Have you heard the term ‘wage slavery’ before? If not, you’re likely very familiar with slavery as a core concept. Slavery, in historical terms, has played a significant role in the diminishing of one’s freedoms and ability to live. While historical slavery in America involved the relinquishing of the human rights of literally thousands of people, there’s a new type of slavery that has surfaced in modern-day workplaces.
Today’s manifestation of slavery in the workplace is much different than in the past (and in many more life-compromising ways than we’ll state here). While slavery in the past was completely controlled by the person(s) in power, today’s enslavement is more driven by the mental aspects of obedience and the idea that there is no other way.
The 9-5 job has become well-known in the workplace as a way for folks to achieve financial stability, occupational regularity, and lifetime security. And if you’ve ever tried to break out of the 9-5 job, you’ve probably heard many of these responses from fellow 9-5 workers:
You need a lot of capital to start a business, so you’re sunk from the beginning.
I’d never leave my 9-5 job. The benefits are too good.
9 out of 10 small businesses fail. It’s just too risky.
Sound familiar? If you’ve already started your own business or ventured out of the 9-5 setup, then you’ve probably been faced with these very same questions and concerns in your own mind.
The biggest difference in historic slavery versus today’s 9-5 slavery is the fact that we can make our own decisions about our enslavement.
One of the biggest obstacles to breaking out of the 9-5 job slavery is mental. It’s the idea that we cannot escape or that escaping spells disaster. By looking at every link in the chain, we can easily see why breaking out is really the best option if we are to succeed. Let’s reflect on a few of the enslaving questions and see why these links are easily broken upon further scrutiny.
Is the 9-5 Job Really That Secure?
Financial and overall employment security is one of the biggest reasons folks will give you as to why they’re sticking with their 9-5 job. But think about it this way: You are not in control.
You may have employment security now, but should the economy take a downturn, your company will not hesitate to lay off employees to save the business. Financially-speaking, you’ve got your salary (and maybe even an agreement on raises), but what do you do if you need to make more money?
When it comes down to it, your financial security is only as secure as the company itself. If the company is not controlled by you (which we’ll assume is the case if you’re working 9-5), then the success of the company is completely dependent on the decisions made by management.
Those decisions could very well involve your paycheck.
Now think about it. If you branch out to a position where you’re working hours that are most primed to your target market, then you can easily adapt to changes in the market in order to reap more profits. Even if you aren’t running the company or aren’t self-employed, the fact of the matter is that working a job with flexible hours allows for you to better cater to your customers — and this, in turn, makes you better at responding to their needs on their time.
I NEED a stable, 9-5 job because I NEED that reliable income.
Many people relate the consistent hours of a 9-5 job with reliability when it comes to income. This can easily turn into wage slavery, which involves an unhealthy work ethic, lacking a fulfilling sense of leisure (thinking of it as just “free time”), and/or feeling trapped in a soulless, alienated job you hate just for the sake of a paycheck.
What are you willing to sacrifice for the paycheck? Your happiness?
And is the paycheck really worth the sacrifices you’re making for the feeling of financial security?
And are you really all that secure financially anyway?
Many folks feel like branching out to a job with flexible hours means that you’re sacrificing the security of a steady paycheck. Sure, your profits may seem like a roller coaster of numbers outside of a 9-5 job, but you’re opening up yourself to the idea that even the lowest dips in your new roller coaster can be higher than the steady income from the 9-5 job you once had.
And here’s the kicker: The 9-5 job has really become a myth as salaried workers are now falling into salary slavery where they’re expected to work 10 and 12 hours a day, pushing them over the 40 hour workweek.
Don’t believe me? Ask any white-collar worker out there today how many hours they work in a week. Their actual salary is paid based on a 40-hr workweek, so any extra hours worked beyond the schedule are uncompensated for.
Charles Bukowski (aka ‘Hank’) was a well-known literary writer, and he sums up workplace slavery in the rawest of terms:
You know my old saying, “Slavery was never abolished, it was only extended to include all the colors.”
And what hurts is the steadily diminishing humanity of those fighting to hold jobs they don’t want but fear the alternative worse. People simply empty out. They are bodies with fearful and obedient minds. The color leaves the eye. The voice becomes ugly. And the body. The hair. The fingernails. The shoes. Everything does.
So what can I do about it?
Well, the obvious answer is to break away from the 9-5. There are a few ways to find out which direction to go:
- What’s your passion?
- What’s your minimum salary needed to live a comfortable life?
- What are your life goals?
- What is your ideal leisure time spent on?
It can be nerve-wracking to sacrifice the perceived stability of a 9-5 job, but that’s what it’s about:
The real facts point to higher potential of success for those who are ready to work for it and are passionate about what they’re doing.
You tell us: Do you have a 9-5 job? What’s keeping you from branching out? Or — have you transitioned out of a 9-5 job, and if so, how has that been for you?