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So you think you have to work 40 hours per week—think again!
Today I want to explore what I call the 9-to-5 conspiracy. I am not the first one to talk about this by any means. We are going to explore whether working a 40 hour week job is a legitimate use of your time.
Nothing but fear keeps you at your 9-5 job. There is a better way of living.
But what I do matters
How many hours per work day are you actually working in ways that are beneficial to the company? Why do we keep working hard and being serious, when studies clearly show that people who are creative and are having fun get better results than people that work hard and are too serious?
It’s a myth that being serious, putting ourselves under pressure and at risk, and stressing out gets things done. That is actually a resistance to getting things done.
Why is it that we have to go to the office, and spend hours per day commuting, wasting hours of sitting in traffic, when we can clearly work from home in nearly all professions (and this is obvious to anybody now due to COVID)? Why do we have employment contracts that bind you to a company when freelancing and contracting not only works even better but protects you from redundancy?
But I am getting paid well
If you are a classic 9-5 employee, you are getting paid very little to produce a lot. The majority of what you produce is taken by the company as profits.
Let’s say you get paid $20 per hour, it’s a good chance that you are worth $100-200 per hour, but you are only getting a fraction of that percentage for yourself. The company will claim that they invented the systems that you use as rationale for taking most of your money.
You have just enough time off that you do not crash and burn before you’re elderly. Just enough vacations, just enough weekends to sustain this productivity. This kind of set up is not giving you enough time to ask: is this really the best way to spend my life? The employer might want you to ask that question, but only after you are 65. They want you to be on your deathbed thinking: fuck, I can’t believe I did that for a job, what a waste of life. They don’t want you to be doing it while you are at the job, right? So they don’t give you enough time off to think about that, quite just yet.
But I am safe as an employee
Employment contracts do not protect you from getting fired unexpectedly. They do not protect you from redundancy. They do not protect you from the company crashing down. So they’re clearly not a protective document and yet we treat them as such; like we need this for our protection, when really, it’s chains binding us to one company. It’s putting all our eggs in one basket incomewise. We need this specific company to do well or we are fucked. That’s what an employment contract is.
Whereas freelancing goes: well, that company sucks, I am moving to another one. Problem solved. And employees can’t do that. Employee contracts often say: you cannot have a conflict of interest. You can’t work for another similar company at the same time. They actually prevent you from risk management with your income.
The reason most employees don’t even entertain the idea of starting their own thing is that they believe that it’s too risky. Why do you believe that? Why do you believe that it’s safer to be an employee than to own your own business? You heard all those rumors, right? About how 90% of businesses run straight to the fucking ground.
There’s some truth to that. Probably because the number one cause is that they don’t manage their finances properly. It’s not that the business wasn’t good; it’s that the financial management was bad.
So, let’s say you manage finances well, or you learn to become good at it. I’ve got a course on managing your finances successfully that you can get done in a month, and after that you will be able to manage them safely. So why would you still be an employee after that? Financial intelligence changes all the statistics of likelihood of success.
You can’t be made redundant when you own your own business. You can’t be fired when you own your own business. Those risks do not exist as an entrepreneur. And if you can manage your finances, you can know how to always be profitable, which is just mathematics. It does not actually matter how much you are selling (to a certain level), it more matters how much you spend–which is your choice.
Why do you think that employment is safer? Because you think that the company cares about you. Right? You think that if times are tough for the company, it will protect its employees. Or you work for some company that you think times will never be tough. You sure about that?
But I am building a safe future for myself
Many of us have a limiting belief: that we have to wait until the end until we retire in order to enjoy life. Why? Why do we work until we are 65 and retire at our weakest stage of life, when we are too feeble and tired and mentally run down to actually enjoy our free time? Why do we keep following that model when we have all the rest of our life to enjoy things? Why do we wait until the end when we can’t do it anymore? What a ridiculous thing to think. And not true.
Tim Ferriss talks about this in The 4h work week, this concept of the “new rich”: people who take small retirements of 4 months every other year. That is possible, and you get to enjoy your retirement rather than spending most of it waiting for your next doctor’s appointment.
