Who Do You Work For?

Who Do You Work For?

Many of us would love to work for ourselves but such a step is unlikely, if not entirely impossible.  The problem with working for ourselves isn’t that we cannot do it, it is that our perspective on what it means to be our own boss is slightly skewed.  What if I told you that you could work for yourself without even quitting your job?

That is exactly what I am going to tell you!  You can work for yourself without even quitting your job! How?  It is all about modifying your perspective on what it means to work for yourself.  When we think of working for ourselves, we think about working from home in our underwear or creating a passive income so that we can lounge on the beach while we make bank.

Dreams are nice, but for most people what I described above will only ever be a dream.  Not because it is impossible but because there are limiting factors in our lives (mostly self-imposed, but that is for another time).  Most of us will never realize such a reality, yet, we can still work for ourselves every single day of our lives.

What does it mean, then, to work for yourself if not to become an entrepreneur?  Again, it is all about perspective.  We need to ask ourselves only one simple question:

“Who do I work for?”

Once we answer this question honestly we can begin to ask ourselves how to change.

Most people will answer this question with the name of the company which employs them and while this is not entirely false, I would say that it is not a good answer.  The company that signs your paycheck simply provides you with a source of income and benefits.  You trade your time and energy in exchange for monetary reimbursement but is that really the same as working for them?

Maybe you are confused, and you should be.  We have been raised to believe that because we are employed by a company we work for them.  This is just not true.  The relationship is simply an arrangement between two parties which mutually benefit from one another.

Working for someone really depends on where that money is going, rather than how you earn it. Exchange of services for monetary reimbursement might equate to work but “doing work” and “working for” are not synonymous.  So, ask yourself again,

“Who do I work for?”

Now that we are able to see that though we are employed by a company and they pay us for our services, we are not working for them. Beyond an exchange of services, the relationship ceases.  The answer depends on where your money goes.  Who are you paying?

Is your paycheck going to Visa, Fanny Mae and countless other corporations which you are indebted to?  This is who you work for. These companies are your boss.   And all this time you have been venting your frustrations about the wrong people!

It is time to fire your bosses and begin working for yourself.

It can start today.  Create a budget, spend less than you earn and live within your means.  Adopt a lifestyle of frugality and begin paying down your debts as fast as possible and stop adding new debt to the pile.  Reign in your spending habits and stop buying stuff you don’t need.

Adopting these few simple principles can allow you to begin working for yourself sooner than you might think and from this point on, you can walk into work knowing that you are working for yourself, that you are your own boss and that your relationship with your employer is simply an exchange of services.

There is great power in working for yourself.  You have control over your destiny. You no longer need to rely on your employer to provide a paycheck.  You have the freedom to seek other opportunities.

The day you become debt-free is the day when “ME!” becomes the answer to the question, “Who do I work for?”

Photo by Andres Rueda

Steven

This article was written by Steven, author of Hundred Goals, a blog about achieving your goals while managing your finances. Steven writes about traveling the world while completing a life list of 100+ goals including skydiving and becoming debt free.

Latest posts by Steven (see all)

13 Comments

  1. This is one of the first really powerful questions I discovered many years ago, when I went into personal development mode. I still use it and I think it’s a very good tool for realizing your own responsibility for your own job and life. Instead of being a victim.

    Cheers,

    Eduard

    Reply
  2. This is excellent and your point is often missed in most articles…when we take responsibility for how we handle our money everyone will be a lot happier at work.

    The less money we need to live on the less we have to work. It’s all about choices.

    Reply
  3. Hmmm. I agree that when we owe money, we work for them – for our credit card companies, etc. However, choosing to contract rather than expand our lives, to pare down our wants until we live a tiny little life in which only our basic needs are expressed … I don’t agree with that. By constantly saying “I can do without” we are diminishing our authentic self-expression. I don’t know about everyone else, but I don’t want to create the the life I need. I am busy creating the life I want.

