Let me start with a story.
I graduated college with a degree in advertising, and I thought I was actually going to go into that industry. I got a job at a small ad agency a few months after graduation, but it was just awful and I hated it. Why? Well, it wasn't because I didn't like advertising. It was because I had absolutely nothing to do. You see, they only hired me because their Account Coordinator (which was really a fancy term for their Administrative Assistant) kept complaining how busy she was and told the bosses that she needed an assistant.
So they hired me.
But let me tell you - this woman did NOT need an assistant. And the reason I know is because I had nothing to do all day. Literally. I'm not even exaggerating. I went around the office begging people to give me some work, but it was a fruitless effort. I am the kind of person who would rather be crazy busy than bored.
After I left that job, I was lost. I didn't know what I wanted to do with my life. Besides having nothing to do, another reason I hated the job is because I realized I do not do well with the normal 9 to 5 kind of job. I am definitely not a corporate girl. Being constricted to a time schedule without any flexibility killed my spirit.
I know I sound like a spoiled brat and delusional because most people in the world have this schedule, but it was not something that made me happy.
So I read a lot of self-help books trying to figure out what to do next in my life. One book had a great exercise in it that asked me to write down the essence of the life work that I want. I was specifically instructed not to be specific and say things like, "I want to be an advertising executive at Leo Burnett." Instead, I had to say things like, "I want a flexible schedule. I teach people. I want a lot of vacation time for when I have children someday."
Well, I did that and forgot about it until years later when I found it in my basement. I was shocked when I read it, because it almost perfectly described my career that I have today.
Anyone who reads my blogs know by now that I am a communication professor. That is my "day job." And I really love it. I am a teacher by nature, so I really feel like I chose the right profession for me. And that exercise I did so many years ago definitely helped me.
However, I am an entrepreneur at heart. I can't tell you how many attempts I've made over the years with minimal success.
It's not easy to be an entrepreneur. You don't have a reliable paycheck or health insurance provided by an employer. And for many small business owners, if you're not working, you're not making money.
However, some entrepreneurs do make passive income. They make investments, and they, in turn, make money while they sleep. Sounds great, huh? It really does. And it really can be, until it comes tax time and you have to calculate how much money you owe on your capital gains.
But when you're employed by someone else, you have a reliable and steady income. You have health insurance (usually). Life seems a bit more predictable than it might be if you're a new entrepreneur. You might even get more vacation time since you are not the one running the business. You definitely can "leave the work at home" better than if you're an entrepreneur.
However, in your typical 9 to 5 job, you are restricted to a schedule. You most likely have a boss (or many bosses), and you have to ask their permission to make decisions or take time off. It's not as flexible as being an entrepreneur.
I don't think everyone has what it takes to be an entrepreneur. It's hard work. But then again, a 9 to 5 job can be hard work too - and most jobs are not even 9 to 5 anymore because people are working much longer hours these days for a variety of reasons.
Unfortunately, I know many people who don't like what they do for a living. So if you're one of them and want to make a career change, why not go for it? I have known entrepreneurs who have gone back to being an employee. But I have also known employees who ventured out and became an entrepreneur.
What it comes down to is this: being an employee and being an entrepreneur both have their pros and cons. So if you're a young person just venturing out in your career, give this a lot of thought. Think about who you are and what will make you the happiest.
Even if you're in your mid-to-late career stage, it's never too late. Be true to yourself and don't be afraid to make a change in order to feel fulfilled!