I love entrepreneurial people. In fact, I wish I had more gumption. I really love the idea of leaving behind the safety of a forty hour work week and stepping out into the unknown. But while I respect my fellow Americans who risk and sacrifice so much in order to fulfill their dreams, being a full time entrepreneur just isn’t in the cards for me right now. And you know what, I’m ok with that. Although it has caught a lot of flack for years now, working for The Man isn’t a terrible thing. There are some great financial perks to working for someone else. Here are the top 5 reasons working for the Man really isn’t all that bad.
Free Money – I’m not referring to your paycheck. That’s hard earned. I’m talking about the 401k match that 78% of employers offer to their employees. The most common method of matching, which I have at my work, is 50% of the first 6%. That means that if you toss 6% of your check into a retirement account, over the long term you’ll be letting the equivalent of 9% of your income work for you for that eventual day you finally leave behind the nine to five. I’m no dummy. I never pass up on free money.
Steady Paycheck – Working for the Man provides some stability in regards to income. You don’t have to wonder if you’ll be able to eat next week, which is kind of cool. I like eating. Especially anything pork related, mmmm bacon – but I digress. A lot of my friends that have their own businesses (or blogs) are doing exactly what they want to in life, which is awesome, but the uncertainty that they face financially can be hard. I’m pretty happy with my steady paycheck that the Man provides me every two weeks.
Vacation Time – Nine out of ten full time American workers get twelve days of paid vacation. Unfortunately most of us don’t even use all of them! On the other hand, entrepreneurs often take even less vacation because of the difficulty in leaving their “baby” behind. If I take a week off to go to Ireland things don’t fall apart. If a full time blogger or sole proprietor of a start-up business takes a week off everything comes screeching to a halt and havoc ensues. I’m certainly not judging. I understand how hard, but also rewarding entrepreneurship can be. I just also know that I really like being able to unplug and take a couple of vacation weeks every year.
Health Insurance – Roughly 55% of Americans receive their healthcare insurance through their employer. Most employers put a lot of their own money towards employee plans, discounting greatly (usually over ¾) what you would pay on the open market. Even though I don’t find employer provided health insurance to be the most efficient if we’re talking policy, in the real world it’s nice to have discounted coverage thanks to the Man. My family and I are thankful for that.
Tax Help – Working for yourself has tax consequences. I wish this weren’t so. It’s a burden on our society’s creators and innovators. But, if you work for yourself you’ll be paying 7.65% more in social security tax than I do. The Man covers my extra 7.65%. I’ll be sure to thank Him for that when I see Him!
Some companies, like Craigslist, offer perks that are above and beyond your run of the mill employer offering. My particular employer brought back their pension offering in 2007. How cool is that!? Those sorts of things really help to retain employees and keep them loyal and motivated. Trust me, it works.
I’m not trying to convince you that you should abandon your hopes and dreams of working for yourself or launching that amazing product that could make you rich. In fact, I’ve got a couple of side gigs because I don’t love the idea of putting all of my income eggs into one basket. But for those of you looking out the window imagining what it would be like to start your own biz, just know that it has it’s own set of challenges.
Does this make you appreciate working for the man a little bit more? If you are an entrepreneur, how hard is it to do without these 5 perks of working for the man?
[Photos courtesy of B, Jim, urban data, and 401(k)]
20 Comment responses
The advantages when I was employed: steady salary, benefits. The advantages of being self-employed: 3-4 times bigger earnings than my salary (I don’t think that anyone would actually hire me in my country for the same position I work as a freelancer and pay me this much), vacation when I want, for how long I want (let’s say I left the country for 6 or even 8 month and didn’t care – actually was able to do some work as a web designer, so I also had money coming in), I can raise my child myself and not let her with the nanny, I save A LOT by not driving to work each day, eating out etc.
I do miss the ‘stability’ of the every-month income, but the money I make is enough to live way better and save a lot, which I didn’t quite do back then.
Entrepreneurship is not for anyone, but it works for me
Wow. 3-4 times bigger earnings. If that’s the case then these 5 things really don’t matter to you! Congrats on being so successful as an entrepreneur.
I think this is a great reminder that the “grass isn’t always greener.” People like to complain about their job satisfaction all the time, but they neglect to acknowledge the benefits said job provides. As a new entrepreneur and former employee of “the man” I can say that I would not have made this move if my husband still didn’t work for the man and get these benefits. Unless you have a VERY successful business model, it is difficult to “afford” losing these benefits to go out on your own.
I totally agree Shannon. Thanks for that perspective! Sounds like you and your husband are getting the best of both worlds.
I just switched to self-employment, and I can say that these are all things that I’m sad to leave behind. Oh well, I am excited for my new life!
I’m pretty sure you’ll do well Michelle. You’ve got mad skills! I would be totally interested to read about your first few months and how self employment has worked out for you.
Ahhh. Entrepreneurship. A subject that is near and dear to my heart. I am, what you might call, mega-passionate about entrepreneurship. It courses through my veins like a life blood. I became an entrepreneur when I was 17 years old (19 years ago) and I haven’t looked back since.