    I’ve had to live frugally, and I’ve had more than enough money to pay for what I want. Honestly, frugality as a lifestyle kind of sucks!

    Paying debt down is important. But I also think that increasing income is more important. And self-employment is the only situation in which we actually get to control our income.

    I do work from home, in my pajamas (right now, as a matter of fact). I have my own business and it is awesome. I have a healthy six-figure income. And I know that I am the only limitation to how much money I can make. I’m just saying … it’s totally possible. Unless we don’t believe it is, in which case, we’ll be right.

    Blessings,
    Andrea

    Reply
  4. That’s the spirit, sack your boss and get on with your life I say! :-)

    Reply
  5. I wish I had learned this earlier in my life! I worked for Ms. GottaHaveIt for many years. Ms. GottaHaveIt told me all of things I needed to keep up with ThoseWhoAlreadyHaveIt, and she made me spend more than I made! It took my realizing that things don’t bring any long-lasting contentment before I discovered what a lousy boss I had!

    Great post! Thank you.

    Reply
  6. i believe that it is what you feel inside. if you feel like you are your own boss then you will be. it’s what you tell yourself that will make a difference in the end..

    Reply
  7. There are few moments as satisfying for me as when I’m hard at work and thoughts of donations I give arise. I get to have the wonderful thought of, “Right now I’m working so those girls in the developing world can go to school. Right now I’m working so that money flows where I think it needs to flow.” That is working for myself, and it is working for others too.

    More directly to your point, as a coach, I talk to a lot of people who want to take risks, follow their dreams, start a business, etc. but are not willing to think creatively about how to budget and spend differently to make this possible. I believe in every fiber of my being that we need to cultivate a culture that is less attached to having more stuff, less depending on that stuff for a sense of security. Let’s “trade down” our stuff in order to trade up our quality of life.

    Tara

    Reply
  8. Nice post. Although, I feel it’s better to be your own boss in a physical sense, changing your view of how you work is important. You are the boss of your time! :)

    Reply
  9. What an interesting way to look at this issue. The more possessions we try to acquire, or the grander the lifestyle try to achieve, the more we get locked into working for someone else (and I agree that at the moment I spend a lot of my time working for the bank!). However, if we can rid ourselves of some debt and other financial commitments, we get more freedom to make choices about how we spend our time, and who we work for. I don’t aspire to a wealthy lifestyle, I don’t want a big car, or a boat, or an expensive holiday. I want a safe car and a comfortable home for my family, and I enjoy going to the local beach with my kids as much as any overseas holiday. Now I need to work towards a point where I can afford those things on my own terms!

    Reply
  10. A lifestyle of frugality and paying down your debts is so important–one way my husband and I chose to do it was to cease leasing a second vehicle six months ago. Instead, we chose to invest a couple of thousand dollars in an older vehicle, then kept right on living as though those bills (gas, lease, insurance, etc) for the second leased vehicle still existed. We also replaced the other leased vehicle, with one we own for the same monthly payment. After six months of doing this, we have over $6k in the bank, which we would not have otherwise. We can now put that to use, to lessen the list of those we are wroking for. Very good post!

    Reply
  11. Great article. Believe me, having known some people who are business owners, it can be a lot of back breaking work. I like to think of entrepeneurship as a continuum: you can be an entrepeneur for your employer, if you’re self-employed, or if you are a business owner. You are always going to be reporting to someone, whether it be your customers, your employees, or your employer.

    And I love what you said about taking charge of the budget, and making sure that the money flows your way, instead of to some credit card company.

    Reply
  12. Very nice and empowering. I think people should do what they want to do or at least what they like, or at least they should search for it. Some people enjoy working for themselves, others for others, it all can be good.

    Reply
  13. I’ve always loved the idea of tihnking of being in charge of “Richard Inc” and I can allocate my resources. Money is just a big game that we’re all deciding to play. It becomes fun when you think of it this way.

    Reply

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