I remember complaining to my good friend in 2009, “Bro, what am I to do if I quit my job today? But I can’t tolerate another day having that terrible meeting with my COO about the branch performance in KL. He keeps asking me about my KPI, my action plan, my forecast …!”
He grinned and chirped, “Since I left school, I have never in a day work for anyone. Life was hard, but I always saw possibilities.”
Those conversations with that friend whom was also my mentor in online business linger in my mind all the time. The fear was real. I remember hating Sunday evenings. I dreaded going to the airport for my flight from Penang to KL on Monday mornings and the relieve of coming home every Friday evenings. Despite executing all the action plan in within my brain power, the monthly profit and loss still showed red for the next twelve months after we took over the branch. The COO required me to see him every Wednesday evening about the business progress of the KL branch and his ferocity with figures freaked me out like crazy. We spoke different languages. I was pure operation and he was a number man. And when the financial break-even was hardly in sight, you can imagine the nightmare that haunted me in those days.
In spite of all this, I was reluctant to leave. I carried on thinking that better days would come but they never did. The nightmare continued for 2 years until finally, I gave the notice without a back-up plan. The challenges in those days were the reason I found God. From then on, I hang on to His Grace for refuge and provision. Since then and even before, He always delivers.
Thinking back, why am I so afraid? The signals to quit were all there and yet, I hung on. No thanks to those damn retirement planning promotions about the minimum savings that you need for calling it a day. If you think you have had enough and cannot tolerate further, God is telling you that He is gonna close this door. He will open another door for you, only if you cooperate. Here are the reasons that you should quit working for other people as soon as possible:
- Earning A Salary Dulls Our Senses
Selling your time for money may sound like a great idea. Our parents have done it and they brought us up, right? And as you move up the corporate ladder, the noose of the increasing wage become stronger and tighter. The term “golden handcuff” has to come from somewhere. Exchanging my time for money seem fine and dandy.
My biggest revelation came when I was the General Manager of a major commercial bakery 5 years ago in the central region. The holding company assigned me to report to the owner’s daughter. While I managed to bring my company back to the black in six months with monthly revenue of $ 3 Million, this lady took charge of another plant that made frozen dough. Although her factory earned a third of what my revenue and ran at a loss, her dad paid her twice my salary. I admit I was inexperienced in big league negotiation then. As a result, they withheld a company car from me without my knowledge. And yet, this “lady boss” of mine, with capabilities and intellects far below what God bestows me, drove a brand new Porsche after her Audi Q7 went dead on her. And all I was asking was for them to give me a pathetic second hand Toyota Camry!
Questions started running in my head. What have I done to deserve these? The good about working for bad bosses; your eyes open. You start to question the norm of society. While good bosses make you stay in your comfort zone, bad bosses are usually those who would pivot you to your true potential. My first bad boss (the number guy) “made” me moved to run a bigger entity with ten times the size. The second boss (the lady and her old man) “told” me that I should not be working for idiots anymore.
Trusting God is not for the weaklings. Yes, you heard me right! I planned to quit the job of running the bigger commercial bakery after they refused to pay me my bonus for two consecutive years. I prayed and asked for His signal. The signal came in the form of a movie shown in a Chinese coffee shop, whereby the Prophet Moses was bringing the Jews to cross the Red Sea. I frequented the coffee shop for two years while working in the Central region and it had never once shown any English movies. That was the only time, while I was in deep prayers asking for His guidance. Isn’t God great?
I took the leap of Faith. I gave my letter the very next day after telling my wife. Again, no backup plan. You will never guess how things play out for the next few days. An existing ingredients supplier came to me and expressed his sympathy for my resignation. The news had obviously spread! This vendor did the unexpected. He offered me the distributorship right of his products in the Northern region (where my home is). I was dumbfounded. Alex did the next unexpected. He offered me a term that I could not refuse to lighten my financial burden of running this business. God Grace is with me and His Hand is all over the deal. Hallelujah!
2. You Can Never Learn Enough To Run Your Own Business
I was blessed. I have the experience of running a business unit and a full-scale company before God provided me with my own business. I learn to oversee profit and loss. Those experiences are priceless. But how many of you have the opportunities of learning to run a business as I did?
Most of us start our career in a functional department, like Hr, Finance, Marketing, Sales and Procurement. The closest you get to learn about running a business is to be in Sales or Marketing. Many people will stick to what they know best for another 20 to 30 years before retirement. By the time you have performed the same task for 10 years, most companies or potential employers will stereotype you to that duty.
