SLAVERY WITHOUT CHAINS: 5 myths about White Collar employment
“I didn’t know I was a slave until I found out I couldn’t do the things I wanted” – Frederick Douglass
Decades ago, white collar employment served as an indicator that a person was on the path to a bright future. Parents and well-wishers would usually make remarks like, “Ah! Thank God you are through with your education. It remains to find work now.” In their minds, getting a job was tantamount to earning a livable income. Ergo, the average graduate set out to ‘find work’, ignoring all other opportunities until he landed a 9-5 job, regardless of the work conditions. However, what he failed to realize was that he was under slavery; more mental than physical actually. What’s worse, he didn’t realize his slavery, therefore, liberation became difficult.
Today, the world is undergoing a transition. For the new generation, taking advantage of the internet and available technology to optimize influence and earning potential creates a higher sense of career fulfilment than simply waiting to get an office job. It’s disheartening, however, that some people today are still victims of the thought patterns that ruled their fathers.
This article discusses some of the myths about white collar employment and why it should be not be embraced:
- It offers stability and one can plan with expected income: Remember that there are economic forces beyond our control. If you plan stringently based on your income, and the economy experiences ‘change’, all your planning and supposed stability goes to nought as your salary remains constant in the face of inflation. Try to develop multiple streams of income. At best, check out websites for freelancers and invest any unpredicted income.
- You actually work 9am-5pm: No one in paid employment actually works 8 hours. Start the math from when you get up in the morning till when you actually get off work. Don’t forget to include the weekends or the time spent in traffic if you live in Lagos. You’ll be happy to round up at 15 hours daily.
- You are in high demand: Except additional qualifications are obtained to increase marketability, or they are willing to work in areas somewhat unrelated to their fields of expertise, those in white collar employment might actually have higher chances of being unemployed. This is because of the inevitable laws of demand and supply; the higher the supply of a service, the lower the demand and then, price. These days, it seems the corporate labour market is shrinking as skilled workers such as digital marketers, fitness trainers, fashion designers and others are in higher demand than white-collar professionals, lending credence to a 2016 report by Sahara reporters that 45% of Nigerian graduates were unemployed. Hence, everyone should invest some time in developing a useful skill.
- It is respectable and dignifying: There is absolutely nothing respectable about someone who is struggling to pay his bills simply because he is dressed in a suit. It is actually more dignifying when respect is derived from a person’s conduct, work ethic and personal achievements as opposed to the general status of a person’s profession.
- You can always run your business as a hobby: If you are involved in business, it should not be treated as a hobby, because it requires focus, especially at the initial stages.
Though it is highly achievable to run your business on the side, most employers ensure that you work for every penny and more, leaving you with little time for yourself or family. Extra hours of work in this part of the world may earn you even more work or in some cases a miserly bonus. Monetize those hours by putting them into offering a valuable service or product.