When the Traditional Office Job Sounds like Your Worst Nightmare

A wise man once said, “If you run into an asshole in the morning, you ran into an asshole. If you run into assholes all day, you’re the asshole.”
That man was Raylan Givens.
Translated into the workplace, if you look back on your employment history with bitterness and resentment, maybe the problem is you.
I mean that as a compliment. The traditional 9–5 office job doesn’t work for everybody, and it might not be working for you.
All that complaining about your early alarm clock, the rush hour traffic, the weak break room coffee, your cubicle, the dress code, your boss; it may be a tell-tale sign that you should work for yourself.
I believe people who don’t take direction well should be the ones doing the directing.
It only took me 25 years to learn this lesson.

Maybe it was me?

In college, I succumbed to the Craigslist customer service postings out of sheer desperation for extra cash. I worked at a smoothie bar, on an ice cream truck, on a pudding truck (yes, that’s a thing…only in LA), as a dog walker, as a dishwasher — you name it.
As I gradually built up my resumé, I landed more “prestigious” office jobs with a legit HR department, medical benefits, a 401k (although I still don’t quite know what that is), and a business-casual dress code.
Each job resulted in one of two outcomes: I either quit or displayed such a shitty attitude that I got fired.
No joke, on my second day as a copywriter in the marketing department of a financial company, I sobbed all the way home in my car. Why? HR had asked me to remove my lip piercing as it did not comply with the office dress code. They also “suggested” that I buy ballet flats to replace my Doc Martens. “Fuck these corporate assholes,” I thought, “Who are they to tell me what to do?! I don’t need them to succeed! I don’t need to put up with this!”
And neither do you.
One time, I confided in a friend about my shitty work situation. I told her that I hated, absolutely hated, waking up at 7 am. Her response? “That’s just the reality of the situation. I do it. We all do it.”
The way she casually accepted her fate as a slave to the man made me sick — it was the saddest thing I ever heard.

There’s a better way

Sure, it may be the more traditional or conventional route to work for someone else, but it’s not the only route to financial success.
The desire to work from home, in your sweatpants, on your own time, does not make you lazy. On the contrary, it makes you one hell of a go-getter — a dreamer. You seek to find the solution to your office woes. You seek a new way to achieve your goals.
That’s admirable, and it’s gutsy. It takes courage to branch out from the societal norm.
When I took the first steps toward self-employed life, people warned me about the lack of stability:
  • No PTO
  • No sick leave
  • No maternity/paternity leave
  • No 401k retirement plan
  • No medical/dental benefits (unless you pay for it yourself)
It’s also 100% true that your income varies on a weekly or monthly basis, sometimes due to factors that are out of your control.
But guess what? Your job at the office is just as unpredictable because someone always has the power to fire you or “let you go.” Someone always has the upper hand. Someone still ranks higher on the corporate ladder.

Unless, you know, you’re the CEO

I’ve worked as a self-employed web content creator for four years now. I have my blog, my Instagram, and a podcast on the side. Occasionally, I’ll extend my journalistic services to companies as a contract worker.
But, fair warning, it took me 11 months of preparation before I submitted my two-weeks notice at the marketing office I mentioned earlier, so don’t expect a quick turnaround.
In that time, I taught myself the fundamentals of passive income, every entrepreneur’s dream. Through two passive-income methods — Google AdSense (advertisements) and Affiliate Marketing (affiliate links in my posts) — I’m finally making income off my blog.
Whenever a viewer visits my site or clicks a link, I make money without lifting a finger. Again, this takes time, though. I’ve been running my WordPress blog since 2014 when I graduated from college, and I didn’t see a single penny until 2017. I’ve had to learn a lot about SEO, analytics, and write a hell of a lot of content.
But it’s been worth it. Being self-employed has allowed me to take control of my working life. I make money as a writer with affiliate links, website advertisements, brand partnerships/collaborations, and Medium. Most importantly of all, I’m no slave to the man anymore.

Is the self-employed life for you?

When you’re the boss, nothing can touch you. Nothing can get in the way of your paycheck.
Financial freedom is everything.
No one can stop you, no one can tell you what to do, which, believe it or not, poses as a double-edged sword. It takes the utmost self-motivation and determination to succeed as a self-employed individual.
You’re entirely on your own — does that scare or excite you?
Be honest with yourself here: are you capable of being your own boss?
  • Can you set your own deadlines?
  • Can you teach yourself a new skill? Ex: Search Engine Optimization, marketing, taxes, budgeting.
  • Can you create your own schedule (and stick to it?)
  • Can you do your best work at home or at a coffee shop?
  • Can you steer clear of distractions? Ex: your crying baby, your barking dog, your PlayStation-obsessed boyfriend, your fridge.
You’re the epitome of a one-man/one-woman/one-person show. If you answered yes to the majority of these questions, you might just have what it takes to leave traditional office life forever and be your own boss.
Despite what professors and parents told you in high school or college, you can make money, turn a profit, and live your best work-life without ever sending out a resume.
You know who’s hiring right now? You are.