Last Sunday, May 17 2014, marks the fourth year of my working years as an employee. Whew, time flies so fast!
I started being part of the labor force year 2010, shortly after my graduation. I finished an engineering degree back in college , but interestingly have landed on the IT industry right in my first job. The shift is in itself one another story I’d share in future, but at this point, I’d like to highlight some general observations I had on being in an active employment in relation to the topic of this blog – finances.
Obviously, being an employee brings with itself lots of advantages and perks – primarily job/income security (which many says is now becoming a myth), limited responsibility and leverage on other company benefits ( thanks HR folks!) among others.
These attractions makes the majority of people seek jobs plus considering the fact that our society and education system is currently designed to generate employees more than employers (business-owners and investors).
But to help you see what you might be missing or just to give you more options, I will instead highlight what I see as its limitations.
LIMITATIONS OF EMPLOYMENT
1. First, employment is a VERY limited income source.
Hey, don’t confuse this limitation as to the SOURCE with the AMOUNT of income coming from the source. One may be earning really BIG amount every month but that doesn’t change the fact that it remains LIMITED.
How to prove this limitation?
Just try skipping going to work for a month and look at your next paycheck (or wait for your angry boss/client to come up to you) and you’ll realize how limited it is in terms of its financial rewards.
The reality is that most employment in its naked form is tantamount to active work, and that work HEAVILY relies on the worker which is YOU. Pero sabi nga ng lolo ko, “kung ang makina nga bumibigay, tayo pang tao”. So when that YOU stop working, the money stops coming in too.
This limitation becomes most evident come our retirement years when all our body cells, despite its mitochondrial capacity, will no longer have the power to finish the work it used to accomplish and thus produce the financial fruits it used to bear.
Will your retirement pay be enough to handle this scenario? Or will you (unfairly) let your children serve as your retirement plan?
2.Second, employment is not in your FULL control.
Though there may be career plan discussions laid down with your management you can use to track your dream career, the design of employment ultimately rests on the goals of the company which boils down to generating profits for its shareholders. In other words, shareholders first before employees. (Thank God we’re investors!)
And no one knows how your boss, the company, the industry you’re in or the world’s economy will respond to every possible change that will eventually affect your job security. Not to mention the office politics which some people simply cannot bear that easily puts one faithful employee’s hard work & greats results down the sink for some unfair decisions of a higher up.
One Sunday service preacher I know once shared to us his very sad story where he was unfairly kicked out of his company where he has worked for several decades. It even came to a point when he needed to raise the case to a government agency only to lose the case.
Will you let others design your life? Or will you take charge and have better grip on your life?
3. Employment is SHORT-lived – it dies with you.
One of the beauties of a good business venture is that it can be passed on and even improved through generations in families. This could also be the reason why many Chinese families go to the path of making their family businesses into corporation.
But in the employment, the results of the effort you make, no matter how big, is simply not transferable.
You don’t say to your kid, “My child, I’ve already climbed our corporate ladder so no need for you to do it”. Whatever you produced and achieved as a hard-working employee is going to be contained only for you and your employer and will end that way.
Will you work just for yourself? Or will you expand yourself to expand your cause?
4. Finally, it’s not a WINNING trade.
Employment on one hand, can be seen as trade of time for money. So for people who value TIME more than MONEY, this won’t seem to be a winning trade.
The cost of trading may be more expensive depending on the sacrifices made by the person.
In fact, for many, they may trade their
TIME + COMMUTE + PATIENCE for MONEY;
while for OFWs not living with their family, they may be trading their
TIME + PATIENCE + QUALITY TIME WITH FAMILY for MONEY.
At this point, we may need to go back to the basic question:
“What’s the ultimate reason why I want to earn money?”
The above four come from my own realizations. You may have more to add and want to share below.
It’s more than the money
Hey, don’t get this post wrong. Employment is much much more than money.
Being an employee is a good and very decent way of living. We all know that there are lots of things more important than the money attached when it comes to employment (primarily the value-adding component to society) and thus money alone should never be the basis whether to stay in the employment track or not.
In my first few years of my employment, I came across this book “Your First Job” by Nelson Dy. It’s a very good book that gives a positive view of work by presenting timeless principles to move you from simply surviving in the marketplace to attaining meaningful professional success. If you see yourself for employment until your golden years, grab that book quick (or you can borrow mine) and be fired up in your way.
But whatever way you choose, whether going to be your own boss or not, fulfilling your self-defined purpose should remain to be your major factor in deciding for your life. By all means, give your best and be smart at your work that will pay the bills and put the food on the table. But don’t just chase after the wind – chase after what you believe will give meaning to your life and blessing to the world. Most of the people who were able able to achieve that added that “money will then follow.”
Hope this lights up a bulb in your head.
Happy investing (at your work),
oMeng Tawid 🙂
PS: One giant in the world of investments says:
Not everybody’s going to be an entrepreneur, but everybody should be financially literate. Financial literacy is a base requirement like spelling or reading or something of the sort that everybody should acquire at any early age. The financial habits you develop when you are young are going to go with you into your adulthood. But you can’t be an entrepreneur unless you’re financially literate. – Warren Buffett
It’s TIME to INCREASE your financial literacy. Attend a free Personal Finance Literacy Seminar for Filipinos and learn more about PROPER personal finance. Click here for details.
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PS3:Here’s a related good read on this topic – The Only Way to be Really Really Rich. Share your comments below!