The 9-5 Lifestyle – Pros vs Cons
The 9-5 lifestyle is something we’ve all thought about. A lot of us are coming to that age where we’re just finishing up in college, and we’re desperately searching for what we’re ‘meant to do’ in life. No one wants to end up doing something they don’t enjoy, but we all want to make sure we have enough money to live on our own, and to live a normal life.
I recently finished up in college and graduated from UCD with a business degree in September of last year. I had no plans at all when I finished. But I wasn’t thinking that far ahead. The last few months of college is mainly just panicking about exam week and consuming as much information as you can. You’re not focusing on what you’re going to do with the piece of paper when you finish.
But I passed my exams. I got the piece of paper. And then I spent the whole Summer trying to decide on what to do next. Keep working part-time and chill out for a bit? Start emailing every company I know begging for a job before my parents kick me out? Take out a loan and travel for a year?
I was clueless.
Lucky enough, a friend of mine who was working for a recruiting company got in touch with me informing me of an availability in a company called YourSmileDirect. I would be looking at a consultative sales role with a strong focus on customer experience, converting leads and closing business over the phone.
Once again, I was panicking. Am I able to do this? Is this what I want to do? Am I going to hate it?
But I said fuck it, sign me up. I went for an interview and I got the job. I was signing up for the 9-5 life.
I’m now 6 months in and I have learned more in these short months than in 3 years studying Commerce. There are a lot of great things that I never really really saw coming about this kind of lifestyle. But there are some things that have spooked the shit out of me.
Let’s be honest here, it’s comfortable. Let’s take an office job for example, you’re chilling in a comfy seat for the whole day. You can chat away to your colleagues in most cases and it’d generally a simple job. There’s nothing that pushes you to do anything more than the bare minimum. This 9-5 lifestyle is perfect for some of us.
The 9-5 lifestyle puts you in a certain state of mind. Your body gets used to waking up at the same every morning. You get out of bed, you shower, you have your morning coffee and you go to work. Life is great because you get home at the same time every evening, and you’re happy because you have the whole weekend to do whatever you want. You have a routine.
A lot of us who work this 9-5 lifestyle are in an office job and know exactly what needs to be done to keep our bosses happy. We have the same monthly targets/ deadlines and once they’re hit/ reached, we are safe. It’s a comfortable life. We are free to budget and plan for the future, confident that we have a regular pay cheque coming in.
It’s a predictable life. It ties in with the whole life ladder scenario. You go to school, you finish college, you get a job, you find love and live happily ever after. You can be safe in the knowledge that you ‘have your life together’. Your mates are happy and your family are delighted that you haven’t messed your life up.
No matter what stage you are at in the 9-5 lifestyle, you’ve always got a carrot. What’s a carrot you say? A carrot is the promise of a raise or promotion. It’s what keeps you working without getting frustrated at your position in the company. Be honest with yourself. Your boss has promised that ‘there are positions available within this company for those who do well’. That is your carrot. And even once you catch it, oh you know there will always be another carrot dangling there waiting for you.
The 9-5 lifestyle is so damn popular because it is ‘normal’. It’s what you’ve been destined to do. Everyone else is doing it. Are you going to be that weirdo who tried to be an ‘entrepreneur’ or goes abroad to teach English to little Colombian children. This life is normal, and isn’t that all that anyone really wants?
Doing What You Love
The 9-5 lifestyle can be perfect for some of us. If you have found yourself in an occupation where you wake up and look forward to going in, you love your coworkers and you are happy with your salary, then you have made it haven’t you? Not many of us are this lucky. The lifestyle can be gruelling for some, but you know what they say, find a job you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life again.
We’ve all got our bad habits. We all get lazy. We all procrastinate. The 9-5 lifestyle gives us that structure that gives our life meaning. We develop some great habits and can achieve some really great success. A structured life can be a life of freedom.
Working For Someone Else
Let’s be honest here. If you jump into this 9-5 lifestyle, you are signing up to be someone’s bitch. No matter how nice and friendly your boss is, you are their bitch. Now this doesn’t have to be a problem. For some os us, we need someone else to tell us what to do or else we get nothing else done. But this is tough to accept for some of us.
