Written by: Joanne Parcell
You’re stuck in yet another vile traffic jam, late, stressed, and worried what your bitch of a boss will say when you walk in late AGAIN. You’re working every extra hour God sends, and you don’t get any recognition, or overtime. You’ve not been trained enough, you don’t feel you get the support you deserve, plus, you have an inkling that one of your colleagues is pilfering chocolates from your drawer when your back is turned.
Your friend on the other hand, runs her own business. She seems to enjoy the Life of Riley: Swanning around from lunchtime meeting to lunchtime meeting, she can wear her casual clothes and she’s her own boss. She has loads of extra time with her kids because she works from her spare room, and it seems she’s always on Facebook…
If you’re trapped in a hateful job then being self-employed could perhaps be the answer, but there are many pros and cons of being self employed which should be considered carefully before you jack in your notice at your current place. Setting up your own business can be scary, dangerous and daring, but, if you get it right, the rewards can be incredible.
Firstly, you get the freedom to fit your job around your family life and your own private life. You can pick the kids up from school at a sensible time, pack them off to bed, and squirrel away on your personal enterprises after lights out. And if you choose to work for yourself, there’s nothing nicer than working from home. Set up a quiet, private office in a back room, or consider converting the basement or attic.
As the roads get busier, time spent in traffic jams is increasing. Working from home, or locating your business near to where you live can give you precious hours back every week. Who wants to be sat in static traffic looking out the window at a bit of soggy roadkill every Monday morning? You could be using that time to schmooze new clients, to do your accounts, or to mess around on Facebook. Oh yes – did I mention – when you’re your own boss, you will suddenly find yourself spending a lot more time on Facebook? Bliss… although, if it does get out of control, consider banning yourself from the site during working hours. You can do this by changing your password to something ridiculously complex during the day, disposing of it, and recalling it later, when it’s time to play. Indeed, I do this most days, and I find my productivity improves drastically.
The downsides to being self-employed
However, running your own business can be very expensive. Have you considered rent, insurance, computer and Internet costs? And remember those all those lovely paid holidays you got at work? Well, you can kiss goodbye to those – they will fly out the window faster than all of your former colleagues flying off on a charter flight to Tenerife, safe in the knowledge that they’re still on full pay while they neck sangria and get sunburn.
Many businesses fail in their first year, meaning you could lose a hefty investment. At times, sleepless nights, stress, and an uncertain economy will combine to make you miss your old workplace, job security and colleagues – even that Smelly Kev character that always had egg stains on his tie.
Speaking of Smelly Kev and chums, if you go self-employed and you are a sociable person, you may not enjoy working alone. A Christmas party for one is lame, no matter how much gin you drink or how many times you photocopy your own backside.
If you’re running a business where you’re responsible for the hiring and firing, consider this: What are your people skills like? Do you have what it takes to recruit the right people? What about employee law, benefits and salaries? Do you have the managerial experience and know-how to coordinate these vital parts of your new venture?
The pros to working for someone else
Great news – you can leave all that stress to your boss, plus you have a network of colleagues around to support you. You get paid holidays and sick pay, plus a regular salary, and opportunities of promotion, and let’s not forget those juicy bonuses. You also get access to a pension scheme and as many Post-its as you can fit in your handbag when the boss isn’t looking.
Cons of working for somebody else
That blasted commute, a set amount of holidays each year, paying for childcare, and the bleak reality that you are nothing but a cog in a machine.
Well, I hope that’s enlightened you. I’ve been self-employed for three years now, and it’s been the best time of my life. However, I’ve been in good health, and I have yet to fall ill or worse, fall off a step ladder and snap both my wrists. Best touch some wood…