Copyright © Yomi Adegboye All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without prior written permission of the author. Published: May 2009 First Revision: February 2010 By: Yomi Adegboye T: +234 809 968 6446 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: www.alireta.com/ Dedication This book is dedicated to my father, Tunji R. Adegboye. He stayed faithfully at his job year after year, refusing to be unfaithful to his employers. He was – and still is - a straight-shooter. This book is dedicated also to the many other faithful employees worldwide who hold their jobs with integrity and single-mindedness, knowing that they have made a sound choice, and refusing to be swayed by the sands of time. Introduction There seems to be a conspiracy to dismiss employment as a venture not worth taking in many quarters. Sadly, those who promote these ideas are those who should know better – motivational speakers. It seems that employment must be bashed at every opportunity in order to promote entrepreneurship. But is this the right approach? In this concise book, I make a case for employment, and the means of doing this will be to show that much of what is said about employment by motivational speakers are vain, untrue and not to be given serious attention. The myths have gone unchallenged for too long. In this book, I pull no punches, so you read it at your own risk. Disclaimer In this book, certain individuals are named with references to their writings. This is for reference purposes only as is expected in literary works that must be taken seriously. Names are mentioned not with the intention to run anyone down. That I disagree with their positions on this subject is not the same as hating them. I have no personal grievances with anyone whose writings are so quoted in this book. Myth One: No man can create wealth as an employee One writer, Professor Prince Famous Izedonmi, in his article titled No Servant Is Truly Great (DeAim Issue 4, 2008, page 10) made the following statement: “If the truth be told, you will never be able to create wealth as an employee only”. It is sad that this is coming from someone of his status. But all around us are employees – diligent employees - who have stayed focused on their jobs only all through their careers, and created wealth for themselves. As I write, I know of a man who worked in the food industry as an employee for decades. When others pushed him towards starting something by the side, he refused. He knew that starting something by the side would lead to divided loyalty (unfaithfulness to his employers). This man stayed faithful on his job, retired a millionaire, and today lives in his own house. He owns at least two more buildings, and has considerable wealth at his disposal. I know of others. Truth be told, many of those creating wealth around us everyday are employees – from the cleaner to the top management executives of large corporations. They are diligent at their jobs, spend wisely, invest dutifully, and are steadily building their nest eggs. If you are currently an employee, do not let yourself be lied to in anyway that you cannot create wealth. Wealth creation has little to do with whether or not you are an employee. It has to do with making intelligent decisions about your spending and investments. If you choose to move from being an employee to becoming self-employed or an entrepreneur, just be sure to do it with your head screwed on and your eyes open. All around us, the majority of self-employed people and entrepreneurs are struggling just as much as the majority of employees. As a matter of fact, I submit to you that if you cannot create wealth as an employee, there is no way you will be able to create wealth as an entrepreneur or by working for yourself. Myth Two: An employee is a servant This is partly true, in the sense that the employee works for his or her employer. But the statement is often made to suggest that the employer or entrepreneur is not in a position of servanthood either. But let us stop and examine this intelligently: if the employee is a servant, the entrepreneur is as much a servant as his employees. He just has a different boss: his customers or clients. And if his company has shareholders apart from himself, the entrepreneur is also a servant to his shareholders. The employee is dependent on his employer for livelihood. The employer is dependent on his clients and customers for his. If truth be told, both employees and employers are servants. They both serve one person or the other. Surely, that is easy to see. As such, whether you opt for employment or entrepreneurship, you are a servant to someone, one way or the other. Myth Three: Being an entrepreneur is more fulfilling than being an employee Nothing could be further from the truth. History is replete with men and women who left entrepreneurship to become upwardly mobile employees. They found entrepreneurship frustrating or found employment more rewarding. Fulfilment has nothing to do with being an employee or not. Rather, it has to do with being engaged with what you love doing in a conducive environment. Simple. Myth Four: Employment is