Diary of an Under 30 CEO: Escaping The 9-5 Syndrome

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“The dream is not something you see in sleep, the dream is the thing that doesn’t let you sleep” – A.P.J Abdul Kalam

VENTURES AFRICA – It was 3:45pm on a sunny afternoon. I rushed to the Bank to quickly get some cash and jet off to a meeting on the Island. The meeting was scheduled for 4:20pm, and a glance at my wristwatch showed I was 50 minutes away from the venue.

“Man, I have just 2 minutes to spend in your bank, please do make the transaction fast.” The young man at the counter collected the slip from me, punched some keys into his system and softly said “ Sir, sorry you will have to wait till 4pm before I attend to you.” I insisted that he answer me or I report him to his superior.

He moved closer and whispered, “I am tired of this Job! I need to talk to a young man like you who runs a successful business.”

My nerves relaxed. I gave him my call card but he begged me to spend 10 minutes with him because he had already made up his mind to resign without any job offer or business opportunities.

Unemployment in the country covers both the “I –Have-No-Job” and the “I-Don’t-Like-My-Job.”

We have many graduates leaving home every morning- all dressed up, only to return at night with nothing to show for it, except more stress. Most of them end up spending the meagre salary on transportation. The better part of their life is either spent on 3rd mainland bridge traffic jam (in Lagos) or at the office. Home is just a place to take their bath and change clothes.

We no longer live in a world where the course you study at the university dictates how successful you are or how much you earn. I know a Doctor who earned N15,000 (about $1) monthly for one and half years before he changed career. I also met a Masters Degree holder working in a private secondary school. His take home was N9,200 monthly.

The story is no longer go to school to become an accountant, chemical engineer, doctor, lawyer or xyz profession that will make you the talk of the town. It is now a new world with a new way of life. Get educated, Get smart and rule your world. I chuckled when a banker friend told me last year that there are 2 types of staff in the bank; the Bankers and the Bank Workers- 85% are bank workers.

Though we call it 9am – 5 pm active day at work, it is more than that! I call it 5am – 9pm. Workers sometimes spend more time on the road and the office than they do at home. The thought of many, like the young man that stopped me at the bank is that they need to start their own business. Resign from this headache-giving job and start something they can call their own. Wake up anytime, Go golfing with their partner, send the kids on vacation and call the accountant to pay some tangible millions into their account.

Yes, it is possible . . . . But the truth is if you want an initial freedom, being an employee is better than starting your own business because you will never do 9 -5 on your business. Business owners spend every minute thinking and working on their project. No weekends, No Xmas, No Easter. Every day is a working day.

So before you resign from that job to start your own business, you must know that entrepreneurship is not for the faint hearted . . . . . it could be more demanding than the job you hate with so much passion.

Even if you are not truthful to everybody, it will help you a lot if you can tell yourself the truth. Do you think you have the courage to push your own business? Many left their jobs, ventured into business, failed and rushed back to the labour market.

Before you turn in that resignation letter to escape the 9 -5 syndromes, sit back and answer these questions:

1.Why do I want to start my own business? Is it because I hate the stipend I get from my employer or I had this plan of being on my own a long time ago?

2. Is my office environment; boss, co-workers, infrastructure pushing me away?

3.Can I combine my 9 -5 with my business tentatively?

4. Am I gaining any experience from this paid job?

5. Will I miss anything if I resign now?

6. How much do I know about the business I want to start?

7. How do I cope if I fail to break even in 2 years? (Backup Plans)

8. Do I have a little money set aside that can take care of me for 3 months?

9. Am I really ready for a change?

 

Resigning from a paid job to start a business is not as easy as we think. Talking someone into it is even more difficult. The best advice is to sit down and talk to your mind. Whatever decision you make now determines where you will be in future. Remember, nothing ventured, nothing gained!