WHAT’S WRONG WITH HAVING A 9-5?
The rave is on! Entrepreneurship is the new rave – at least here in Nigeria. It is not a hidden fact that most advanced economies rode on the wings of entrepreneurship to achieve economic liberation and there is no doubt that the private sector is crucial to economic growth, esp. in the face of our ailing economy and poor governance. Technology has fanned the wild fires of entrepreneurship even further. Social media is replete with images of ‘boss ladies’ and ‘millionaire gentlemen’ who are seen to be ‘killing it’ in the business world. This is to be expected in an era where social media holds perhaps the largest market/audience for most businesses, esp. the growing brands.
Unfortunately, this rave has left a lot of people feeling inadequate, feeling like underachievers and perhaps feeling miserable at their current 9-5 jobs. There is a subtle but strong message that entrepreneurship is the only gateway to wealth and the only way to be fulfilled in life. Young, fresh graduates are caught in this frenzy. Many are not looking for jobs as their minds have been filled with the thoughts of ‘there are no jobs’. This is not to undermine the current statistics on unemployment which are very real by the way. But I have often wondered how come the job boards and newspapers have fresh vacancies every day. One can argue that the margin between available jobs and the number of the unemployed/those seeking better jobs is quite high. It doesn’t however negate the fact that it is not impossible to get a job and that there are available jobs.
Entrepreneurship is like a ‘calling’ – a call to provide solutions and create value and be patient enough to watch it yield fruit. It is not a walk in the park. It is not a highway filled with money just waiting for you to come and grab your share. It requires patience, diligence, commitment, a high level of discipline, esp. financial discipline, accountability and responsibility. It is a road filled with failures, late nights, little sleep, more work hours, disappointments, being broke most of the time, frustrations, loneliness, falling and getting up, self-belief, being your own greatest cheerleader, to mention just a few! You get the see the glamour that is splashed all over social media because perception is everything. But no one actually prepares you for the grind! In Nigeria especially, entrepreneurship is real hustle because the institutions and systems needed to support MSMEs are barely there. You must work your way round it.
It is also important to note that before venturing into entrepreneurship you need to acquire knowledge and skills. These skills and knowledge can be acquired in the workplace. The workplace provides you the opportunity to acquire first-hand experience, hone and sharpen existing skills, acquire new competencies and even discover yourself. The workplace affords you the opportunity to build networks and relationships which you would definitely need if you are thinking of venturing out on your own. Your 9-5 job is where you learn discipline, work ethics, business processes, communication skills, working with a diverse team, setting goals and achieving targets and so much more. Your job also gives you access to resources like the internet, a computer, books, trainings etc. that aid your personal professional development. If for nothing else, your 9-5 job teaches you how not to run a business by observing the mistakes that are being made. You get to have a ‘free pass’ on those mistakes!
Being self-aware is very important. Everyone was not created to be a ‘first man’. Some people function best as ‘second man’ or third or fourth. You need to recognize your areas of strengths and weaknesses and identify your area of core competence. No one is designed to do what you the way you do it. No two administrators are the same. No two HRs are the same. There is a uniqueness to your personality, your skills and abilities that only you can bring to the table. The greatest gift you can ever give to yourself is the gift of truth and self-awareness. There are multi-millionaires that have made their money through their 9-5 careers, people taking home 6 – 7 figures monthly on their jobs, minus allowances. They didn’t dabble into it. They discovered financial intelligence and used the resources from their jobs to create wealth. And to be real, so many people enjoy working for others! I have seen bankers that cannot help but be bankers. I have seen PAs that absolutely love their jobs. To be the CEO is no mean feat! It doesn’t make you less of an achiever or less of a ‘boss lady/boss man’.
Be self-aware and be content to stay in your lane and ‘do you’. Some people are not entrepreneurs by choice. They somehow found themselves in it and some just couldn’t resist the pull. There are people that are born to run businesses and no amount of money being made from their career can satisfy the urge and calling to be an entrepreneur. Even if you will eventually step out on your own, working for someone first has great advantages. It gives you time and resources to build, test your business model, learn, explore and have a solid foundation before stepping out. And if you step out on your own and it seems not be working or you realize you are not cut out for it, there’s no shame in retracing your steps and going back to a 9-5. You owe nobody any explanations.
Everyone is not designed to be an entrepreneur. There is nothing wrong with a 9-5 job. If everyone becomes an entrepreneur, who will be hired to run the vision/business? Understand your uniqueness, be self-aware and ‘Do You’!
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