9 to 5 and Proud!

by Rod Rodriguez

So, there’s something that’s been bothering me about my message concerning entrepreneurship and working a 9 to 5. Although no one has said anything about it, it has been bothering me personally. It’s how I’ve talked about working a 9 to 5, in that I think I’ve been a bit more disparaging of 9 to 5 work than I think I think I should be.

I want to state very clearly that I have a 9 to 5 right now. In fact, it’s more of a 6 to 6 but that’s all about being overseas. Although I am working towards being an entrepreneur I don’t really feel like one since I still depend on someone else for a check, and THAT is not bad! In fact, there is NOTHING wrong with working 9 to 5 so long as you ENJOY it! There are lots of you out there that are not only content but genuinely enjoy the work you do for a company, non-profit, or you enjoy working for anyone. There are a thousand reasons a person can wake up every morning and love going to work.

My goal in talking about entrepreneurship hasn’t been to dump all over 9 to 5’ers or to say that daily work is not a good thing. In fact, as entrepreneurs we will rely on the dedication and loyalty of hard working employees to make our businesses happen. So, I want to take a moment to clarify what I mean by “I am not my 9 to 5”.

When I think of 9 to 5 I’m talking about mind numbing work that brings no joy, no creativity, nothing but a paycheck at the end of the week. That kind of work is soul crushing and NOONE likes doing it. But here’s the thing about 9 to 5, it’s interpreted differently by everyone! For example, I hated and I mean hated working at a call center doing telephonic surveys. This easily goes down in my life as a lesson of where I NEVER want to be again in any professional capacity. On the other hand, I knew people that worked there that LOVED it! They didn’t want to interact with people face-to-face for whatever personal reasons they had, they enjoyed the chase of attaining quotas, and the pay was decent enough for them to be happy. I can’t tell that person, “hey this is stupid do something else” because for them that was there “something else”.

There are plenty of jobs out there that demand and require a whole lot more than what’s required for a call center job, those jobs pay well, advance well, and provide successful careers in those industries. I have nothing but respect for those people who find their passion in being an engineer for power plant, auto mechanics, teachers, law enforcement, military, whatever job they find joy and fulfillment in. It’s when you hate your job and keep on doing it because you don’t believe in yourself to chase your dream that it becomes a 9 to 5. Then you have a problem.

My father worked two 9 to 5 jobs when I was a kid. He worked hard doing work that’s hard to find joy in. From digging ditches to cleaning railway cars, he did it to support me and my mom. We didn’t have a whole lot of choices about how we were going to survive, but always made it work by the sweat of his brow.

Right now, some of you are doing just that for your families. You’re working that 9 to 5 not because you want to or you don’t know what you want to do with your life, but because right now your life depends on it. KEEP AT IT! DON’T GIVE UP! Be proud of your work, your sweat, and your effort. Don’t let anyone diminish your hard work and don’t for a second feel down about what you’re doing. If your scrubbing toilets, digging holes, flipping burgers, if you’re 19 years old or 59 years old, at this moment THAT is your hustle!

But again, here’s the thing…be ready. Be ready for opportunity, be ready to move, be ready to take a chance. I know it’s terrifying and you may have a family depending on you but be ready because opportunity rarely announces itself loudly. Be on the lookout for a chance to move forward, to gain skills you might need that will take you in a new direction.

I want you to break free of your 9 to 5! If that’s where you find yourself right now and you’re unhappy then I want to encourage you to change that, to find your passion and start from there. Now here’s the thing, I want you to study entrepreneurship first for the skillset you gain and then to pursue a business if that’s what you want to do! There is so much to take away from understanding and practicing entrepreneurial practices. Those are skills you can take to the right company and excel!

Today’s corporations understand the value of entrepreneurial spirit! Bring those skills to the table at your new job and you will become a valuable asset and your professional life can be fulfilling. I want to emphasize though that it has to be at the right job. Not all companies think the same or understand the value of entrepreneurial skills. You might have to shop around but you can find the right place to invest your time and effort for a company you legitimately believe in.

Be proud of your 9 to 5 if it makes you happy! Be proud of the work you’re doing in it or to get out of it! If you’re hating your job and you’re doing nothing at all to get into something else then you got a serious problem. Let’s fix it!

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