But everyone else is doing it
I think that number one limiting belief that keeps us in this little conspiracy is: everyone else is doing it. I can’t think of a belief system that has hurt the individual more than to look around and go: “What’s everyone else doing? That must be the right thing to do.”
When I started to actually getting proper education in business after I’d gotten started, from people who were doing well in my industry, one of the first things I learned is–if everyone else is doing it, go in the other direction. Because the way everyone does it is the least effective. That is a human trait, and it’s especially prevalent in business.
Ironically, a lot of he big businesses you see like telecoms, Amazon, the various big subscription businesses and car companies etc., are actually quite inefficient. They do things in a way that is gluttonous. They waste a lot of money and time, but because they are so profitable, they don’t have to worry about it yet.
So often, when people start a business, they try to imitate those big companies without realizing that those big companies are actually kind of doing it wrong but they are just surviving on the name and their legacy and their profits.
And so, small businesses that are surviving well are doing it right. They don’t do what everyone else is doing.
But the company cares about me
One of the classic limiting beliefs here is this idea that the company actually cares about you.
One thing that I want you to ask yourself is–what is a “company”? Really, when you say: my company cares about mee, what are you talking about?
I’ll tell you what a company is: a piece of paper.
Any company and all corporations follow these rules:
- the legal set of rules that they have to follow
- the rules required to make the most profits.
And neither of those rules incorporate compassion for humanity. I am not saying that is a bad thing. What I am saying is: If you are thinking that your company cares about you, you are a fucking idiot.
Sorry to say, I was one. For a long time. Your boss might be really caring towards you, but he is not the company. The company is above him. Bigger than him. If the company decides that you have to go, the boss cannot protect you from the company.
The company is stronger than any one person in it, including the person who invented the company. My own company could send me to prison if I make critical financial errors!
So, why do you think it cares about you as an employee? It does not give a fuck about you. All it cares about is your ability to enable it to live by the rules. To make sure it lives by the legal rules and to make a profit. Do you contribute to the profit? Because if the company catches you not doing that, you are in trouble.
Now, some people fly under the radar: they are very useless in the company, but the company does not notice them. But when the company gets squeezed for money, it will notice you. You can’t fly under the radar forever.
I should point out that any government organizations aren’t companies designed towards profit, but they do have their own kind of profit. It’s not financial, it’s approval.
You need to know that the company is waiting until it’s profit drops and then it’s going to look at you and go: are you worth keeping? And that is going to be a financial decision. It’s not going to be a human decision. It’s not going to be a compassionate decision. It’s not going to be like: I like this guy, he has got a family to feed, or his mum is dying of cancer and needs some support right now.
It’s going to be like: right now, how much is he worth, compared to how much he costs? And if that number is not good enough, you are out. That’s it. Regardless of your circumstances, there’s no compassion for you there. Very few companies have employees at the top, like boards of directors or whomever, who are willing to break the rules of capitalism to support their employees.
So what is the alternative?
Here’s the tragedy. Almost everyone could be a consultant, or a freelancer, or a contractor, and not an employee. You could even do the exact same work you are doing right now, but you would not be beholden to any one company.
You would be your own boss. You are choosing to work with each company for a specific project. You can do it like that, which many many people around the world do. You could even have small groups–teams of 3-5 but that would be working together because they are enjoying the work. Trades often work like this. I used to work as a landscaper, it was me, my brother and our boss. But we were like a trio. We just did these jobs together.
Ultimately, we could each be an individual in charge of our own destiny, without being an employee. Employment is an unnecessary legal burden that disables people and keeps them afraid.
I want to ask you some questions: Even if you continue doing your current job, what would it look like if you were self-employed? What is the self-employed version of what you do well?
Sometimes it’s very obvious. Let’s say you work for a cleaning company, you just become the cleaning company yourself. You are the one providing the value, yet you are not the one getting paid. Steal the clients on strike out on your own!
What would your interests look like as something that you are paid to do?
And I think this is where we will finish, because this is the big question, and one of the biggest limiting beliefs that keep people in this 9-5 conspiracy is that what they enjoy doing cannot be made profitable, either because it’s too hard or because they would stop enjoying it. Both of these are absolute horseshit beliefs.
