Ownership vs. Employment

Brandon Barr, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University

Would you rather own your source of income or hope someone allows you to keep one? Most of us, especially those of us who were sent off to college to get good grades and look for a "good" job upon graduation, have never had the question posed to us in this matter. We assumed that this scholarly proven path to success (with a side order of Sallie Mae) had no viable alternatives for us simply because we weren't athletically gifted enough to consider pro sports or musically talented enough to make it big as a recording artist. But what the system we were brought up in failed to disclose to us is that we can take the road less traveled if we desire to and reach massive success doing so. But why go about it? What are some of the advantages of being an owner versus an employee?

When you gain ownership of something, it can be sold, transferred, or willed on to your heirs. If I own a business (either shares or as a whole) or real estate, I can keep it in the family indefinitely. As much as you may love your job and as prestigious as your degree or degrees may be, when you bring children into the world and teach them to seek employment, they have to start their careers from scratch. Mommy can't retire from her job after working her entire adult life and put you in her former position, even if she's a President of the company. Daddy can't spend close to a decade getting a Ph.D. and you automatically become one as well upon reaching adulthood. But when you own something of value, it can directly benefit you AND your children financially.

There's nothing that compares to looking the boss in the mirror. Calling another man boss, in the words of Dame Dash, is like calling him Daddy. When you, as a fully grown adult, are subject to the wishes and whims of another adult under threat of punishment, it mirrors the times when we were children who complied with our parents rules under threat of punishment and/or loss of privileges. The truth is that your boss doesn't have to love you, care about you, or even treat you with dignity if he or she doesn't feel like it. They can get away with almost anything, and as a subordinate, you don't have the power to do anything about it except cry, complain, or quit. Maybe your boss is the most kind and caring and encouraging and uplifting person in the world, and they make coming to work a great experience. But all that doesn't really make them any less replaceable than you. And you might not like their replacement, but you have no voting rights in that decision making process.

I'm not writing this article to demean or put down employment or employees. Bills need to be paid and mouths need to be fed, so employment certainly beats having nothing. What I will challenge my readers to consider is that when you live your life with a scarcity, "at least" mentality (e.g. "at least I have a job and I can pay rent"), you will never have a shot of living at the same level as someone who thinks with an abundant mentality. Everywhere you turn, there's someone complaining about Monday morning because they "have to" go to work at a job they don't particularly care for. If you are thinking abundantly, and you know there are people out there who's great great grandkids are financially set for life, how could you possibly be satisfied with making just enough to hopefully pay all your bills that month? That's the very definition of thinking lack and limitation. You were put here to do more than pay bills and pass away, and deep down you, reader, know this about yourself.

Lastly, what kind of impact will you have on the world? Part of ownership is having your hands on an idea that, you believe, can make a difference in many lives. When you are employed by someone else, ideally their mission and purpose will align with yours; but more often than not, there's either a clash or a misalignment in values between you and them. For example, if you believe people should live a healthy lifestyle but you work at McDonald's because rent's due on the first, you have a clash. And even if you work at Best Buy, your vision of a healthier world isn't really aligned with their mission of having a more technologically equipped world. The owner's mentality is one that says even if my particular business does not match my vision for the world perfectly, I can tweak and modify it to get the desired result. So at the end of the day, ask yourself this vital and important question: do I want to rightfully own my means of changing this world? Or do I want to hope someone allows me to continue to do so after work?