We've all heard the pitch before: Stop wasting your life away and working a 9-to-5 while the big man gets rich off your work. See the world. Build your wealth.
We see that same statement circulating the Internet in new ways every day, whether it's through the latest travel Instagram account, the friend who joined an MLM business or the acquaintance who just recently quit his job to "find himself." Those of us who have standard day jobs find ourselves questioning what we're doing with our lives.
Where is my utopia? Is my life fulfilling enough? One moment, you think you're living. The next moment, you're ashamed about being a working bee.
But who's to say working a 9-to-5 job isn't living? People spend so much time these days trying to "have it all." They want to find their calling, but they disregard one key value: hard work.
Now, I'm not saying those who travel full-time, join MLM companies or quit their jobs to start their own businesses are at all wrong. But you have to admit their key pitch is to discredit those who have traditional work lives. Despite the fact that you may not have a ton of freedom for eight to 10 hours of your day, there are still great lessons to learn from working for the big man:
1. You start from the bottom.
Whether you envision yourself managing a team or starting your own business, achieving that goal starts with knowing the basics behind how a business runs. What better way to learn that than from your employer?
The best way to gain trust as a leader is through credibility. That credibility is gained from experience and wisdom in your craft. There's no shame in being in an entry-level position if you always keep in mind that this title is only a stepping stone toward your goal. There is just as much to learn from the bottom as there is to learn at the top.
2. You learn about your strengths.
Perhaps you had the plan to become an analyst right after college. But three years into working, you realize you hate what you do and want to quit.
This seems to be the norm for most Millennials after college. The post-grad life that's marketed on social media isn't the life they imagined. Therefore, they feel inadequate.
That is the wrong state of mind to be in. The point is to learn from your mistakes and evolve. Learn what your weaknesses are throughout your career, and find roles that complement your strengths.
The goal is not to keep working yourself to death, but to challenge yourself in a compelling way every day. No matter what role you're put in, know that it's still work. If you find yourself in a rut, do something about it.
3. You get to network.
There is no better way to develop your career or find business opportunities than through networking. While you can attend as many local networking events as possible and make acquaintances, the best way to build your network is through the people you work with.
If people have great experiences working with you, they are more likely to refer you to their next company. Or better yet, they may employ you at their own companies when they start them.
Silicon Valley is a great example of this trend, and it's how new businesses develop every day. People refer and employ the people they trust. That old buddy of yours at his new company could be your next step toward the role you've always wanted.
4. You have a consistent stream of income.
While the idea of being your own boss and creating your own hours allows for flexibility, it is in no way scalable. This is especially the case if you have responsibilities such as college debt, family or car payments.
Having a steady income, medical benefits and stock options makes life less of a struggle. It allows you to create more opportunities for yourself, provided you manage your time wisely.
While I do believe people should take risks and follow their dreams, there are always ways to do that without having to sacrifice everything. Even Barbara Corcoran failed at 20 jobs and worked as a waitress before she turned her tiny real-estate business into a $66-million-dollar real-estate firm.
5. Nothing is set in stone.
While you may be working your 9-to-5 job now – and perhaps may still be working for the same company five years down the line – it doesn't define your future. Who's to say that working for the same company or in the same industry for the next 30 years is "not living?"
There are many goals to be achieved (as long as you work toward them) no matter where you choose to go.
Don't let other people's opinions on social media define how you live your life. Live the life you want to live.
But most of all, if you're in an MLM business, please stop messaging me. I don't want to buy a starter pack of dead sea products, organic coffee or protein powder, and I sure as hell don't want to sell it to all my friends and family.