In the personal finance space, the phrase 9-to-5 often gets treated as a four-letter word. Everyone seems to be looking to escape the 9 to 5, whether that be through early retirement or a leap to entrepreneurship.
I’ve been lured by that thinking as well, but through a year of mini-retirement, I’ve come to recognize and appreciate some of the things that a 9-to-5 provides.
Before the internet police come in and fill up the comment section, I’m not saying you can only get these things through a 9-to-5. There are lots of ways to get these; for some a 9-to-5 is a great way to get them.
When I was growing up in the suburbs of Minnesota, we had a high concentration of families in our neighborhood and the kids spent a lot of time hanging together in the backyards. The parents would get together, play cards, talk about parenting, and support each other when they needed help.
Our neighborhoods used to be our communities.
One of my good friends and I were talking about this recently and he remarked how much more of that community is now found through the workplace.
I certainly found this to be true. My coworkers were the people I spent the most time interacting with every day. We came to know one another on a personal basis, supporting each other and developing real friendships.
While peoples’ connections with their companies seem to be decreasing, their connections with their co-workers seem to be on the rise.
When you leave the 9-to-5 for entrepreneurship or retirement, you’ll find life is a whole lot quieter. That may sound idyllic for some, but even introverts like me need socialization for a healthy life.
I consider learning to be one of the most enjoyable parts of life.
Being in a 9-to-5 provides a great opportunity to learn from the community around you. You may have the benefit of learning from the 40-year-veteran of the industry. You may be able to develop new and creative approaches with your peer. Or you may have your perspective changed by an insightful intern.
Being around people with a diverse set of backgrounds and experiences puts you in a position to learn things you’ll have trouble doing through blog posts, tutorials, and courses. The powerful dynamic of direct personal interaction can’t be oversold.
As an entrepreneur and blogger, I’ve had the honor to reach a number of people. But there’s only so much you can accomplish as an individual or a small team. When you’re a part of a bigger team (with a bigger vision), you can take advantage of the compounding effect of diverse talents to reach a larger audience in bigger ways.
In my old career, I contributed to the development of safe and effective medical devices - ones my own family members have relied on. There’s a great feeling that comes from being a part of a business or project that makes the world around you a better place.
In the last year, I’ve worked hard to spread the word about our app, Thrifty, but have come to realize that sales and marketing isn’t my strong suit. Without that skillset, my ability to help people get their finances in order has been limited.
As I’m applying for jobs now, one of the biggest areas I’m looking at is the impact of the work I’d be doing based on the team I’d be with. Will my work be directly benefiting my friends and family? Will I be helping to enable others who do great work? Or will I be pouring my time and energy into developing luxuries and splurges?
I think you can guess where I want to head :)
9-to-5 Has Its Benefits
While the good ol’ “day job” gets a bad rap, it’s important to remember that there are a lot of non-financial benefits of working a standard job.
As you consider your future career and what you want your retirement to look like, keep these items in mind. If they are important to you, make sure to find a way ahead of time to ensure you can still achieve them no matter what path you take.