Almost everyone can find a place in corporate America. It’s usually working a cog-in-the-wheel position that’s demanding, yet unrewarding, and lacks room for growth. But that’s not an employee-employer relationship…that’s called getting used.
Corporate loyalty sounds like an oxymoron these days. How can you be expected to be loyal to your employer when you don’t feel they’re loyal to you?
It’s not too late! You can still unplug from The Matrix of corporate America. These four reasons will give you a little extra push to ditch big business and finally become your own entrepreneur:
1. Freelancers have a higher opportunity cost
This should be a no-brainer. For the most part, no corporate ladders remain. The gold watch era has ended. Abundant opportunities to ascend the corporate hierarchy no longer exist. Salaries are stagnant and have been for quite some time, even though worker productivity has jumped 23 percent since 2000. During the same time period, hourly pay has remained mostly flat.
What does that mean to the average worker? It means corporate America is happy to have more productive workers, but the concept of working hard and obtaining steady raises during your career is unlikely.
Yes, people all over the world get raises and promotions daily. But most workers don’t have the ability to increasingly earn more. They’re stuck.
Consider the alternative to your 9-to-5. You can set your own (reasonable) rates as a freelancer. Instead of collecting the same biweekly paycheck, month after month and year after year, you can collect payments throughout the week from multiple clients. As an entrepreneur, you determine your own worth.
Plus, by producing good work over time for longstanding clients, it’s reasonable to negotiate a better rate from project to project. It’s almost as if you’re being financially rewarded for your past efforts, which brings us to the next point…
2. Performance reviews do nothing to advance your career
Performance reviews are stupid and contrived. So are the organizations who use them. As a manager, you know hardly anybody will get good marks across the board, even if they’ve earned them. It just doesn’t happen because giving an employee a stellar review opens the door for said employee to seek a raise.
Instead, a performance review is primarily intended to document and highlight areas for improvement that are sure to outweigh any strengths, at least as far as a raise is concerned.
Less money for pay increases means more money for the company. As we all know, companies are people, too. And it hurts the company’s feelings when it has to pay its employees more. (Poor big company.)
So, even in rare cases of productive employees who actually do their jobs and consistently perform at a high level, it’s plausible that their performance reviews don’t accurately depict their true value to the employer.
Not being rewarded for hard work sounds like a good deal, right? Where can I sign up?
3. Keep your private health information to yourself
A background check is one thing. Even a drug test is understandable. But I’ll be damned if you think I’m going to give you my vitals.
It’s understandable that employers want to contain healthcare costs. Although, if you’re required to give your cholesterol levels to “the man,” it’s possible that someone from HR could pop up in your next dessert at the Cheesecake Factory and give you a verbal warning.
Your organization already knows your Social Security number, address, retirement plan information, social media activity, credit score and salary history. You should be able to keep your heart beats per minute top secret.
But don’t worry; here’s an idea. Just penalize employees for not participating in their company’s wellness programs. Oh, you already thought of that? Then mark it down in their performance reviews as an area for improvement and issue everyone a weekly wellness newsletter called Fatties Don’t Get Raises.
4. You’re not getting as much out of your job as you think you are
Workers are unhappy. A June 2012 survey by The Conference Board found that less than half of workers are satisfied in their jobs. A separate survey in August 2012 by Yahoo! Finance and Parade magazine uncovered that 60 percent of survey respondents wanted a career change.
Add to that increasing healthcare costs with diminishing health insurance benefits for employees. An Aon Hewitt study in October 2012 determined employees’ share of health care costs rose more than 50 percent from 2008 to 2013.
Then, consider American employees aren’t even taking all of their vacation time. A Hotwire study in November 2012 reported that most Americans finished the year with about nine days of unused vacation time.
Also, pensions aren’t even safe anymore. Retirement packages often get restructured to the detriment of retirees.
All these compounding factors frequently add up to lackluster company morale. While being your own boss presents plenty of risks like finding enough work, securing payments and facing bigger competition, at least there’s loyalty—to yourself.
So it’s time to end your relationship with big business. Leave the office, turn off the lights and wish your colleagues the best of luck in their future endeavors. It’s time for you to start something new and move on.
What other reasons do you have for becoming your own boss?
Seth J. Carr is a copywriter with a fancy website at www.sethjcarr.com. Keep an eye out for Seth’s first ebook, Post College Knowledge: How to Not Suck at Your First Real Job.