We've all heard the pitch before: Stop wasting your life away working 9 to 5 while the big man gets rich off of your work. See the world. Build your wealth.
We see that same statement circulating the internet in new ways everyday, whether it's through the latest traveling lifestyle Instagram account, the friend that joined an MLM business, or the acquaintance who just recently quit his job to "find himself". Those of us who have our standard day job find ourselves questioning what we're doing with our own lives. Where is my utopia? Is my life fulfilling enough? One moment, you think you're living, and the next you're ashamed about being a working bee.
But who's to say that working a 9 to 5 job isn't living? People spend so much time these days trying to "have it all" and find their calling but disregard one key value: hard work.
Now first off, I am not saying that those who travel full-time, joined an MLM company, or quit their job to start their own business are at all wrong. But you have to admit that their key pitch is to discredit those who have a traditional work life. Despite the fact that you may not have the most freedom for 8-10 hours of your day, there are great lessons to learn from working for the big man.
1. Starting from the bottom
Whether you envision yourself managing a team or starting your own business, achieving that goal starts with the basics of how a business runs. What better way to learn than from your employer? The best way to gain trust as a leader is credibility. That credibility is gained from experience and wisdom in your craft. There is no shame in being entry-level if you always keep in mind that the title is only a stepping stone towards your goal. There is just as much to learn from the bottom as there is from the top.
2. Learning your strengths
Perhaps you had a plan out of college to become an analyst. 3 years into working, you realize that you hate what you do and want to quit. This seems to be the norm for most millennials after college. The post-grad life marketed on social media wasn't the life they imagined, therefore, they feel inadequate. That is the wrong state of mind to be in. The point is to learn from your mistakes and evolve. Learn what your weaknesses are throughout your career and find roles that compliment your strengths. The goal is not to keep working yourself to death, but to challenge yourself in a compelling way everyday. No matter what role you have, it's still work. If you find yourself in a rut, do something about it.
There is no better way to develop your career or find a business opportunity than through networking. While you can attend every local networking event possible and make acquaintances, the best way to build your network is through the people you work with. If people have a great experience from working with you, they are more likely to refer you to their next company, or better yet, employ you at their own company they start. Silicon Valley is a great example of this trend, and it is how new businesses develop everyday. People refer and employ those that they trust. That old buddy of yours at a new company could be your next step into the role you've always wanted.
4. Sustainable Income
While the idea of being your own boss and creating your own hours allows for flexibility, it is in no way scalable. Especially if you have responsibilities such as college debt, a family, or a car payment. Having a steady income, medical benefits, and stock options make life less of a struggle and it allows you to create more opportunities for yourself if you manage your time wisely. While I do believe that people should take risks and follow their dreams, there are always ways to do that without sacrificing everything. Even famous entrepreneurs such as Barbara Corcoran failed at 20 jobs and worked a waitress job before turning her tiny real estate business into a $66 million dollar real estate firm.
5. Nothing is set in stone
While you may be working your 9 to 5 job now and perhaps may still work for the same company 5 years down the line, it does not define your future. Who's to say that working for the same company or in the same industry for the next 30 years is "not living"? There are many goals to be achieved as long as you work towards them, no matter where you choose to go.
Do not let what others say on social media define how you are living your life. Live the life you want to live. But most of all, if you are in an MLM business, please stop messaging me. I do not want to have lunch, buy a starter pack of dead sea products, organic coffee, or protein powder, and sell it to all of my friends and family.