Having been an entrepreneur essentially my entire working life, my paradigm towards these five things is a little differently. I don’t view being an entrepreneur as having to do without certain things, but rather having opportunities and blessings available that wouldn’t be available if I worked for someone else.
All that being said, here are my thoughts from my personal paradigm on each of the five points:
1. Being an entrepreneur opens up retirement opportunities to an individual that didn’t exist before, such as a SEP and Roth Solo 401(k) that allow massive amounts of money to be put away for retirement.
2. I’ve always looked at being an employee as riskier than being an entrepreneur. I know, that sounds crazy, and it very well might be. But, that’s just how I think. I’ve always felt like if I were an employee, my paycheck from my employer certainly wouldn’t be guaranteed and could stop at any moment with no notice whatsoever. As the owner, I’ve always felt like I could at least see ahead and identify when slow periods were coming and plan accordingly. As an employee, I’m not sure if my boss would give me that kind of heads up regarding a decrease or elimination of my pay.
3. Time with my family and friends is very important to me so I make sure I have plenty of time away from the business. I take at least a total of a month off each year. I am VERY thankful my particular business model allows that.
4. I have an HSA and really like it.
5. While business owners do have to pay the additional self-employed tax, we also have a myriad of additional tax benefits available to us that aren’t available to others such as certain tax deductions and incentives. These additional tax benefits oftentimes far outweigh the self-employed tax we have to pay, resulting in a lower overall tax bill than had we earned the same amount as an employee.
Thanks for your thoughts Brian. Those are great reasons to enjoy self employment. And I’m glad you’re getting that time off. It’s rare for most entrepreneurs.
Sure working for the man has it’s perks, however, nothing beats the freedom of being an Entrepreneur. A steady paycheck would be nice, however, I have worked in commission only jobs for the man where I didn’t even have that. Viva la Entrepreneur!
That’s the spirit Deacon. I love my entrepreneur friends! I think one day I’ll end up there. For now, I do like the perks that working for the man offers. I’ll also say that philosophically I think our culture could do a better job of promoting entrepreneurship. The fact that striking it out on your own makes it harder to get affordable healthcare and you also basically pay a tax penalty hampers that entrepreneurial spirit in many folks. I would love to see the playing field become more level.
I couldn’t agree more with you in respect to leveling the playing field. Until then, I will just do my part and continue to help a ton of people with their finances.
I am employed by “the man” and I will say that I greatly appreciate the dependability of my job. Working in an industry that can be very chaotic (graphic design) I know a lot of people that have a tough time finding steady work. I have had thoughts of freelancing and it’s a possibility for the future but for now I more than appreciate my benefits, paid time off and consistent paycheck. Especially since my better half is self-employed – we can use a little stability in our lives!
Emily, I’ve found that freelancing in addition to a regular job, at least until you really build up something super successful, is the way to go. I do think that it is the perfect blend in a marriage for one person to be self employed and for the other to be working for the Man. It just works out well benefit-wise.
No doubt that stepping out and being the Captain of your own ship has some appeal. However, as you note, there are some good reasons to continue reporting to the salt mine, punching the clock, and working for the man. The steady, dependable paycheck, and fair amount of security (of course the business could always fail or otherwise not be able to make payroll) are probably the top reasons. Also, not everyone can be an entrepreneur. Who would they hire if everyone else is also running their own enterprise?
It certainly does James. I’m thinking that might happen for me some day…maybe. But for now I’m enjoying those sweet perks. And good point, the entrepreneur folks need help!
So, I’m late to the commenting party on this one but hey, at least I showed up. I blame beer.
My husband is like you. He prefers to work for the man, and for many of the reasons you listed. He also happens to love his job and it affords him both professional and networking opportunities that he wouldn’t otherwise have had. Should he choose to move to consulting or some other entrepreneurial (it takes me about 6 minutes to spell that word correctly, FYI) endeavor, he’ll have those already established contacts rather than having to start from scratch. To me, that’s worth dealing with some of the crap that goes along with having a boss.
As for me, I couldn’t handle working for someone else, particularly in the state government jobs that I had. I need a more creative outlet than that. I don’t know that owning a business is the smartest thing I’ve ever done but at least I get to work in my pajamas and not deal with politics every day.
Don’t ever blame beer! Jk.
I feel like I’m in the middle on this one. I like doing side things and being creative. I also get to be creative in my day job. I just wanted to write a post about the benefits of working full time for someone else. Maybe I’ll write a post about the benefits of doing your own thing soon – or, am I smelling a guest post from Jana!? That could be awesome!
Hi Joel. I have enjoyed this and other articles at your site. However, the multiple pop-ups have detracted from my experience. At least 5 or 6 times during a single session, I was asked to provide my e-mail address. I am not feeling the need for additional mail at this time, and I chose to decline each and every time. It was not the easiest of tasks as the X (at least on my phone) is way off to the side, and I had to move the pop-up in order to close it. Asking me many multiple times does not increase my interest in participating. Again, I enjoyed the articles, and I will likely return. I might even decide to sign-up for e-mails, if I am not pestered too much. Maybe you could fix this?