modified slavery A public speaker, Mr. Deolu Akinyemi, in his article titled, Your Job Won’t Make You Free (DeoluAkinyemi.com, May 6, 2009), had this to say about jobs: I tried hard to find in the Bible and trace to the context of a Job, the best I could find were slaves and hired hands. I stumbled with fresh eyes on a scripture that says -”the hand of the diligent shall bear rule, but the lazy man shall be given to forced labour” This means that all men must engage in work, but the difference in the work of the one bearing rule, and the one under forced labour, is who chose the work for them. The diligent chose their own work, but the lazy had work bestowed on them. The entire concept of the birthing of jobs, is to empower people but keep them dependent so that they keep coming back. But a look at the passage in question (Proverbs 12: 24) reveals that the Bible only highlights the advantages of being diligent over being slothful. It does not address entrepreneurship versus employment. Basically, it says the slothful person will end up having no choice. Employment is NOT forced labour. Slavery is. Choice is involved in employment. My wife chose which job offers to consider and which to drop. What this writer has done with Scriptures is misleading in his attempt to backup an insipid point. One ready example is Jacob who worked for Laban for 7 years (The Bible , Genesis 29). Jacob was a free man (even a wealthy man by reason of his father’s status), not a slave. The Bible is replete with accounts of people who worked for and with other people for one form of payment or the other. Even an atheist can go through the Bible and see that for himself. Plain and simply put, it is a lie that a job is modified slavery. Being employed is NOT slavery, modified or classical. Being employed by a slave-driving, brutish, greedy, money-loving, inconsiderate employer is slavery. Where it exists, the problem of modified slavery is on the part of the employer, not the employee. Slave masters used to be prosecuted and vilified. Now they are hailed as achievers and role models in business. And the hailing is often done by the very people who submit the kind of myths I address in this book. It is my opinion that many of our speakers and writers, if they had any conscience, ought to spend more time correcting and counseling certain employers of labour who act more like slave-drivers than employers. You see, the flip-side of this fallacy that employment is modified slavery is that those being prepared for entrepreneurship go into it with this mindset that their employees are some sort of slaves to them. And so the evil cycle goes on – promoted and encouraged by the speakers and trainers who pass off the idea, be it unwittingly or deliberately. Put differently, the gentlemen and women who teach such things as “employment is modified slavery” are the agents nurturing the bad attitude of certain employers and entrepreneurs. They plant the seed; they nurture it; and they help those employers consolidate on it. Myth Five: Employment limits your future The same person behind the submission of myth number four wrote: The whole concept of a Job is that you exchange your time for money. You show up everyday, seeing anything that you want to make better and addressing it. 24hrs and that seems to be all you have to exchange for cash. Does it now mean that once you stop actively working you also stop earning? It is neither intelligent nor reasonable for anyone to only earn when he or she is working. A job limits your time, limits your ability to be involved in other winning ideas, and ultimately limits your future. He says that the whole concept of a job is that you exchange your time for money. But how is that significantly different from what the employer or entrepreneur does? He also exchanges his time for money. Yes, he may also have invested money into the business, but he is just as much an investor of time as the employee. The writer himself is an employer and I daresay that he exchanges his time for money every day. Yes; a job limits employees’ time in certain ways. As an employee, your working hours belong to your employer, and you should honour that. Yes; a job limits an employee’s ability to be involved in other ideas (winning or losing), but that does not in any way limit the employee’s future. The virtues of focus and dedication are values that are still honoured among certain men, and employees have the priviledge of being able to stay focused and faithful to their chosen careers and jobs. That is not limiting. That is exhilarating and fulfilling, and has been proven to produce good results. Employment does not limit your future; bad attitudes to work and spending do. Myth Six: Being an entrepreneur is better than being employed Here’s another statement from the same article by Mr. Akinyemi that needs to be intelligently scrutinized. I am concerned about the second half of this quote: The skills you need to be an employee and the ones required for you to set up a system are not the same. Many people simply kid and deceive themselves about exactly what they are doing and how they intend to get to use what