If you paid me fifty times what I make now to work at a regular job, I wouldn't do it.
Over the past few weeks I've informally asked some of my other entrepreneur friends how much they'd have to be paid to work a normal job in their industry. None of them quoted any reasonable figure. Some of them didn't want to answer the question because it was so uncomfortable to think about.
When Justin Frankel, creator of Winamp, quit AOL, he was offered a job by Microsoft. They asked what he needed to work there, and he responded with a written offer. In his list of necessities were things like a private jet, the ability to work remotely 100% of the time, and all boat rental fees to be reimbursed. It was a joke, but he sent it to them anyway. That's how abhorrent the idea of a real job was to him.
If you have a job, you might think that the grass is always greener. But you're wrong. No one on this side of the fence thinks the other side is greener. With a quick Google search, I could find you tens of thousands of blogs where people talk about how much they hate their jobs and how much they'd love to start their own business. I dare you to find entrepreneurs, even poor ones, who wish they had their old jobs back.
That's not to say, of course, that all jobs are bad. I know a good handful of people who have jobs they love and have no desire to be entrepreneurs. This post isn't for them-- they're happy with what they're doing already.
This post is for people who have that drive for freedom, that goal of being independent, who are wondering whether it's worth it or not.
Not because you'll make more money. You may or you may not. Not because it's less work. It's probably more. It's worth it because you have something so valuable that most of the world can't even conceive what it might be like to have: freedom.
Freedom trumps everything. If I wasn't constantly faced with people whose jobs prevent them from having freedom, I probably wouldn't appreciate what an exhilarating and amazing a thing it is to have. It would be like trees, so natural and ordinary that they don't get a second thought, despite their magnificence.
I would never get a job again. There's no better way to completely decimate your freedom, which I rank as life's crown jewel. If you offered me a billion dollars to be in an office, I'd take it. And then I'd quit after earning a month's salary so that I could have my freedom back.
If you have a job that you don't like, I hope you think about it. Because if it's not a stepping stone to something better, or feeding children that would otherwise go hungry, you're making a mistake. You may not even realize the mistake you're making if you've never tasted real freedom.
Q: If you're an entrepreneur, what would it take for you to get a regular job instead?
ToFind.Me is better now! Rough geolocating and a much better coordinate scheme. I'll write a full post on it later this week, probably. This is my favorite restaurant in Tokyo, which I can't find online in any way: http://ToFind.Me/+M95RS3B39. It's called Alaska. Check it out...
Heading to China this Thursday, then SF, then LA a few days later, then Austin, then Boston... crazy schedule for the holidays.
I buzzed my head with the shortest guard on the buzzer today. I look like I'm terminally ill, but man is it convenient.
My internet company has allowed me to live a lifestyle that would never be possible with a traditional 9-5. That said, the only jobs I'd consider are jobs that would be interesting or enjoyable, or allow me to do something I wouldn't normally be able to do.
For example, I'd consider jobs such as:
- Driving an ambulance
- Flying a plane
- Being a spy/secret agent
- SWAT Team
- Drug Cartel
- President of the USA
- Professional Athlete
- Movie Star
What would it take me to do a 9-5 desk job such as accounting? Probably $1,000,000 a year. Even then, I don't know how long I'd last...
Love it. Great story about the winamp dude. It really whips the llama's ass is starting to make more sense now. Good shit!
I'm not sure how entrepreneur = freedom. Sure, I agree that many people are stuck in jobs that they don't like, and yes, I agree that those people are not free. But claiming that everybody else that is doing what they love, but not working for themselves, aren't free? That's a stretch. A job can be considered a business, with yourself selling your services to one (and only one) customer, the employer. There are plenty of entrepreneurs that are trapped by their own companies. Freedom is a state of mind, not something that's dictated by how you choose to earn a living.
"I dare you to find entrepreneurs, even poor ones, who wish they had their old jobs back" -
Tynan, this is silly. There are lots of people who gave the entrepreneurial thing a shot and decided they were better suited for a regular job. Many people find when they're hustling 24/7 to put food on the table that they actually have LESS freedom.
Both have their advantages, but to say no one ever tries entrepreneurship and wants to go back is silly.
hes right it sounds stupid but im way happier with life not working n getting up in the moring enjoying the smell of freedom vs rushing to get to work at 9 to be at one building for a 12 hour shift. In this article he explained me basically even if times are hard I still would not want a regular 9-5 its not living life to the fullest in my eyes.
" A company is just high school for grown ups" Entrepreneurs create employment for the rest of the population. I'd rather live in my old car and pursue my goals than drive the banks car, live in the banks house and pray to god I can work til retirement age. (BTW being ableto work to retirement age is almost impossible these days) It's a state of mind for some, there can be no other way to live.
