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Self Employed

I've been self-employed since I was in my twenties. There are good things and bad things about being self-employed.

The Good Things:

I don't have a boss. Well, I do have a boss, but the boss is me. I happen to be a very tolerant boss, which is good because I wouldn't have much luck with a strict boss. I allow myself to go to work when I want and also to leave when I want. If I don't feel like working on a particular day, my boss doesn't make me, and there is no time clock.

I don't have deadlines unless I decide to finish something at a particular time. I don't have to do reports because I already know what I'm doing. I don't have to schedule any meetings with myself because I already know what I'm thinking. Best of all, if something is late, I don't get in trouble; I just give myself more time to do it.

I can pay myself whatever I want. If the business is doing well and I want more money, I just take it. I don't have a salary or work by the hour. Every week, I see how much money I have and then transfer it into my personal account. If you're making money, this is a very good advantage to have. If you're not making money . . . well, see the Bad Things.

Everyone who works for you has to answer to . . . you! You are the captain of the ship and you can send other people scurrying into the rigging to set the sails. It's good to be captain.

I can go on vacation whenever I want, for as long as I want. If it's a beautiful day and reports say that the fish are biting, I just go fishing. I don't even have to call in to the boss because the boss is going fishing with me. Likewise, if the boss decides to go to England for a month, he takes me with him.

I don't have Boards of Directors, shareholders, or any committees that I have to answer to. Good or bad, what I say goes. My word is law and must be obeyed. Unfortunately, this is not the case in my personal life, where my word not only isn't law, but is typically ignored. That's okay, though. When that happens, I can retreat into my office, where I am once again the king of my domain. Even Tom Petty said that it's good to be king, and he was right.

If I want to change something, I just tell everyone that I want to change something and it changes. It's the power that corrupts.

At Christmas, I get lots of presents from my people. All I have to do in return is give them massive cash bonuses that prove what a good captain I am.

The Bad Things:

If I screw up and have to fire myself, I can't collect unemployment because I'm not an employee. Because I'm not an employee, I don't have the protection that employees have. I don't get sick days, paid leave, bereavement time, maternity leave, employer-paid health insurance, contributions from the company to my 401(k) plan, or contributions to my social security. I have to pay that stuff all by myself.

I can work anytime I want. In fact, I can and have worked over 20 hours a day, seven days a week. I can chain myself to my desk and there's no one to tell me to go home and get some rest. My boss can be tough.

If the company doesn't make any money, then neither do I. No one guarantees me a paycheck every week no matter what. If the company is losing money, I'm the guy who has to put my own money back into the company so everyone else can get paid.

Finally, I can't sexually harass myself. Well, I suppose I could, but it would be silly.


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