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26 September 2011

Myths about having a Job

Funny thing about humans, we get sent through school, told to have dreams and reach for our dreams, then, we get out of school and suddenly it’s the ‘normal’ thing to have to go out and find yourself a job. If you are ‘lucky’ you get a job after searching through countless wanted ads. Sometimes you’re even told that your chances of getting a job are increased if you go get yourself a higher education. But why exactly do you NEED a job working for some big company? Have you possibly been told that your future life depends upon it?
Well you know what, I would like to expose some myths about getting a job, working for a boss.

1-You need to have a job to feed yourself and your family
Wrong. You do need to work, and to have an income to support yourself, but you do not need to have a job as such. There are many ways to bring in an income other than having a job working for some heartless company, eg. The guy who walks down the street selling ice-cream, he works for himself not a heartless company, the busker who stands with a fiddle on a busy street corner playing gorgeous tunes, the young lady who babysits your kids, all of these people are working for themselves to support themselves, their families, save up for special costs and so on. Having a job is merely way to help (note my wording of help, not completely cover) you to cope with the daily costs of living, providing shelter, food and clothing.

2- You need a job for security of income
Social conditioning is amazing. It’s so good that it can even make people believe the exact opposite of the truth! When you work for a company, your income relies on the measly little words “you are fired” uttered by any one of the many people whom you answer to. Does the idea of having one fragile source of income really sound secure to you? In actual fact you have the least control and security of income than anyone!

3- You are going to gain experience
It is quite true; you will gain experience, in one very small and limited field of expertise. You may think this is great, but open your eyes, what happens when ten years down the line (or less) the computer operating systems that you are so expert at, all change? The truth of life is that you gain experience every day of your life, whether you are working or not! Just think, have you ever looked after your best friend’s kids for a few hours? Did you ever sell things at the school fete/market when you were a kid? Have you ever set up and written in your own blog? All those give you valuable and diverse work experience! And what about the notion that you will learn valuable people skills? Well you actually have people skills already, talking to your family, school mates, friends, teachers, random people on the street, all of that is valuable people skills. What you should be more worried about is how you deal with those people you already know, positively or negatively?

4- You get a social life in the package
Do you really want an inner-bred social life, spending time off of work with people who do exactly the same as you, when you already see them 8 hours a day (that’s more time than you spend with your spouse and kids) just because you already know them? Wouldn’t you prefer to widen your social horizons to people who can inspire you from a different angle, people who you can learn from and grow with? People who will inspire you and stimulate your thinking?

5- Structured timing
Hmmm, tell me, does getting up at 5am every day, dragging yourself out of bed, looking after home responsibilities for an hour, climbing in your car and spending two hours in traffic, then spending 8 hours working hard with people you only just manage to tolerate and dealing with crabby clients, just to climb into the car and spend another two hour commute home, to spend about one hour with your family and then going to sleep, getting up the next morning and repeating for 5 days a week sound nicely structured to you?

6- Benefits
OK, yes, having that job does come with 2 weeks paid leave every year, and with medical aid, oh and don’t forget the pension fund. However, do you really, seriously want only two weeks leave? And about that, while you are on leave, they get in a temp to cover your job, and realize the temp is cheaper and that means you are disposable. Or they get a colleague to cover for you; then again, they realize that you are not truly needed. And what if you really are indispensable? Well then your “holiday” wont be much of a holiday because they will be constantly contacting you to find out how to do something without you there. And then the medical aid? You get sick and need a day off, first you have to apply for a sick day, then you have to ensure you get a doctor’s note. Oh and there are many things that we may view as essential medical treatment that the medical aid views as “cosmetic”. And is it really coming off of the company’s money into the medical aid? Nope, they’re docking that off of your salary. What about the pension fund, surely that’s good benefits for working for a boss? Nope, there again, they really are docking it off of your salary. And guess what, they invest it, and keep half of the interest. And if something happens with wherever they have chosen to invest it, you are the one who loses everything. Yup, those sound like fake benefits to me. I would rather put that money into a savings account myself and use it when I feel I need it!