they are doing as a bridge to what they want. You are not the first person to project 5-10yrs from today, but like all of them, they suddenly wake up and it’s 20yrs! The paycheck has become so crucial to survival and style, resignation is no longer in view. Your children have also come into the picture, and you tell those who care to listen how you cannot afford to take such risks anymore. You have a big title and a car, but you are one month away from becoming bankrupt. Your life now hangs on the free moving pendulum of “shall I, shall I not.” This statement pre-supposes or suggests that somehow being an entrepreneur is better than being an employee. It is not so much a question as which is better. It is a question of which is more fulfilling to the individual, and each individual alone can determine that. Also, the issue of finding oneself broke or bankrupt after retirement has nothing to do with one being an employee or an employer. It has to do with the individual’s approach to spending money, and to investing (savings inclusive). Both employees and employers WILL find themselves bankrupt if they keep trying to keep up with the Joneses instead of making sensible decisions about their income and future. Myth Seven: Employment is on the same side as fear Making this as a blanket statement is untenable. Yes; some people opt for employment out of fear, but it simply is not true that a job is on the same side as fear. There are individuals too who opt for entrepreneurship out of fear. One such fear is the fear of authority figures – the fear of submitting to others. The fear of working for someone else. As such, they opt to do their own thing. Another is the fear of failure, which is a common phenomenon among both entrepreneurs and employees alike. Entrepreneurship can be on the same side as fear, just as employment CAN be. Employment is not necesarilly on the same side as fear. Myth Eight: Employment is for lazy people In the same article, Your Job Won’t Make You Free (DeoluAkinyemi.com, May 6, 2009), Mr. Deolu Akinyemi stated further: A job on the other hand is a contractual agreement between a company and its employees to pay their salaries, performance or not. Job is pretty easy, work is not. Many job hunters are likely to run away from real work. No employer takes on a staff on the basis that the staff gets a salary regardless of performance, so it beats me why someone would submit a statement such as this. Non-performing employees are shown the way out. Truth: A job is a contractual agreement between a company and its employees to pay their salaries DEPENDING ON THEIR PERFORMANCE. Every employer has a moral and legal right to terminate the employment of a non-performing staff. The idea that job is pretty easy but work is not begs the question. A job pre-supposes work in every sense of it. And lastly, it is just as true that many job hunters are likely to run away from real work as it is that many opting for entrepreneurship will too. Just look at the army of people flocking into entrepreneurship because they have been lied to about making millions easily and quickly, and it is clear that many people in entrepreneurship are there too because of sheer laziness. Myth Nine: Getting out of employment gets you out of the rat race For years, people have been told that the way to get out of the rat race is to get out of employment and go start their own businesses. If truth be told, when a man drops employment for entrepreneurship, he simply leaves one rat race for another. The average entrepreneur works longer and more intense hours than the average employee. In addition, he works more odd hours too. All around us are entrepreneurs who are running up and down, trying to make ends meet – pay operational expenses, as well as pay staff salaries at the end of the month. More often than not, the entrepreneur actually has more things chasing him and more things he is chasing than the employee. He is just as much in the rat race as the employee. It is a tough calling for employees. It is just that it is a tough calling for entrepreneurs in a different way. Become a Fulfilled and Outstanding Employee There is much to be proud of as an employee, especially if you are good at what you do and you are diligent and faithful. There are great rewards for being single-minded about what you do. Yes; you may later end up as an entrepreneur. But then also, you may not. Who knows? Either way, you must understand first that there is NOTHING wrong with being an employee. Nothing. It is a noble calling to work as part of a team. While faithful employees may be scarce, you can choose to be one. Be devoted and faithful to your present employers. Don’t go running your own projects on the side, except your employment contract specifically states that you may. Running your own business by the side means that you are not giving your job full attention and your job will suffer one way or the other. 1. Live within your means. Don’t listen to those who are always mentioning that they live in So-and-so high brow area, or who keep dropping the fact that they drive a certain make of luxury car. You don’t want to be listening to people whose sense of worth and importance is tied to their material possessions. You don’t want to become as insecure as they are. Close your ears to them AND live within your means. 