Job vs. Self-Employment

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So you’ve been working your job search plan for a long time.  You’ve exhausted your 99 weeks of unemployment.  A few more months go by, and a letter arrives in the mail.  Thinking it’s just another “Thanks, but no thanks” letter from an application you completed months ago, you let it sit for a couple of days.  Who needs more rejection, right?  You finally open it and it’s a letter asking you to call to schedule an interview for a pretty decent job you could really see yourself in.


Unlike a lot of people you know, you didn’t put all your eggs in the “new job” basket.  A few months after the layoff, you started an online business.  It was a slow at first, but you are finally getting some response to your email marketing plan, and have been able to do a few projects.  Not a lot of money so far, but the work is interesting and gives you a lot of personal satisfaction. 


Mixed feelings.  After all this time, here’s a job opportunity you’ve been waiting for.  On the other hand, you’ve had a taste of self-employment, the excitement of doing something you love on your terms, and no one is telling you what to do or when and how to do it.  Freedom! 


There are a lot of unemployed people facing this dilemma.  Do you give up the opportunity to go out on your own or go back to the 9 to 5 schedule working for someone else?  Here are some things to consider:


1.      Paycheck.  This is probably the biggest reason to take the job.  A steady paycheck.  Show up and do your job and you’re sure to get a paycheck at the end of the week or month.  If you’re self-employed, paydays vary by frequency and amount, depending on your volume of business, rates and expenses.


2.      Earning potential.  With a regular job, your wages are pretty well set until your next performance review and even then you may not get an increase.  With your own business, the sky is the limit!  Your income depends on the number of clients, billing rate and demand for your services.  You can set the rates, deliver the product and call the shots. 


3.      Quality of work life.  With your own business, you can choose your projects and clients, take time off when you want to, and take advantage of legitimate business tax deductions.  On the job, you’ll have to take projects assigned by someone else; work with people you may not like or have the right skill sets. 


4.      Quality of life.  On the job, you may get two weeks off after a year on the job.  On your own, you can schedule a trip to Italy to meet with a client and take a few extra days off for travel, or just take some time to relax and write that book you’ve had percolating for years.  You can schedule your day to catch your daughter’s soccer game in the afternoon or take a class during the day. On the job, you'll need some leave time, a good excuse to take off in the middle of a work day and someone's approval before you can take off.  


There are a lot of tradeoffs between a traditional job and the self-employed life.  The best part of this situation is both are positive opportunities.


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  • Egor
    Thanks for the question Daisy.  I think the answsr would be the same. The person has to put together their explanation in a brief form, without going too deep. Show that they've learned from the experience. Give a positive outlook for their future, and then ask a question to move the conversation in a new direction. It's not easy, but with good preparation and practice, can be done.Best wishes,Harry

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