While it’s great to have the routine in your life, some 9-5 jobs can be disgustingly boring. Especially if you are doing exactly the same thing every singe day. This can get soul-destroying. Some of us love the conveniency, others, those of us who get bored real quick, the 9-5 lifestyle can be far from ideal.
Now this is my opinion so don’t get offended. The 9-5 lifestyle is a death-cycle. You are signing up to a 40-year program. Recognise this. So many of us leave college and start twitching and itching to jump in to a job. Don’t rush this. Once you start this type of lifestyle, it’s so hard to leave it. It’s a dangerous level of comfort.
The rat-race is defined as a way of life in which people are caught up in a fiercely competitive struggle for wealth or power. Once you get a taste of some money, you get hungry. You get a promotion early on and you think you’re a baller. You’re living the good life. But this is the danger, you’re just as stuck as everyone else. You can burn yourself out and get addicted to work this way. It is a vicious circle chasing a promotion/ raise for the duration of your adult life.
On one hand, normality can be the greatest thing in the world. Maybe you were the weird kid in school and all you ever wanted was to be one of the normal people. But on the other hand, maybe ‘normal’ scares you. For some of us, being normal is the curse, being just another white sheep is the biggest fear.
The 9-5 lifestyle has a lot less risk than the typical entrepreneur lifestyle. You have guaranteed income and there are loads of other people in the same boat as you. That said, a lot of your potential is going to fall. You may end up just being another shirt and tie in an office full of shirts and ties. You may just blend in to the crowd in the eyes of your bosses and be stuck, forever wondering what life might be like if you just went for it. Financial freedom is much harder to achieve.
Doing What You Hate
The 9-5 lifestyle can be great, it can be unbelievable if you are doing what you love everyday. But. If you are doing the opposite. If you are doing what you hate, this life can fuck you up. Check your mental health. If you are unhappy, then do yourself a favour and quit now. It’s not and never will be worth it to suffer for someone else’s financial gain.
How To Get Out?
There are an infinite amount of ways to get out of the 9-5 lifestyle. You can start your own business, you can literally do whatever you want. I’m not the best person to be giving advice on this kind of thing because while I’ve only been doing it for the last 6 months, I’m still one of those people stuck in the 9-5 lifestyle.
I want to stress that for some of us, it’s a necessary part of life. Especially when young, if you ever want to build a sustainable life for yourself as an entrepreneur, you’re going to need to work for someone else beforehand. At the end of the day, no matter which way you choose to exit the rat-race, you will only end up back where you started unless your alternative is sustainable.
My advice? Find your passion. Whatever you do in yourspare time, whatever content you consume, monetise it. Love sports? start writing about it. Play video games? Bitch, start a stream on Twitch. You have no excuse to work for someone else. Work on your own terms
What Is Entrepreneurship?
Being an ‘entrepreneur‘ is assumed to be the alternative to the 9-5 lifestyle. But what does it mean to be one? Entrepreneurship is almost a cliche, associated with millionaires and baller lifestyles who do 4-hour work weeks and make €100k a week tax-free. Not all entrepreneurs are millionaires. Being one just means you live life on your own terms. You choose your own hours and decide your weekly workload.
Anyone can become an entrepreneur today if they choose to leave the 9-5 lifestyle. You are simply choosing to become a person who sets up a business or businesses, taking on financial risks in the hope of profit. You are accepting responsibility for the success or failure of yourself.
Give Yourself Permission
Take the risk. Realistically, if you are under the age of 40 and aren’t in a disgusting amount of debt, just do it. Start a business and figure it out as you go along. Let’s say you have €10k to start, buy some t-shirts and design some prints. Make a Facebook page and spend some cash on Facebook Ads. See what happens.
You will always be able to get another job. Always. But you will never be able to get back those lost years.
What To Do After College
Take your damn time. I finished college and straight away I was being asked what my ‘plan’ for life was. As if a 21-year old in this day and age has any clue about what they’re going to do in life. Understand that there’s no rush here. We are all young as fuck and shouldn’t have to answer to anyone.
I still have no idea what I’m doing.
SJB & GQ