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The price of commodities increases about 300% in a decade while the salary hike is about 150%. These figures may be a bit off but the fact remains that salaries increase way slower than prices and this is one of the main reasons why people venture into business. But is business really better than a 9-5 job? Which jobs can be done from home? Questions like these plague many so here’s an insight into both – business and entrepreneurship.
There’s hardly an MBA graduate who would not have at least contemplated entrepreneurship at some point. Why do so many people take up 9-5 desk jobs – even if it is in a fancy cabin? Is a job better than business? Or is it better to work for yourself? Which jobs can be done from home? Questions like these plague many so here’s an insight into both – business and entrepreneurship.
Why do people select job over business?
Some of the most commonly touted reasons are security, regular income, fixed hours, less stress, and less risk – often in that exact same order. But if you are an entrepreneur at heart then you can get all of that from your business too. Indeed, many homemakers – even illiterate ones let alone MBA grads – are doing just that – and quite successfully too. So what is it that makes people choose job over business?
During the 80s and 90s it was considered a great achievement to land a “government job” especially for girls – women. There was a reason for this. During those days, women were just beginning to step out of their homes and pursue careers. Government offices were populated – for the most part – with clock-watchers who stepped out of the office at the stroke of five. Moreover, the digital boom had not hit us yet – digitization was not what it is today. Smartphones were unheard of and AI was just a dream of Sci-Fi writers. Entrepreneurship in those days was considered a desperate last resort – even for men. In fact, success was defined by one of 3 criteria – Medical doctor, Engineer, or Government Job. These three careers were considered stable, lucrative, and socially acceptable. People who grew up in that era still have that same mindset and expect the next generation to follow in their footsteps. That is perhaps why a job in India is considered better than setting up a business.
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What are the advantages of job over business?
As we said earlier, security, regular income, fixed hours, less stress, and less risk are the main reasons offered. Conversely arguments offered in favor of business include independence, job satisfaction, and better returns. Here’s a look at each one of these arguments –
According to Business Insider people in India are ready to work for 10% less if they are assured of job security. Can any business compete with this? Entrepreneurship or business – incidentally these are often perceived as two different things – inherently involve risk. However, the pandemic put paid to all illusions about job security. When push comes to shove both employment and business involve some amount of risk. It’s just that the risk in business is much more than in employment – that is to say that the chances of your losing your job are lower than incurring a loss in business – or are they?
There’s no two opinions about this – when in employment you are assured of a salary at the end of the month. Moreover, you know how much you’ll get so you don’t have to tweak your expenses every so often. Not so in a business where you never know when your next paycheck will come or from where. So that’s a point in favor of employment. Trouble is, that regular paycheck demands compromises but if you are willing it’s the way to go.
Another one in favor of employment – or is it? Gone are the days of the clock-watcher who picked up his bag and walked out the moment the clock struck 5. Employers these days demand a lot from their employees including working till all hours with very little or no overtime. So this one to is straddling the fence – but then employees don’t carry work home unlike entrepreneurs and businesspersons who are never too far from a phone lest they miss an opportunity.
Is employment really less stressful than business? How much quality time do VPs or even managers get with family? Agreed employees don’t carry work home but they do carry the grudges, jealousy, office politics and a whole lot more home in their head. A businessperson on the other hand only thinks of his business – at all times. So shall we say employment and business are at par on this one?
It is said that business or entrepreneurship offers more independence than employment – and its true to the extent that you do not have a boss to answer to. But then you are the boss and your responsibility becomes far greater than what it would be had you been employed. When an employee mal-performs it affects his boss but when a businessperson mal-performs it affects his pocket – and consequently his life.
Let’s put this one on the fence – neither here nor there. Job satisfaction is an individual thing. While one may seek the independence, creativity, and freedom that business affords another may be content drawing up statements and writing memos all day. One individual may be excited by the challenges posed by business while another may be all at sea. So job satisfaction is dependent upon who you are.
It has always been said that business offers better returns than any salary – and it’s true. Business does have the potential for high returns. But whether these returns will come in with any regularity and whether they will consistently remain high is a matter of debate – and risk. You might think of the analogy of the hare and the tortoise where business is the hare who runs in spurts and employment is the steadily trotting tortoise.
Learning and Personal Development
Employment wins hands down here. While businesspersons do grow – scale – their business, on a personal level, they usually learn and develop slower than their employed peers. That’s because no matter how much they expand or grow the scope within which they can do so is always limited. With employment on the other hand you get a much better real-world exposure simply because you interact with so many more individuals from different industries and segments. On the networking front too, opportunities are far more diverse for an employed individual as compared to a business person simply because the latter usually operates in a single industry or sector.
Work Life Balance
A businessperson’s life is considered much more stressful and chaotic than that of an employee. However, in these days of keen competition, employees are almost as stressed as entrepreneurs – perhaps even more so. That is of course if they want to grow within the organization – or worse switch jobs and follow a planned career path. So again, work life balance is neither here nor there.
Though an employee earns less compared to a businessperson – at least in theory – he is assured of a certain financial security when he quits – retires – unlike his counterpart who must consciously save up for his nest egg. How much you can save of course depends upon how much you earn and the lifestyle you want to maintain but the fact remains that if you are employed, you can automate your savings while in business you must consciously create your retirement fund.
Business or Employment – Who’s the Winner?
If you look at the points above, you’ll see that they fall about 50-50 on each side – so what is better employment or entrepreneurship? The answer to that depends upon who you are. Are you a businessperson or employee at heart? If you are unsure you need to ask yourself –
- How much does a regular monthly income matter to you and your family?
- Can you afford the luxury of moving slowly and learning along the way?
- Do you have the ability to think on your feet – you’ll need it for business.
- Where do you see yourself 10 years down the line?
Answering questions like these will help you make your decision and if the only reason you are debating is because you really have no plan then here’s help on how to choose your career.