Moving Beyond the Employee Mindset


You will never get rich working for someone else. This statement, though disturbing in a few ways, is completely accurate. The entrepreneurs – the people who put personal or financial risk on the line for their business – are the ones who make the most money, experience the greatest financial rewards, and enjoy the satisfaction of knowing that they have succeeded or failed in their endeavors.

The last thing that I’d ever want to be told is that I’m a great employee. Even if I am capable at what I do, good with clients and customers, and an all around “good guy” to work with, I never want to hear that I’m a good “employee”. For someone like me, who prides themselves on a job well done, that instills notions of permanence and limitation. I frequently state that I don’t want to be “just an employee”, ever.

In the recent months I’ve moved beyond working for someone else and have instead focused on working for myself. As an employer, I can say that I’m probably the best employee that I’ve ever had.

You see, employers and employees approach similar situations with different attitudes.

  • When looking for an income – An employee will seek employment, try to find a job, or obtain some kind of employment insurance benefit; an employer will try to expand their client base, leverage their time via their employees, and perhaps even try to further establish themselves in their respective markets.
  • When having social problems at work – An employee will sit on the issue for a while, and finally approach management about a possible solution. An employer will take corrective steps immediately to ensure that it does not go on any longer than it has to.
  • When handling financial setbacks – An employee will shrink their budget or sell some possessions to make up for the lost income. An employer will try to make the best use of their current assets by launching new businesses, expanding their product line, or trying to monetize new markets.
  • When building wealth – An employee will commit to a lifestyle based around their income. Any fluctuations or dramatic changes to their income is likely to set them into a series of catastrophic events, perhaps even leading to consolidation of their debts and maybe even bankruptcy. An employer will take their income, use what is necessary to maintain their lifestyle, and then invest the rest back into their business or current investments.

Being an employee does not make you less of a person. In fact, any business needs ambitious and motivated employees in order to become successful. Being someones employee is the safe route to take when it comes down to financial or career goals. Having a steady income, or at least one that is guaranteed, gives a sense of stability.

However, if you ever want to move beyond that an attempt to launch your own business ideas into motion, you’re going to need to shed that employee mindset. Dropping the notion of a guaranteed income and accepting the risks and rewards that come with being an entrepreneur is the first step.

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8 thoughts on “Moving Beyond the Employee Mindset

  1. “the safe route” – how true!
    I think most people strive to be an employee because its whats expected of them….Just like it was expected they go to HS, then college, get a job, ect. We all knew business owners exist, but its never really taught or encourged unless you specifically major in that field.
    Great post

    1. The problem with being employed is the “Golden Handcuffs”. I cannot afford to quit my job now…. though I am careful to develop transferable skills and now work in an area that gives me more scope to do things myself if I want to….

  2. The safe route… something that everyone values and works toward. Unfortunately, it is also the least rewarding financially.
    You win some and lose some I suppose.

  3. Way to break it down! You hit on an excellent point when you mentioned, “Being an employee does not make you less of a person.”
    For a professional life-dedicated employee who does not share your passion for creation, excitement, and great personal and financial reward, being a great “employee” is the goal, and that’s great. Like you said, companies need that. In this case there is no conflict.
    The conflict arises amongst all the employees in the workplace (usually the majority) that desire the perks of owning their own business, but cannot bring themselves to take that mandatory leap of faith. These employees are constantly giving off negative vibes, and adding to the already stressful environment.
    Oh, btw, I never want to be just a good “employee” either!
    Forrest Kolb

  4. I currently work for a man named Ronald Mcdonald. I know the feeling of going into an office and watching someone else use you for their own vision. If you work just that hard enough that they strike it big, you don’t receive the same payoff, even though you’ve completed three-times the work.

    1. You can bet that an employer makes 10 times off of you than what they’re paying you.

  5. Very well written article, it mirrors my own sentiments exactly. Claude Edwin Theriault

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