These are the questions that I want you to ask yourself. They are certainly the questions that I asked myself. Because the biggest question is: why do we keep doing 9-5 work hour weeks in general when the data, the science clearly shows us that this is not the optimal way to live? It’s not even a good way to live. It’s a miserable way to live. And it’s not even good for companies. So, why do we do it?
I’ve switched; I was an employee for much of my life, and then I switched to running my own business, and I had zero business training or experience.
For the curious ones: a realistic alternative
Enterpreneurship is still fucking hard, right? It’s still hard work.
But there are some key differences that mean I will never go back to being an employee unless I am in some predicament that forces me to.
Here are some of the differences.
One is, I do what I feel like at any given time. I don’t have set hours, I don’t really even have a set structure, I have a sort-of to-do list, but I decide what and when I do those things. I basically get to choose. Now that does not mean I do whatever is pleasurable all the time; some of my work is hard, and difficult, some of it is even boring. I still have to do my taxes, and I don’t enjoy doing that.
But I get to decide when I do it, and I get to decide what I do and what I delegate and pay someone else to do, and I get to decide the priorities. I get to carefully figure out what actually matters in my job, and I never have to do more than that.
When I was an employee, I had to do stuff that I knew was pointless. It’s one of the main reasons I quit my previous job: half my workweek was taken up with this admin bullshit stuff that I knew did not contribute. These days I don’t and I won’t do it. You don’t get that as an employee. Any employee reading this, some part of your job, you know you are forced to do and it feels pointless. Are you doing this because your manager and your company made you do it?
Now there’s a bit that people actually are scared of when they are self-employed: I have to find my own clients.
I have to find my own work. I have to understand and be careful with money. I can’t be reckless with my spending, I have to manage my company’s budget as well as my own personal. I have to decide how much I pay myself and I have to change that amount, depending on how well the business is doing.
And I don’t have the work that just lands in my lap. I go find it and create it myself. Nearly all employees don’t have to do that bit. They don’t have to hunt for their food. They just eat what they are given.
I have to manage my taxes actively. Very few employees manage their own taxes. Very few don’t have their taxes just automatically taken out of their paycheck.
I only work about 4 hours a day on average. 4 hours a day for a full time income that provides for my wife and child and myself (and they don’t work). 4hr a day with no commute, I work from home. I used to work 9 hours per day with a 1-2hr commute. So I am working less than half the hours, and 75% of the time at least I do the stuff I enjoy. I would do most of my work for free.
I don’t really have a concept of weekends or vacations. I will travel any time I want, but I will still have clients while I travel. I have a lot of time during the day, so, I have a little vacation every day, you might say.
I enjoy my work. I would not quit for money. You give me a million dollars, I may have a little holiday, just to celebrate, but then I will be back into coaching. How many of you would keep working after a million dollar paycheck?
How do I get out of my limiting beliefs and 9-5 job?
You don’t have time to think how to get out of that. There are many ways out, but first you need time to think. You need time to study the ideas that they don’t teach you at school, you need time to talk to mentors. You need lots of hours available to become the person who is going to escape that slavery.
Just like the slaves of old. The main thing that the slaves did not have and the slave-owners did have: education. The slaves were never given enough time or resources to THINK. That’s what the chains were really made of. It’s the mindlessness that kept them there, and what I am saying is: you are still mindless!
If you don’t have enough time to think: how do I make enough money to support me and my family by only working 2hr per day? then you do not have enough time to think. I guarantee you there are a lot of answers to that question, and you do not need a particular genius or a set of skills to be able to do it.
The only thing you really need to know is maths when it comes to finances. Successful people know how to manage the spreadsheet, and the budget on it, to make sure that the numbers always end up in the black (not red). All you need to know is how to manage numbers and money and you can manage a business. A year’s worth of training probably, and you have everything you need to know to run a business.
You don’t have to go to university, you don’t need a big loan. Most of my successful entrepreneur friends are qualified in exactly jack shit. They don’t even have an MBA. You don’t need it.
If any of you want support, ideas, guidance, resources, on how to make the switch from being a slave to being free, I can give you heaps of stuff for free–coz this shit is not actually that complicated.
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