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Entrepreneurship

Why Full-Time 9 to 5 Jobs are Risky

Earlier today, I published this tweet which resonated with many people.

As of now, it has 101 likes and 13 retweets so I thought I’d expand more on its content via email.

The point my tweet tried to make is that relying on one source of income is risky.

Since most full-time jobs involve a single employer — it’s a one single point of failure — meaning, you just need your employer to fire you to lose your income.

With a business, you usually have more than one customer and in the majority of cases: tens, hundreds, thousands, and even millions of customers who are your revenue sources.

Depending on the kind and size of business, you’ll need all or the majority of your customers to ‘fire you’ for you to lose your income.

On the surface, 9 to 5 jobs seem to be more stable and less risky than businesses or even being a freelancer but that’s not really true.

It’s an illusion. You are relying on one employer who can fire or replace you at anytime, for any reason (specially in the U.S), and you often don’t see it coming.

A business that is lean, profitable, and has low operating expenses is way less riskier than any full-time job you can find.

And if your customers are going to fire you — you will see that coming way ahead of time.

Obviously, it’s much harder to build a business than to get a full-time job, but riskier, it is not.

In order to fail, you’ll have to make a series of bad decisions and provide low or zero value to your customers.

With a full-time job, you might be fired due to external circumstances (such as COVID-19) or internal that are beyond your control (the company downsizing, a new manager getting hired..etc).

You get my point.

The takeaway I’d like for you to consider is not to put all of your eggs in one basket.

If you currently have a full-time job, get a side hustle.

If you currently have a business, provide more value and don’t f#%k up.

Remember, successful people are not risk takers.

They are risk mitigators.

p.s: if you liked this post, please consider forwarding it to a friend or follow me on twitter 🙂

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By Adam Bader

Adam Bader is a product manager, entrepreneur, and technologist. He is currently a Senior Product Manager at Discovery, inc.

Previously, Adam built products at beIN SPORTS, Real Madrid, generation Adidas, and other companies.

One reply on “Why Full-Time 9 to 5 Jobs are Risky”

In the title you say “full-time 9 to 5” and then in the body you switch to talking about “relying on one source of income”. Those aren’t the same thing at all.

Having a full-time job simply means you have one large primary source of income which has been reliable so far. (Clearly you haven’t been fired from it yet, or else you wouldn’t still have it!) I don’t think I know anyone with a “9 to 5” who doesn’t have any other sources of income at all. People aren’t putting “all their eggs in one basket”.

Besides, owning a single business is exactly as risky as having a single employer. No matter how many satisfied customers you have, one critical issue with that business (like COVID-19!) can screw up the whole thing. I know lots of people who own their own businesses, and had all their customers cancel for the entire next year. That’s even tougher than being fired from your job because you can’t just go find one replacement and be back where you were. The business is just gone.

(Also, you may have a hard time getting unemployment insurance. The further away from “standard employee at one standard job” you are, the harder it is to navigate and be approved for benefits.)

You’re right that everyone needs to diversify. Owning one small business is not diversification.

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