Dr. Shahid Amin Trali
It is true that money can’t buy happiness, but it is a fact that money has an important role in life. It is money that gives us comforts, our essentials in life, food, clothing, housing, medicines; it also helps us to take care for our family and so on. In sum, money makes things easier for us. People spend most of their time either on their businesses to earn money or their jobs. Money is very essential and we have to find good ways to earn it. It can be earned mainly through securing a job or being an entrepreneur. In other words the two bright choices can be employment and entrepreneurship – or, we can say working for our own venture or working for someone else.
Our students today have a growing number of career choices but it is equally posing challenges to choose the right career. Some students have a dream to work in big multinationals while some may settle with any kind of job that is necessary for their survival and sustenance. There are others who are solely getting inclined towards entrepreneurship. Some take care of their family businesses while some may start a new venture. Some people are also there who first gain experiences on their jobs and then start their own ventures and some may be working on a side business while working. There are others too who fail in their own ventures, give up easily and thus start looking for jobs for bread and butter.
I may here offer some anecdotal experience(s) to illustrate my argument.
Travelling, especially train journeys have always taught me good lessons in life. Recently, I met a guy from Andhra Pradesh along with his family on my journey to Kanpur. “What are you doing?”, he asked. “I am a teacher”, I replied. Then it was my turn to know his profession. “We have our own paint store”, he replied. Next, he was all praise for doing a job rather than doing a business. He had secured a high percentile in MAT and got a call from some of the prestigious management institutes, but his father had insisted him to take care of their family business. He was unhappy with his own business with many concerns. “In business, I may be the hero for one month with good sales but it will not take much time to reach to zero with fewer sales the next month. In jobs, you have a fixed salary. I am independent and can decide working for my day, but then you too have only 8 hours in a day to do a job. In business, we have pressures”.
We must first know the concepts of both employment and entrepreneurship. The dictionary meaning of employment is an act or instance of employing someone or something. It is the fact of someone being paid to work for a company or organization. Wikipedia defines it as a relationship between two parties, usually based on a contract where work is paid for, where one party, which may be a corporation, for profit, not-for-profit organization, co-operative or other entity is the employer and the other is the employee. While as Entrepreneurship is the persistent progression towards an innovative solution to a key problem. It is the mindset that allows us to see opportunity everywhere. It could be a business idea, but it could also be seeing the possibilities in the people that can help us grow that business. The entrepreneur knows how to use the resources in the best possible ways and know how to survive in the worst conditions possible.
A big concern is whether Employment or Entrepreneurship is the best option as a career.
The chance of success or failure in each path is governed by our own approach and many controllable and uncontrollable factors. However, I will guide you to know the pros and consequences of both choices. We can choose our career by knowing the merits and demerits of each path, and then properly analyzing our own strengths and weaknesses to know which career suits us the best.
It is a fact that having any kind of a job allows us the freedom to work in the field of our interest. The most important thing about a job is having fixed and timely salary benefits. In order to retain the talented lot, the corporate sector now provides a wide range of other benefits, which includes ESOPs, insurances, bonus, which also boosts the morale of the employees, work from home benefits which provides work time flexibility. We can develop our leadership skills as our job allows us to work with a variety of people. It helps our team working skills, and also increases mutual understanding among the employees. Jobs have lesser risk even if we lose a job we can get another job easily if we have the talent and credentials. But, every job has some rules and work ethics that need to be followed and there are fewer chances to be innovative. Besides there is a time limit which puts huge pressure to complete the assigned task. Hard-work is not always rewarded in case of jobs whether these be private or Government ones and people don’t always get elevated on the basis of their credentials. If you play smart politics and have good connections, you can be the winner. Someone has said that if you don’t build your dream, someone else will hire you to help them build theirs.
The buzz about entrepreneurship is everywhere nowadays. Today, entrepreneurship is celebrated like never before and it is defined in so many ways — social entrepreneurship, intra-entrepreneurship, micro-entrepreneurship and so on. One gets to follow his/her passion being an entrepreneur which brings more satisfaction. Entrepreneurs are good for the economy and employment. They are more flexible and have more leadership qualities. At the end of the day, you own nothing in a job but being an entrepreneur one has a something of his or her own. Being an entrepreneur gives your family a secure future, if you plan the resources in a right manner.
One main benefit of being an entrepreneur is that the degree of satisfaction is always proportional to success. The government now highly supports innovative startups and is taking large steps to reduce the regulatory burden on entrepreneurs. But, being an entrepreneur is a risky task and at every step, risk is involved, and any loss incurred or damage would be the accountability of an entrepreneur. There is much more involved in entrepreneurship than there is in a traditional nine-to-five job. We will have some hard times financially, especially at first. It will not always be lucrative. Other times, we will get sick of taking care of all of our salespeople!
We will get sick of having to be “the boss,” even the boss of our own self. We may have to face a bankruptcy, relationship problems as an entrepreneur. There is no medical support from our corporation and no other benefits. If we want benefits such as insurance, we need to get these by ourselves We may end up with a bad heart condition from chronic stress and unhealthy eating and all the time we are on the go. But, we have to be strong and get past the ugly, if we are going to stay and be successful entrepreneur.
We have the potential to be successful (in our own way) and, need not to label our self as either an employee or an entrepreneur to be happy. Both entrepreneurs and employees are both significant in this world. Entrepreneurs start ventures and require managers and employees to perform day to day activities of business. Before making the decision of entrepreneurship versus employment, we must ensure that we are following our passion and interests. We must see the advantages and disadvantages of entrepreneurship and employment and then match with our own strengths and weaknesses. This way we will be able to measure our probability of success/failure in each path. No matter what we decide to do with our life, entrepreneurship or employment, we must start learning some skills and start looking for new valuable experiences. It is true that entrepreneurship can bring us more freedom to work when and where we desire, but we can’t escape from work. We will never succeed and get far as an entrepreneur working just four hours a week. It’s not going to happen at all. Being an entrepreneur definitely isn’t as easy as many people think. We have to work a lot and wrong decisions can have terrible consequences. The road to success is often long and lonely — brutal hours, massive levels of stress, and a vast amount of personal sacrifice. We can also be an employee with a lot of freedom. We will encounter comfort in job if we are doing our job right, and it is less likely that we will lose our job. Someone who is doing a job but likes entrepreneurship must start a side business while still working with others as an employee. They can keep the momentum going for at least six months to a year before making the switch. This way we can get a taste of what entrepreneurship is really like.
—The author is an Assistant Professor at ITM University Gwalior. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org