The irony of the way we work, will your job still exist in 20 or 30 years? Or would you rather be the one to break the learning barrier? You may be comfortable in doing the same job for decades but open your own horizon. Take up some courses. The courses could be an enhancement to your current job or completely unrelated to what you do.
3. Liberated or Tame
What are the differences between a dog and a wolf? A dog wags its tail when it sees the master. On good days, the master feeds the dog with good food. He allows the dog to follow him, only when the poor creature is on a leash. Sometimes, the master has to move and there is no place for the poor dog to tag along. A good master might bring the dog to a dog pound. A bad master will just abandon the poor pooch at the sidewalk. Oh, you poor old doggy…
A wolf is not one to be tamed. It roams as it pleases. When spring arrives, the wolf will hunt with its pack till its heart content. However, when winter looms, the pack will move to greener pastures where the yaks migrate. On certain days, the wolf might go hungry, but its mind always calculating, always looking out for new opportunities. No “master” holds a wolf ransom by withholding its lunch or dinner. It calls the shot.
Many people complain about heavy commitments. From hindsight, we see these commitments to be their homes, cars, insurance and their children’s education. Look closer and you see more than meets the eye.
The results of your work pay for your bosses’ Lamborghini, their wives’ holidays, the new head office with the latest contemporary design, the bosses’ children education in Oxford …..
You will be surprised of all that can come out from your hard work for your company. People might tell you that you are drawing a fat salary. The bigger your salary, the bigger the burden of the company upon your shoulder. That is real commitment.
4. Starting A Business Is Risky
And you would realize soon enough that staying put in a job and hoping your boss to take care of you is far riskier.
Society conditions us from young into believing that earning a degree and getting a good job is the most secure endeavor in the universe. Study hard, get a good degree, find a good job, start a family and finally to enjoy life after retirement. What a bunch of hogwash !!
There is a lot we can learn from the Millennial. While older generations like the Baby Boomers and Gen X yearn for job security, Millennial looks for temp jobs and gigs. Unlike us, they understand the reality of job security is only as good as the next Profit and Loss.
Learn to set up as many income generators as possible. It could be a blog, or some side gigs while we still have our day’s job. If you ask me, the only real security is to trust God and do whatever that He allows into our lives in Faith.
5. The Boss And You
When you are an employee, you will report to an immediate supervisor. When I was a General Manager, I reported to a COO or a CEO from the HQ, despite the company under my charge doing better than theirs. If I happen to become a CEO, I will report to a board…this time a group of people will collectively be my direct boss under the guise of a board. As long as you are employed, your fate lies with the whims and fancy of your direct boss.
If you are a business owner, you can change that fate of reporting to one person. You could increase your product portfolios from different principals so that no one single principal could determine the fate of your business. You could also sell to more customers and again, if one boss (customer) leave, you still have a lot of “bosses” left to cover your back. You may also kick some “bosses” off occasionally, only if you are a business owner.
6. That Pathetic Salary and Bonus
Some of your friends may envy you because of your large salary increase last year. You may even get a 3-month bonus as compared to the neighbor’s one month cut. Sadly, this is still pathetic.
Behind every one percent increase in your salary may connote an 8 figure profit increase in your employers’ coffer. If you win a new account that brings in $ 10 Million new revenue for your company, your company might reward you with a 2-month additional bonus at the end of this year. The new customer provides recurring income to your company every year. Your boss reminds you to look ahead and to forget about past glories.
7. That Miserable Social Life
My wife was my colleague. I was clocking 60 to 70 hour week in my first job as a manufacturing supervisor. It would take more than a miracle for anyone who worked those hours to even think of getting a date, let alone finding a wife within the four walls of a factory.
An employee relies heavily on his or her boss for recommendation to any professional networking due to those beastly working hours. In contrast, if you are the business owner, you could attend any trade talks at your own liking. You could attend exhibitions and increase your network of friends and business cohorts all for the simple reason that you are the master of your own time. Of course, to be able to do this effectively calls for another set of business skills that we shall touch on later.
ANd If You Still Insist On Keeping Your Job….
You are not alone. We are so well groomed into the employee mindset that we think it is crazy to rock the boat. What if the business does not work out?
Remember the wolf and the dog. The wolf never let itself to drown in a failure, unlike that of a dog. A dog might die from hunger if its master had dementia and forget to feed it. But not the wolf. The wolf will pivot to another place for the next hunting ground. If given enough pain as stimuli (job loss, crazy bosses, oppressive co-workers, etc) some dogs do turn into a wolf; but some will remain and languish in the environment losing all their mojo along the way.
God bless you!