Being an employee carries few risks, but it also carries few rewards. Many employees more or less end up doing the exact same work throughout the duration of their lives, which can be something of a grim prospect for many people. Some individuals will look ahead a few decades and they will imagine themselves doing the exact same work, at which point they will become somewhat discouraged and disheartened. This emotional state is often what leads people to envy entrepreneurs in the first place.
They try to imagine how different their lives would be if they were working towards something that was uniquely their own, such as a business. People feel as if they are merely part of a greater organism when they are part of a large company. Being an entrepreneur can make people feel more like free individuals again, which is going to have a great deal of emotional appeal for many people.
The lifestyles of entrepreneurs and employees are going to be very different. Employees will interact with a narrow selection of the people who work at their companies. Working at a large company isn’t so different from attending school, in some cases. People have to do the work that is assigned to them. They will interact with a group of people that they did not seek out on their own, and they will try their best to get along with them. Cliques will sometimes form among coworkers just as surely as they sometimes form among students.
These similarities are not coincidences. The modern scholastic system was devised during the later days of the industrial revolution. It was party designed to prepare people for their future jobs in corporate America, for better or for worse. While people do manage to do some learning while they are in school, they learn the rhythms of life in the corporate world as well. College graduates who go from the classroom to the boardroom will scarcely even notice the difference in many cases. They might even be interacting with the same people, if they manage to get jobs with some of their former classmates as a result of their connections.
Employees are also rarely going to be working in a field that they truly enjoy. Some employees are going to have that luxury, but the majority of them are going to have to choose the jobs that offer them the most in terms of benefits and in terms of high salaries, regardless of whether or not they truly enjoy the work.
Entrepreneurs are in a slightly more complicated situation. Entrepreneurs that want to start businesses in their desired fields are going to have to realize that they should try to choose fields that are in demand and fields that are likely to help them generate profit. However, determined entrepreneurs can often make businesses in a wide range of fields work. There’s also the fact that the market changes rapidly. Entrepreneurs can start their businesses in fields that are temporarily fallow, and their businesses will thrive when the field experiences something of a resurgence.
Employees will be at the mercy of the job market as well, but it will always seem as if it is affecting them indirectly instead of directly. They are going to have severance packages and notice when their job has been lost. Entrepreneurs aren’t going to have that safety net, which can leave them vulnerable. People who value security over freedom are often going to prefer to be employees. They accept the costs of security, and they learn to live with them.