But I don’t want to own my own business!

My least favorite PF “rule” is that one can’t become rich by working for someone else.  It’s almost as though bloggers are money-obsessed hippies, criticizing anyone who works for The Man, calling them worker bees, drones, etc.  “Why,” they ask, “would you ever want to work for someone else when clearly all skills and professions are transferable to owning your own business?  I mean,  my skills are, and I can’t imagine that anyone else might have different abilities or desires.”

I do not have an entrepreneurial bone in my body.

I don’t like risk.  I dislike dealing with people every day.  I’d be a terrible salesperson, and I know I’d be miserable if all I had to do all day was drum up business.  I dislike feeling beholden to other people, even if those people genuinely needed whatever service I could provide.

My skills and interests aren’t very useful for business owning.  I love engineering, and my industry is a niche area where the costs are prohibitive to all but the largest corporate and government entities.  My specialty in this industry is basically useless in the outside world, unless I wanted to be a professor (not a teacher… it would have to be at the college level).  It’s not something you can start doing outside work as a hobby.

Plus, I love my job.  I love my coworkers.  I like knowing what my paycheck will be every 2 weeks, and I like not having to worry about my own retirement savings, healthcare, or 50% of my social security taxes.  I like that I can go on to get another degree without worrying about how I going to get the money for it.  I like my paycheck, even, although I probably wouldn’t complain if there’s was more of it.

Of course, I’m an outlier too.  I make a good salary considering my age & experience, and my job will most likely not disappear for a long time (I’d say I’m good out for like 20 years).  And I love structure (hence the math & science focus).  Other people are in fields that don’t pay as much, or they don’t have any interest in what they’re doing.  Some people hate structured workdays.

There is always more than one path to financial success.  Some people say spend less, some people say earn more.  Some people want to retire as early as possible.  Some people want to love their work enough that they never want to retire.

So PF bloggers, stop saying that we’ll never be financially sound or happy working a regular 9-5 job.  Lots of us will.

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14 Responses

  1. Agreed…

    What made you write about this?

  2. same question as tom! Someone must’ve hit a nerve!

    I know what you mean though. It kind of reminds me of the people who absolutely believe owning a house is the best option, without stopping to consider that it may not be the case for everyone. (And then look down on you when you end up renting….[cough] like my sister [cough])

    Everyone is not meant to own their business….and it’s not for lack of intelligence. I consider myself to be intelligent, yet I LOVE the “security” of a steady paycheck, and its comforting (most of the time) to know that I’m not responsible every day to bring in new business, and I’m definitely not a salesperson. While I think they are skills anyone can work at to become decent, it’s not something everyone enjoys.

  3. LOL, I’ve had this in the back of my mind for a long while. It’s both a PF blogger and cultural imperative which makes my staunch anti-entrepreneurialism (for myself) so much more antithetical to … y’know, everything. Aside from hating sales, not being a people person, and hating uncertainty, I watched my parents be slaves to their businesses for 15 years and then fail.

    Sure there’s no job security in the sense that any business can fail, but for the blood, sweat, and tears they put into their ventures, it’s absolutely heartbreaking and they didn’t have anything else to start over with because they put everything back in the business. At least there’s less chance of that happening when you’re a wage worker. And I know it’s all about your business and personal choices, but either way, the idea of running my own business really isn’t appealing in the least.

  4. Totally agree. I do have something of an entrepreneurial spirit, but I don’t like risk and I do like health insurance. So while I might end up running my own business, I can also do just fine working for “the man”, thank you!

    Seriously, the way to get rich is to spend less than you earn. I can do that on a salary.

  5. I’m with you, I will NEVER work for myself.

    (Also, I’m curious what prompted this post as well)

    I don’t like the idea of working “for the man” but since I’m going to be an academic it is probably the closest I’ll get to working for the man while having as much freedom as possible.

    As for the job security comment, there may be no such thing as job security, but there is such a thing as career security. For instance, I may not keep any job that I have for longer than 7-10 years, but there will ALWAYS be a need for educators. So my career path is one that I will always be able to get a job – it just may not always be the same job and it may not always be exactly what I want to do.

  6. Agreed, exactly. I think I’ve said as much (though not so succinctly!) on my blog at times.

    Side rant: I spent an evening with my cousin and her husband who (granted, works “real” job selling insurance in the meantime) has a big dream of building a business, and is just working on coming up with the next big thing. You know. The next Facebook.

    We were talking about a friend who’s dad basically invented DSL technology and is a bazillionaire (or something), and he readily agreed “yeah, I just need to do something like that!”

    Uh, the guy had a PhD in EE from some awesome college and he didn’t just one day think “hmm, it would be cool for internet to be fast through the phone line” and get a check for that.

    (of course, many people have legitimate business ideas. But still, the point is, it isn’t for everyone.)

  7. Interesting post. I watched my parents struggled while owning their own business. Now my brother in law is running his own business. He seems to be doing well so far but he has huge business loans and works long hours.

    I’m on the fence when it comes to running a business. I think the right business can be invigorating and profitable BUT, and this is a huge but, most people underestimate the time and effort required for success, ignore the fact that most people fail, and do not realize how stressful it really is to be your own boss.

  8. I see both sides. I don’t know that my career path will ever let me get rich without being my own boss, but I also am afraid of the risk of starting my own buisness. Sigh…

    What to do… what to do…?

  9. Yeah, I think anyone who claims you’ll never get rich working for someone else has never met a CEO or any other high-ranking business executive. These guys can make tons of money, plus become directors on other companies’ boards. That can be as much as half a million for about 6 meetings a year!

    Besides which, not all of us want to be rich. Some of us just want to be comfortable.

  10. I think your second to last paragraph there says it all….everyone’s different and everyone wants different things. That’s awesome that you are very content with your job right now! I also agree with Abigail that not all of us want to be filthy rich, either. For me, I am happy with my job at this point in my life, but definitely want to move up in the world – whether that’s with my own business or with the company I’m with now, I don’t know. I just want to keep learning more and doing better every day. Good post! (I’m a new reader, so I’ll have to do some poking around. 🙂 )

  11. I wrestle with the choice, I’m an engineer too but in my field it is possible to form your own company and land sizeable contracts. Many of my friends have done it and are making a heck of a lot more than I am as a salaried worker. But I don’t like what they have to do to earn that kind of money, like you I’m not a salesperson and I don’t want to be out promoting myself. If I can do it solely on the strength of my talents that would be wonderful, but this is LA and that isn’t how it works here. Like you I think there are many positives to life as an employee, so for now that is where I stay. As long as you are happy with what you are doing, other people’s opinions aren’t valid.

  12. Amen sister! I couldn’t agree more. I would HATE to work for myself. I need a bit of structure and routine – I’m a terrible procrastinator. The thought of chasing up creditors alone gives me hives. I do the odd spot of freelancing, and that’s given me a small taste of what working for myself would be like. Personally, I think there’s nothing worse than chasing up payment. Honestly? I’d much rather have a steady paycheque even if it never makes me rich!

    Love the new blog template!

  13. […] fit to chime in with “why don’t you work for yourself instead?” I will point you here courtesy of Paranoid Asteroid.) I also value a job that I can mostly leave behind when I leave the […]

  14. […] fit to chime in with “why don’t you work for yourself instead?” I will point you here courtesy of Paranoid Asteroid.) I also value a job that I can mostly leave behind when I leave the […]

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