Which Risk Do You Prefer?
It takes a great deal of courage to be an entrepreneur. The biggest challenge we face isn’t just financing our endeavors, learning curves, continuing to fund our personal or family living expenses, dealing with criticism or lack of support from friends and family, or all the technical challenges of starting a business in the wake of a pandemic. As if those challenges were not daunting enough, the biggest challenge is maintaining our personal momentum due to waffling confidence and nagging self-doubts that will rear their ugly head at the absolute worst of times. So let’s really look at your choices, and you decide what is your best answer.
Indeed, self-doubts rarely show up when times are good and the money is flowing. No, rather they will show up when you already have a full plate of concerns, responsibilities, financial challenges and then usually a “topper” like some kind of severe heartache. That’s when we want to throw in the towel and just take a thoughtless job working for someone else. We secretly think to ourselves, “I should take a job working for XYZ, and let them take the risk and responsibility, in trade for a promise of a steady paycheck”…. Right? We all go through this kind of thought process, over and over.
Let’s face it, we either are an entrepreneur, or we work for one.
Even when we work in the “most secure jobs” such as government positions, they are not really secure. With the wave of a pen, things can change overnight and your agency or job has been transformed into something totally different or eliminated altogether. You no longer have even a promise of a gold watch after selling your life for the “steady check” and maybe benefits. This trade is more than just your 8-10+ hours per day. You are also giving away the potential of what “could have been done” with all those hours, or to say another way “opportunity loss”.
This is NOT to say that it’s wrong to go the safe way and choose to feed your family by working for someone else, and thus provide a solid trustworthy living for them. IT IS A RESPECTABLE CHOICE. But it isn’t for everyone.
My father made the choice of being a factory worker, while also being a farmer and carpenter on the evenings and weekends. He was an excellent provider due to all his sold hours of labor to an employer that made certain that he retired – just short of his 20 years. My dad was no exception to the factory that employed him. Making sure all “old-timers” retired before drawing full retirement is how they treated all their dedicated, loyal long-time employees. At that time, no regular employee of that factory was ever able to earn their full pension.
Seeing what my father went through changed my perspective on being an employee. While I deeply appreciated how he pushed himself to ensure we were all taken care of, I resented how his day time employer treated their employees. Everyone reading this article has likely seen countless examples of maltreatment, just under the line of blatantly illegal treatment. As most of us have borne witness, there are many ways employers can take advantage of the trusting loyalty of their employees. Pension fraud, underfunding pensions or mismanagement of the funds are just some of the ways to prey on long-term employees. There are more sophisticated strategies used day-to-day, under the guise of “profit management”.
Of course, employers sometimes have to make legitimate, triage-type decisions for the survival of their business. There will always be that kind of risk that your job may not withstand the financial hardships of your employer or the economy. This is understandable and is a normal risk.
But, there is a more prevalent risk now to consider. (Continued in Part 2)