Think like a Customer, Not an Employee. Because You Are.

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For some reason, some people see an adversarial relationship between themselves and “the boss” or “the company.” They complain about needing to “work that 9 to 5” and “the boss man” always giving them grief. There are numerous country songs about slaving away at work for the evil “boss man” who will never give you a break.

Some people look for ways to get out of work like faking being sick or finding ways to loaf on the job. Many complain that they aren’t paid enough and blame the company or the boss for their wages. Some think the company should be responsible for their healthcare, childcare, shelter, transportation, and a number of other expenses. People who think like this rarely do well in life. Today we’ll look at what is really going on when you take a job. When you change your outlook on jobs and work, you’re more likely to enjoy life more and be more financially successful.

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What if there were no jobs?

What would life be like if there were no jobs? Well, everyone would be on their own, figuring out how to get their basic needs. You would need to find or build some sort of shelter (and get some sort of land to put it on). Once it was built, you’d need to maintain it since mother nature is constantly trying to knock anything people build down. You’d then need to find or grow food. You’d also need to make or find clothing, medicines, tools, transportation, and other necessities. To make life more comfortable, you’d probably want to find a way to make or get electricity so you could have refrigeration and air conditioning.

You might build your own house and make some things for yourself, but you’d probably trade for many things just as you do today, but you’d need to have something that you could trade. This means you’d need to grow something, gather something, assemble/build something, or perform some service people wanted so they’d trade things with you. You would need to spend some of your time finding customers and advertising. A lot of your time, probably.

Realize that you wouldn’t just be handed things. Someone needs to make everything that you use, which means they need to spend their time and energy creating these things. You wouldn’t be willing to spend all of your time making things for other people and neglecting your needs, allowing yourself to waste away. Neither would others. This means life without jobs wouldn’t just mean lying around with lots of free time. You’d be spending most of your time trying to get the things you needed to survive, probably more than you do now with a job. If you have any doubt, visit someone today who is living on a homestead and see how much of their time is spent binging on NetFlix. They work hard from waking up to going to bed.

The truth is that with jobs we can get what we need while spending a lot less effort and time. Jobs provide a way to earn enough money to pay for things using as little time as possible because a lot of the work setting things up and maintaining things is done for us. Someone else has also found a good product to sell and developed a customer base. The free time we have is largely a product of modern society and the efficiency working jobs provides.

.A job is a service

So what is a job exactly. Many people see it as doing something for some company or boss and them paying you money (and never enough money). But really it comes down to you spending time to get the things you need. Rather than building and maintaining your home, gathering berries, raising cows and chickens, sewing clothing, and doing the various other chores a homesteader would, you do something that is useful to the company and in exchange you’re given coupons (money) that you can trade to get the things you need. If you weren’t working a job, you’d still need to be spending your time to get the things you need, but for things you didn’t make yourself you’d need to find something to trade, market your items, and get them to customers. You’d also need to figure out how to pay taxes for your sales since the government would still expect them.

A job is really a service to you. The people who start and run the company figure out what to sell/do, figure out how to get supplies and make items or deliver services, figure out what roles are needed and what people need to be doing to get items to customers and run the business, do the marketing and market research, help handle interactions between employees, and take care of the book keeping, taxes, and other aspects of running a business. Often all you need to do as an employee is roll out of bed, dress however you need to dress to do the job, show up, and do what is asked of you. In exchange for doing all of this for you, the company takes a percentage of what you produce each day. To make things even better, the risk is spread out over everyone in the company where if you have a bad day and don’t sell much, you get to share in what others in the company produce.

As an example, an employee at McDonald’s may produce about $16 per hour on average after expenses to produce the product and do marketing are deducted. The company, which provides everything needed to produce that sale, takes a few dollars, leaving the employee with $13 or $14 per hour. The employee is free to start his own business and try to sell things on his own, but it is a lot easier to just go to McDonald’s and do what he’s told. He also makes more per hour than he would on his own, especially for the level of effort he puts in. If it wasn’t so, McDonald’s wouldn’t find employees to work there because people could make more money on their own.

Change of attitude

Hopefully looking at a job this way – as a service you’re employer is providing to you in exchange for a small cut of what you produce – will change your attitude if you’ve had the worker mentality. The right attitude, resulting in the right actions, will make you far more successful. Instead of working for Friday, you can be building a better life with more money and more enjoyable days. Here are some things that will change:

  1. Your attitude about your company: Once you realize that your company is providing a service to you rather than you being a worker for the company, you should start to evaluate where you work differently. Just as you look around for a good set of headphones at a good price from the many suppliers available, you should be constantly looking for the employer who provides the best way for you to earn a living. This includes where you can get the best pay, but also the one who provides other benefits like work environment, coworkers and bosses you want to be around, and non-monetary compensation.
  2. Your attitude towards your boss (and your boss’ boss, and on up the line): Obviously your boss should treat you well. You wouldn’t go back to a store where the sales people yelled at you and berated you. But you should also see your boss as providing a service to you in providing direction on how you can earn more and helping you get the things you need to do well. Don’t be satisfied if your boss is “nice.” Is she effective at helping you make more money? Your boss is also typically the one who sets the rate on how much of your work the company keeps for their fee since she sets your salary, so if she is not having the company take a reasonable cut based on what you’re producing by offering raises and promotions as you become more productive, it might be time to look for someone else who will.
  3. Your attitude towards customers: If you were trading things on your own, making trades where you would be getting something that you need in exchange for something you produce would obviously be very important to you. It should be the same way if you’re working a job. The customers of the company are your customers. They are the ones you need to convince to trade what they produce for what your company produces. You should see customers as the ones providing your paycheck, because they are. You also wouldn’t put up with customers who were stealing from you or doing unfair trades if you were trading with them on your own. You should have the same attitude when you’re working a job.
  4. Your attitude with your coworkers: Because the amount that you earn is split with your coworkers to some extent, if your coworkers aren’t pulling their weight, they’re affecting your income. Expect the best in your coworkers. If they are complaining and not putting in their best effort, encourage them to do better. Often, just showing a productive attitude can encourage others to do better. If you can help them do a better job and be more productive, it will increase the amount of money you can earn, so help and mentor others to be better. And if you see your coworkers stealing products or stealing pay by loafing around, realize they’re taking from you too, not just the company or the boss.

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Disclaimer: This blog is not meant to give financial planning or tax advice.  It gives general information on investment strategy, picking stocks, and generally managing money to build wealth. It is not a solicitation to buy or sell stocks or any security. Financial planning advice should be sought from a certified financial planner, which the author is not. Tax advice should be sought from a CPA.  All investments involve risk and the reader as urged to consider risks carefully and seek the advice of experts if needed before investing.

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