As I slowly pull into a parking spot at work, having driven over 25 miles to get to where my workday starts, I feel the sense of routine that leans more toward the side of drudgery than it does excitement. Even start-up people have those days -- when you feel like the upcoming day is more of an extension of the last workday you just got through. It happens to every person who works for a living; you get up, get ready for work, do your commute, and just get through the day. People make the assumption that just because you're at a start-up, that you have workers lounging on comfy couches, sipping lattes while they brainstorm cool ideas with whiteboards and post-it notes.
But life in our capitalist society is about making money. It's about earning dollars so that you can make a good life for yourself, whatever your definition of good might be. Nobody said that you'd ever become a millionaire, but at least if you can afford a place to live, food on the table, and some semblance of a personal life, then you must be okay.
What drives us to do what we do, day by day, differs depending on what one's ultimate goals are in life. But some of us don't really have a goal, other than to just keep living the same routine until maybe, just maybe, we get lucky and hit something big. Maybe it's a lottery ticket, maybe it's a break through at work that earns us some good stock money, or maybe we inherit a million dollars from a relative. Whatever that big break might be, there's the saying that "you'll never get rich working for somebody else." Yet that's what we all, day in and day out.
This article has little to do with business, with motivation, with the drive to be better. It is a reflection and a self-analysis of what we deal with every time we get up to go to work -- the same task of work that we watched our parents do, day in and day out, for years and years until they retired or hit something big. It makes me, and many others, wonder if it really makes any sense doing this day by day, or does it just make us lemmings to those businesses who are making their own money using our labor, our time, and our ingenuity.
What it does is to make me ask myself "Should I be working for others, or for myself?". What if we all became consultants -- little one-person businesses who negotiated with clients, did what we did best, and got paid for the work that we did instead of relying on the trickle-down payment method that businesses employ -- what they would refer to as "If we make money, then you make money."
Nobody ever said that working for yourself was easy. But then again, if it was easy then everybody would be doing it.
So for those of you who have ever thought about working for yourself, either as a consultant or as your own business -- ask yourself as you pull into the parking lot of where you will spend 8+ hours of each workday, whether what you're doing is enough of a reward for your time and your creativity. For many of you, chances are that there may be something bigger lurking in the back of your mind, that big break, that you may be holding back without even knowing it.
... Ultimately, it raises the question -- "Are you a keeper, or are you kept?"...