A few days ago, I had an interesting conversation with a friend. Let’s call him Paul.
Paul told me he decided to quit his job. He enjoyed his job, his colleagues and took pride in what he did. Paul was enjoying work so much that he was giving all of his time and energy to the company.
So why did he decide to quit? To start with, he was feeling he wasn’t being recognized fairly for his hard work. His raise wasn’t proportional to his effort. His influence was limited as well. Besides that, he was even more upset because he realized that he didn’t make such a difference to the company in the grand scheme of things. He realized everybody is replaceable, regardless of dedication.
Paul was expecting me to tell him that the company was unfair to him and he should have gotten a big raise or promotion.
Instead, I told him he shouldn’t dedicate energy and time to the company outside his working hours. He should work for himself in his free time. “Boss makes a dollar, I make a dime, that’s why I work for me in my free time”, I said.
From the company perspective, it would be wonderful if all employees chose to dedicate their free time to the company itself all the time. However, from the employees’ perspective, that’s not fair and it’s unlikely that companies will reward proportionally all these dedicated people.
Paul was speechless for a while. In the past 15 years he has been working full time, he never thought this way.
But I love my job
Paul told me how much he loves his job. Giving all his time and energy to his job is just the way he is and he couldn’t imagine any other option. He would feel bad otherwise.
Well, first of all, we are all changing. Are you the same person you were 5 years ago? Or even 1 year ago? Hopefully, you’ve been learning from your life experiences, you’ve been influenced by people around you, by new habits.
Furthermore, you shouldn’t set the expectation that you will be working on company stuff during your time off. Unless, of course, your incentives are aligned with that behavior. Are your incentives those of a founder? Or are your incentives aligned with all that extra time you are putting on? Do you own meaningful equity in the business you work on?.
Unless you have repetitive work where you need to do the same thing every single time without thinking, it can be counterproductive to do nothing else apart from dedicating to your job. By doing other things for yourself, you will learn new skills, you will have a mind shift and you are likely to be happier.
You might even find a way to make extra cash outside your job while doing something else you enjoy and perhaps even achieve financial independence earlier. You might continue loving your job and find other things you also love doing.
Also, there might be a limit on how much reward you can get for your hard work. There might be budget limitations, fairness between employees, etc.
Finally, although we are all unique, we are almost all replaceable in a business context.
If you love your job, do your very best while you are working. Work smartly, learn as much as possible, do what needs to be done, get involved in the projects with high impact and build your connections. Whatever you do, no matter how small a task is, do your best.
And always remember, the boss makes a dollar, I make a dime, that’s why I work for ME in my free time.
Work for yourself in your free time
After a long chat, Paul agreed he should change his perspective and should start working for himself in his free time. Paul was so used to only work for his boss that he had no idea where to start. We discussed a simple framework that can help: explore, invest in yourself, define a goal and make it a habit.
1 – Explore
Explore the options you have around you for working for yourself. The Internet makes our life so much easier. There are lots of options, the hard part is to choose one that is appealing to you and that goes inline with your goal.
2 – Invest in yourself
Investing in yourself is one of the most rewarding activities. Learning a new skill is a great achievement which can be useful not only for a project you want to do for yourself, but also in a future job.
3 – Define a goal
While working for yourself, it is good to have a goal you are working towards. The goal will help you keep motivated. Take small steps by defining simple and achievable goals. With a goal, you want to challenge yourself, but not make it so impossible that you quickly end up giving up. Also to keep motivation high, remember to yourself regarding your day to day job – boss makes a dollar, I make a dime.
4 – Make it a new habit
If working for yourself is something new, start by sticking with a regular and realistic schedule. As you get used to it and feel ready, you can increase the time you dedicate to working for yourself.
Make cash in your free time
If you work for yourself, it is rewarding to earn cash while you do it. You might have an initial period where you are investing in learning, but sooner or later, you can make a profit. Below you can find a few ideas.
- Sell the stuff you don’t need anymore
- Build an audience of like-minded people online
- Start a blog
- Run a consultancy on the side
- Write a book and sell it to your audience
- Invest in ETFs
- Invest in stocks
- Real Estate
- Peer-to-Peer Lending
- Crypto Interest Accounts
- Equity Crowdfunding
- Private Equity Funds
- Treasury Securities
- Certificates of Deposit
- Agriculture and Farmland
- Income Annuities
- Online Businesses
Do your best while you are working for your boss. But once your working hours finish, turn off from work. If you have energy and time to work, work for yourself. If you feel tempted to work for your boss, just think to yourself “boss makes a dollar, I make a dime”.