7 –Climbing the corporate ladder
Really? People tell you that the only way to be successful is if you become a manager or a CEO of some big corporate company? And you believed them? I’m sorry, but I have to say this: YOU IDIOT!!!!! Success is not determined by the corporate ladder. The corporate ladder is really a staircase to nowhere. In the slim event that you actually do manage to go up a rung or two, who will you have to backstab and step on just to get there? Is it really worth that? Do you realize also that as you receive and chase these tempting and lucrative offers you will end up spending all of your time and energies on that rather than reducing your time in work so as to use it for more enticing endeavors (like spending time with your family). And then, when there is another huge knock in the economy, as we all know there will be, the higher up that ladder that you are, the more you stand to lose.

8 – The Longer you work, the more benefits you will get
This point is in line with both myth numbers 6 and 7, where people will tell you that obviously you wont get the greatest benefits straight away, but as time goes on, maybe after one year, you will get an increase, or you will get incentive gifts, and so on and so forth. Other than the above two myths being exposed, to further this specific point, yes ok, you get maybe a 4% raise after a whole year of dedicated time to that company, what will that 4% do for you? Well it will put you into a whole new tax bracket which means in actual fact less money for you and more for the tax man. And no, working for a company for a long time also does not promise job security, if they find a person better suited and qualified to fill your role, of course they will think about their loyalty to you, but the company you work for will be looking for their own interests before yours. Oh, and are you really looking forwards to that cheesy gold watch as a loyalty gift for working 20 of your best years behind that desk?

9 – Work hard and you’ll be rich
Wrong! Now in no way what-so-ever am I downplaying the importance of working hard, to quote a well known and widely respected book “With a man there is nothing better [than] that he should eat and indeed drink and cause his soul to see good because of his hard work.” And in fact no human can survive without working hard. However what I am indeed saying is that working hard does not determine if you are rich or not. Look at farmers for example, they work very hard, and yet their wealth is not high. But guess what, they enjoy their work. Yes, working hard is essential to happiness and essential to survival, but does not determine your bank balance.

10 – You can start off at a company and then go from there out on your own
Some people need to follow this advise, the type that are afraid of failing (truth be told, we’re all afraid of failure, but what we should be afraid of is not learning from our failures, and those are the people whom I am talking about), the type of people who are unimaginative, or just plain procrastinators. Yes, you might learn the tricks of the trade by working for a company first, but chances are if you don’t know the trade yet, they won’t hire you in the first place. I was recently told that people act not on the hope of what they might gain, but on the fear of what they might lose, I however am not a person who reacts to a situation in that manner. Sometimes you have to have a little faith and go for what you really want rather than what you might lose. Here I am talking about the idea of starting your own business, working for yourself, there are obvious risks, what if it doesn’t work? What if you spend a lot of money on it that you won’t get back? However, think logically, there are also risks associated with having a job, which I have covered above. You could now argue that, maybe tomorrow would be better suited to going at it on your own than today. But you know as well as I do that tomorrow you will again say tomorrow, then one day when you are old in years and tired in health, you will wonder why you never said “TODAY”, so why not make it today rather than delaying?

The purpose of this post is not to upset people who truly love their jobs and find great purpose in their jobs. Like for example Doctors, Teachers, Policemen…. Without those people civilization as we know it would not exist. What I am going against however, is the idea that to survive in the world you have to sit behind a desk and push buttons or paper all your life saying “Yes sir, no sir, and how high sir” and never have time or energy for more worthwhile pursuits.
Rather what I am encouraging is that one thinks out of the box when it comes to a form of income. The benefits of working for oneself far outweigh the benefits of working for a company. I will shortly add a list of the benefits of working for oneself, but I believe I have taken quite long enough to write these myths, it is time to put up this post “Today” not tomorrow.