Working for the Man

OfficeSpaceI see a lot of posts that tell people to follow their dream, start a business, do what you love. If the headline says “Quit Your Job” or “Be Your Own Boss” people will click.

We all want autonomy. We want people to answer to us, we’re tired of answering to others.

Long before I opened the doors to my business I knew that the romantic view of working for yourself was false. Now that I’ve been in business for a couple of years I realize that I was underestimating the reality. At my day job I have one person I have to answer to directly. There are a lot of people above me but I answer to one person on a daily basis.

At the spa I own I have over 10,000 people I have to answer to. Every client that walks through the door is my boss. Most of the time the interaction goes very smoothly but when it doesn’t I have to answer to them. But I underestimated who I had to answer to by not also taking my employees into account.

I know there are people out there who are talking to their computer (or smart phone or tablet) saying “you’re the boss, the employees answer to you.” And that’s how I know you don’t own a business. Yes, I have hired and fired, I have disciplined and praised, but the truth is that without the employees I don’t have a business. I have to respect the employees and to that end I let them know exactly how important they are by telling them that before the doors opened I was the most important person in the company but once the doors opened each of them were far more important than me. They interact with the client, they provide the service and if it’s a great massage or a wonderful facial then they deserve the praise but if the client isn’t happy they also deserve some of the blame, I deserve the rest.

You will always be working for someone else so the question you have to ask yourself is whether the work is fulfilling enough to make it worth while.

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