On Being ‘Unemployable’

Until recently I had spent almost my entire working life doing my own thing. Starting companies, consulting for clients, writing tutorials. I had complete control over what I worked on and how I went about my day.

Enjoying that kind of freedom for five years re-wires your brain. The thought of taking a regular job made me nervous. I had convinced myself that working for yourself for an extended period of time makes you unemployable.

I gave up my place at university to start my first real business so I had the extra pressure that I didn’t have a degree. On paper, I wouldn’t look too interesting to a recruiter. I felt that I had to make things work with the business otherwise I’d be out of a job with little chance of finding a new one.

This is a feeling that I hear from other entrepreneurs too. Going your own way gives you a lot of freedom, but with that freedom comes a pressure that’s not always visible to those around you. I think it’s this pressure that leads us to think that if we don’t build the next Facebook then we’ve failed. That our peers will view us as a failure.

This is ridiculous.

Just because you’ve had a shot (or a few shots) at starting your own thing doesn’t make you unemployable. You can get a job that gives you just as much freedom and makes you just as happy (if not more so) than you are now. I know because I’ve done just that.

Being an entrepreneur doesn’t make you unemployable. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Having full control over your life teaches you how you want to live. Remember this whilst your looking for a job. It is possible to find a company where you can do great work whilst maintaining the freedoms you enjoy.


This post originally appeared on my personal blog.