Totally with it. It's kind of lonely being largely non-compliant with societal norms and common logical thinking. But, like you said man, freedom trumps everything. Love this post bro.
am a young guy willing to start life on my own with a lot of new ideas,am studying chemistry now but i think entrepreneur is the choice, i think am home
I'm struggling at a 9-5 desk job right now. I love the place and people that I work with as well as the sense of community that I feel but absolutely hate working at a desk in front of a computer ALL DAY LONG. It is preventing me from really getting out there to market my side business. So I will quite in a few months and hope that I don't sink.
i left the workforce in dec 01 and went off to make handmade soap for a living.
people thought i was crazy.
and yet, every day i decide when i'll work and for how long.
i create whatever i want, and i work with wonderful raw materials.
i have the freedom to travel for 25% of the year.
my husband works with me and we have a great time together.
i've learned how to run a company and how to run a productive workshop.
i have absolutely gorgeous customers, many of whom have become friends.
we live in a beautiful part of the world and we have no debt.
there isn't enough money printed to entice either of us back into regular jobs.
@Markus: I did a short review of the Smartwool Vibrams over on my blog.
@Kevin Diaz: I'd have to agree with your answer.
Complete breakdown on my part. To make a long story short: neglected profitable muses for stupid reasons, got scared, and flinched. Took 5 days to hate life, crush creativity, and realize I was in the wrong place.
To avoid bringing an Uzi to work, I quit. I readjusted. Spent several weeks smashing my head into walls (figuratively, of course...) until I built a sustainable income being a professional badass.
When I write about "average people" or "average Americans", I often get flack about it. Some people call me elitist. Occasionally I get called something worse. Then there are the comments about how if everyone did something that I suggest, it wouldn't work anymore, or that the average person isn't exactly the same as me, so he may not be able to do everything I can do. All this boils down to a pretty good topic for a post.
Who exactly am I talking about when I talk about average people? The best way to define my usage of the term would be to say that I'm talking about people who live lives of defaults. They go with the flow and conform to society's expectations of them. That doesn't mean that they're all exactly the same-- there's enough chaos in the world to make everyone completely unique. But although the expressions of their principles are unique, the actual principles are pretty much the same. They do what's easiest. They may have big dreams, but they have low goals. They work as hard as they have to. They don't make independent decisions.
That's not to say that they ALWAYS fit exactly into this mold, only that they usually do. And there's a bell curve, of course, with some people being dead average, some people being mostly average, and then way out on the fringes there are weirdos like myself, and probably even weirder people than me.
Why do I rant about average people so much? It's not because I hate them or think poorly of them-- it's actually because I believe that they're capable of much more and would have better lives if they made the effort. Mostly I think it's a shame that so many people are plodding down this worn trail when there's lots of undiscovered wilderness to explore. I have some contempt for their actions, but not for them as people.
People sure like to talk about it. It's usually used as an applause light, that is, something where the meaning isn't that important, it's just used as a signal that you should agree with the speaker.
Sometimes people make a distinction between "positive" and "negative" liberties or rights. Positive and negative aren't used in the sense of good or bad, more akin to the psychological sense of positive and negative reinforcement. Negative liberties are ones where in order to exercise them all you need is that nobody stop you from doing it, like freedom of speech, and positive rights are ones that require other people or society to help you exercise them, like the right to healthcare.
I don't think that distinction makes much sense. I'm unusual in that I think that a lot of the reason that countries like America seem so much freer than countries like the USSR (not to argue that they're not freer, just that the degree is exaggerated) is because in America a distinction is (nominally) drawn between governmental power and economic power, and for some reason we only consider misuse of governmental power to count as infringing on freedom. In the USSR or China or any other country with a very powerful government that is actively involved in the planning of the economy, the economic and governmental powers are obviously controlled by the same entity, so when somebody gets censored by the state-run media for advocating laissez faire capitalism, that's considered censorship. Contrast with in the USA, where the economic and political power are ostensibly separated and for whatever reason we only care about abuses of political power: you certainly don't see people advocating for hardcore Maoism here. You don't even really see anybody advocating for things that are very uncontroversial in rather similar countries, like single payer universal healthcare. There are definitely people who want these things, and want to advocate them in big public ways, but cannot, because the economic powers that be deny them the platform to do that. And this is not considered censorship.
I think that caring about whether something should be considered censorship, or a violation of X or Y right, is kind of a silly, outmoded way of thinking. Rights and liberties are not Aristotelian categories fallen from the heavens where it is Bad to do a thing that is a violation of a right, but if you can come up with a good enough argument for why it doesn't count as actually violating that right, then all of a sudden it's Good. That's ridiculous. What matters is whether or not the person was able to do the thing, not whether it was forbidden in a way that fits into your arcane rules about how to forbid things.
I have pretty much come around to think that freedom is being able to do what you want, and as a corollary to that, the only real freedom is economic freedom. Well, there are some others, but economic freedom is the most important, and you could argue that the others flow out of it, but that's kind of irrelevant. Now, I want to talk about economic freedom.