Thanks for your thoughts! I’d like to share a bit about my story as well. I always thought I was not the entrepreneurial type — I often contemplated on how to get started on my own ventures but found it either overwhelming or intimidating. So I started out with an online hobby that slowly grew into a business. That way, I could test the waters and enter into this role in a gradual fashion. I am also somewhat risk averse so easing into a new path worked for me. I was surprised that I could actually shift gears this way. So I guess since I did it, anyone can! 🙂

krantcents June 3, 2011 at 10:55 am

I did work in both worlds and there pros and cons for both. I love the independence of being self employed, but hate how things beyond your control affect you. I was an executive of a variety of companies and found the work stimulating and gratifying. The other side is things happen beyond your control that affect the business. In my case I made more money in my own business. As a fairly positive person, I like aspects of both. June 9, 2011 at 1:48 am

By the way, one of the main problems I had with Kiyosaki was the way he looked down on people who had jobs instead of businesses or a freelance venture of some sort. When talking about employment, he only focused on the negatives. He also argued that you can’t get rich on a salary. Actually, you can. A job or a business is just the means to earning money, that’s all. It’s how you invest the money which makes you rich, not how you get the money.

SA June 9, 2011 at 11:05 pm

I prefer working for myself as I have a young child. It became a problem for my employer because I put her first. Now that I am self employed, I have more time to spend with her, doctor visits come easier, and being there to pick her up from school is less stressful.

Matt Davis June 10, 2011 at 12:32 am

Self-Employment would be amazing!

Right now, I’m pretty far from that. I work long hours 45 minutes away from home, but someday I’ll work the hours I want to work!

I’ve actually been on working on a site detailing my progress (or lack thereof) on reaching my goal, so feel free to check it out. I may be new to the game but I have huge ambitions and hopefully soon I will be living the life :D.

DH June 22, 2011 at 5:13 pm

Like you, I wrestle with whether I can sustain myself and my lifestyle working for myself or whether to stick to the relative “security” of a full-time job. But jobs aren’t secure, as our 9 percent unemployment rate can attest to, and I really want to try striking out on my own. If I fail or if it turns out that the self-employed life really isn’t for me, I’d rather have given it a go than always wonder “What If?”

Silicon Valley Blogger June 22, 2011 at 5:17 pm

Working online when you live in a cheaper state is a boon. I believe you have the advantage due to the location transparency that internet based work provides. We here, in California (and in other high cost of living states) have higher expenses for the same pay. Interesting fact huh?

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