Is keeping a job less risky than starting your own business?


A lot of people seem to prefer looking for and keeping a job to being an entrepreneur. Jobs are seen as more ‘secure’ and starting a business is seen as being very risky. In this post, I seek to show that ‘job security’ is a myth that has been thrown around for too long and is overrated.

Why is job security overrated?

Why is job security over rated I believe we have been fed this theory since childhood so much that we accept it without critiquing it and we, in turn, feed it to our children and everyone around us.

Growing up, most of us are told to get good grades in school so that we can find good jobs in big companies and rise through the corporate ladder. Such a thinking reflects the importance placed on job security by our parents.

Humans, by their very nature, do not like taking responsibility and this makes keeping a job more acceptable than being an entrepreneur.

You see, being an entrepreneur means taking responsibility for the outcome of the business. The buck stops with you as an entrepreneur and you can’t play the blame game. Keeping a job, on the other hand, allows one to blame management, co-workers and others when things go wrong. Keeping a job is also preferred because there is ‘certainty’ around it. For example, when you are an employee, you expect a paycheck at the end of the month.

Obviously, this is not the case when you run your own business because you have no one to turn to for your ‘salary’ and this frightens a lot of people.

Another reason may be that human beings are naturally resistant to change.

As a result, most people would prefer to stick with one job for a long time in the name of job security than risking looking for a new job with new co-workers, new surroundings etc.

Other factors like a shrinking job market make it difficult to get new jobs also result in job security being overrated.

Evidence of job security being overrated

There is a lot of evidence As keeping a job less risky than starting your own business?

that a lot of people consider keeping a job as less risky. The most obvious one is the number of people who are always complaining about their jobs but never take any action to start their own businesses or actively search for another job.

The thinking behind this is; ‘I hate this job, but I would rather keep it because it’s safer than trying to start my own business’. Further evidence can also be seen in the sheer numbers of people who enrol for further education to protect jobs which they hate in the first place.

You probably know of someone who is always complaining about their job but studying towards or has completed a certificate, or post-graduate diploma etc, to secure that same job. Such people prefer to pay $1500 or more per year to pursue that further education knowing fully well that after attaining that qualification they will not get a raise higher than $50/month.

The motive behind pursuing that further qualification is clear, they are not attracted by the financial rewards but they seek the ‘job security’ that comes with getting the qualification.

I believe this thinking is also behind the reason why a lot of people continue to enrol in tertiary institutions for degrees and diplomas when there is clear evidence that the job market for such qualifications is shrinking and their chances of being employed are getting slimmer by the day.

If job security was not overrated would such people not choose to commit their limited financial resources towards equipping themselves with skills that would allow them to start their own businesses?

Why is starting your own business safer than keeping a job

I don’t know if people have really taken the time to dissect what it means to be an employee.

The truth is when you choose to be an employee you will be putting your family’s financial security in the hands of an employer who would not have asked to take on the responsibility in the first place. You may not realise it, but if you are worker you are at the mercy of your employer i.e. you depend on the kindness of your employer to get by and such kindness may disappear in a whim. The sad truth is that most employers do not care about employees.

Your employer defines your lifestyle by the salary they give you and they also control your time (by telling you what time to be at work and what time you can be with your family). You will also be relying on your employer’s sound business decisions to put a meal on your table! In a country like Zimbabwe, where most entrepreneurs seem to be behind technology, thats a risky situation to be in.

However, when you start your own venture, you will be taking the reins yourself. It is true that there is no guaranteed success when you become an entrepreneur but the payoff for finding success as an entrepreneur is much greater than that of being a good employee. You see, when your business becomes successful you will have higher chances of financial security. On the other hand, when you become a successful employee you may only get promotions and awards but your financial well-being will still be in the hands of your employer.

Keeping a job is also getting riskier as technology replaces many jobs once performed by humans. Rising academic inflation means that companies can easily hire a fresh graduate and pay him less than a seasoned employee (remember companies, for all intents and purposes, only care about the bottom line).

Freelancing is also gaining popularity and replacing traditional cubicle-bound jobs. Companies are preferring freelancers because they do not get to pay them for stuff like medical aid and pensions which they have to pay their employees.

All these factors show that ‘job security’ is an illusion and starting your own business is the safer way to go in the long run. Granted, most of us have to look for a job to get started in life and that’s ok.

However, jobs should be used as a springboard to entrepreneurship.Jobs should be the means and not the end goal. If we can inculcate this mindset into our children then we can raise an entrepreneurially minded generation and in my opinion that way better than the current employee oriented mindset. In the same vein though, I do agree that entrepreneurship is not for everyone but either way the disadvantages of being an employee still apply. So, what’s your take?

What do you see as being riskier between being an entrepreneur and being an employee? You can also read my other article titled Why Having An Online Business is Better Than Working A Day Job Selling Time vs Selling Products .

I’m passionate about entrepreneurship in general and online entrepreneurship in particular and I aim to help change the narrative of entrepreneurship in Zimbabwe and Africa by showing people, especially the youth, that there can be a better way of earning a living outside of seeking good jobs.

I developed this passion in entrepreneurship after I quit my job to start my own online ventures. You can read my full story here.

I have come to realise that online entrepreneurship has a lot of advantages

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