2. Living within your means, as stated above, means that you will be able to invest. This includes saving, as this is investment at the most basic level. There is no guarantee on your investments, but investing is the wise thing to do. Be wise. Investing is not work. It is something you can and should start doing now in your own personal time (don’t use your employer’s time for this). 3. Improve on your skills. No; I did not say, Get more paper qualifications. While good, paper qualifications in themselves mean nothing if they do not reflect your current level of actual skills. I know many MBA holders who can’t manage a business team of two people. I know certified webmasters who don’t know how to carry out even basic FTP operations. Improve your skills. Your skills. Then get the required paper certifications to back those skills up. 4. Don’t worry about climbing the ladder to the top. Worry about doing your job well. Worry about becoming a reference point for diligent and skillful service. Then roll with the waves of life. Retirement: Life after Employment Fast-forward to the end of your career. If you have diligently put in your time and effort into your employment, and you have diligently saved and invested, there should be little to be afraid of. Besides your savings, pension and returns on your investments, the options facing you include: Entrepreneurship: If you have the qualities (and not everyone does), you can setup your own business and grow it. Now you have undivided attention and can put in the skills and experience gained over the years to work for yourself. Freelancing: Without setting up any business, if you had been single-minded about your area of specialty during your period of employment, after your retirement you are likely to have attained the stature of an institution in that field. Simply be available for freelance opportunities, as there are organizations and institutions that will require your skills and experience. This could include public speaking, and consulting. Writing: Again, your experience and knowledge can be translated into another channel of income via the writing and publishing of books. Believe it or not, you are at your best after retirement. At this stage, you have a wealth of skills, knowledge, and wisdom that the younger genius does not possess, regardless of how good he is. Why waste all that? Write, even if your English is not quite good. Publishers have professional editors whose job it is to put your material into proper grammar. Retirement can be fun, if you prepare ahead for it. Start now. Conclusion If you are an employee now, or you are considering employment, you are not necessarily stupid, lazy, or making a mistake. Employment has a rich heritage for you to build on. Some of the smartest and greatest people that ever lived were employees. Employees built every great company you know of. Be proud of your calling and your chosen job. Remember, you have a choice. Employment may be for you, and it may not be. Just be sure to sit down and think. Filter out the hype. Certainly discard the myths. As you can see from this book, a lot of things that have come to be generally accepted as fact in the motivational speaking world especially are fables. The grass is not necessarily greener on the other side. If you do choose employment, stop making excuses for unfaithfulness to your employer, and stop making excuses for shabby performance on the job. Choose to be an outstanding employee. And if at any time, you are convinced that entrepreneurship is for you, exit the employment arena gracefully and with clean records. As an entrepreneur, you will now be in a position to appreciate the value of your employees – especially the faithful and diligent ones. And you will be better prepared to treat them well and reward them appropriately. The Author Yomi Adegboye is one of Nigeria's foremost mobile data and mobile web specialists, a public speaker and an entrepreneur. In 2004 he started DomainStandard Networks Ventures as a simple partnership with a little capital and has grown it into a formidable web hosting business. Following on this success, he promoted the incorporation of a bigger and financially stronger company, Alireta Nigeria Limited, transferring the existing web business of DomainStandard Networks to it for a majority holding in the company. Today, he is Chairman/CEO of Alireta Nigeria Limited, a multi-service organisation covering Web Development and Hosting, Mobile and Mobility, Graphics, and Training. Alireta is a leading provider of shared, reseller, and dedicated web hosting in Nigeria. Hundreds of Nigerian websites trust Alireta for their web hosting needs and Alireta's clients include some of the highest profile/traffic Nigerian websites. Yomi is available to speak to your staff, and help them cultivate confidence for their roles, as well as develop the qualities of outstanding employees. He can be reached at email@example.com.