Editor’s Note: This guest post from Lorie Gonzales originally appeared on www.familyfriendlywork.org on July 13th.
Have you ever found yourself sitting at your desk daydreaming, thinking about how great it would be to work for yourself?
Or maybe you’ve been frantically trying to finish a client’s project in your home office when all of a sudden your computer breaks down and there is no one to call for help. Wouldn’t it be nice to work in an office where computer problems are handled by the IT staff?
Let’s face it – we all want the best of both worlds: the flexibility of working for yourself and the support system that comes from working in a large company.
Well, I have had the good fortune to experience both of these scenarios. For many years I worked in corporate America with all the good and bad that that entails. Now I work for myself and it’s great. But it’s not a panacea. There are some downsides. Whether you are considering working for yourself or someone else, there are few things to think about.
One of the best things about working for yourself is that you are the boss!
You get to make all the decisions. What do you want to do, sell, provide? What do you want to charge? Who do you want to work with? Who do you want to work for you, if anyone?
You don’t have to answer to anyone. You can focus on your passion. You can do things the way you want.
You also can work when you want and not work when you don’t want. You can arrange your work schedule to meet your family’s needs. If you need to go to a parent teacher conference, take a sick child to the doctor, or even if you want to take time to have lunch with a friend, no problem. You decide how much and when you want to work.
However, by being the boss not only do you get to do the thing you love the most, you also get to do everything else – the marketing, the selling, the invoicing and collecting. The list goes on and on. . . . .
And while you can do things the way you want, you might not always know if what you are doing is the most effective and the best way to promote your business.
Those flexible work hours, while wonderful to have, also have some down sides, especially if you are working from a home office. It is very easy to let household chores and family obligations get in the way of focusing on business. It’s really easy to think, “I’ll just take a minute and do a load of laundry or put the dishes in the dishwasher,” but pretty soon the day is half over before you have started work.
On the other hand, you can also find yourself working incredibly long hours – late at night, early in the morning, on the weekends.
One of the best things about not working for yourself is that you are not the boss!
You don’t have to be in charge of everything. Someone else is responsible for deciding the direction of the company, handling personnel issues and making certain things are running smoothly.
You can focus on the job you were hired to do and let others handle everything else. If you are in accounting, you don’t have to worry about new product development, marketing, sales, personnel, social media campaigns, and on and on and on. . . . .
When you work for someone else, you might not have the flexibility to decide when you want to work but once you have finished your work day, you can head for home and leave your work at the office.
When working for someone else, you have a predictable income which is not something that can always be guaranteed when working for yourself. If you are lucky, you might also have some additional benefits: health insurance, 401K.
There is no one absolutely right choice. We all have to decide what works best for us.
Lorie Gonzales is the founder and president of Mursener & Associates, Inc., a consulting firm specializing business professionalism and communications. They provide training in all areas of professional business conduct, presentation skills, multigenerational and gender communications and team development.
Lorie is a certified communications consultant and etiquette professional. Prior to founding Mursener & Associates, she spent over 20 years in the communications industry with such notable companies as AT&T, Lucent Technologies and AVAYA.
Ms. Gonzales is involved in many professional and civic organizations through out the Salt Lake Area.