9-to-5 vs. Entrepreneur Friends: 3 Things I Love & Hate

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Last Saturday, I canceled my birthday party.

All my entrepreneur friends “had” to work over the weekend.

Honestly, it was one of the saddest birthdays ever. The only thing that can compare is my mom throwing me a pool party during elementary school when I don’t like swimming that much. Had it not been for the presence of my wife and immediate family, I might have cried.

I sent out invites 3 weeks in advance, got RSVPs from all but a few people, but in the final hour, work came up. They didn’t “have” to work. They “chose” to work. There are no hard feelings. I still love my friends. It’s just that everything converged on this one Saturday.

As a recovering workaholic, I realized that I attracted other workaholics into my life. Everything I experienced this past weekend, I see in myself. Most people pursue entrepreneurship to eventually have more time freedom, but that’s usually not the case in the early stages and I am beginning to notice the difference between my entrepreneur friends and 9-to-5 friends who are workaholics and the few who aren’t.

Strawberry shortcake from Junior’s…unfortunately, all to myself.

3 Things I Hate

1. They Are Also Workaholics & Work On Weekends

Entrepreneurs tend to be workaholics because they have to hunt their meal, whereas 9-to-5ers get rations every 2 weeks. As an entrepreneur, especially a solo-preneur, everything depends on you—your bills, your family, your company, and your employees. As a results, it feels like stopping is not an option. That’s why most entrepreneurs don’t know when holidays are or what day of week it is. Every day is a day to hunt. So the fact that it was Saturday didn’t make a difference for most of my entrepreneur friends.

2. They Don’t Have Bosses, But They Have Clients

When you ask most people who want to be entrepreneurs why, they say “I want to be my own boss.” In the 9-to-5 world, many people hate their jobs primarily because of their relationship with a bad boss, so they think that if they were their own boss, work would be delightful. The reality is that unless entrepreneurs create boundaries, their clients become their bosses. But in addition to that we tend to be harder on ourselves than other people because we never feel like we’ve done enough and there is nothing worse than becoming your own slave-driver which is the case for most workaholics.

3. Their Inconsistent Schedules Make Them Miss Meaningful Moments

9-to-5ers have it good. Like K-12, there is a start time and end time. Granted, workaholics don’t honor those false boundaries, especially in this information economy where work can follow you anywhere, there is still a level of consistency. Many of my entrepreneur friends and I travel for work. As a result, as much as I would like to, I haven’t been able to keep weekly commitments like playing on an intramural basketball team or taking a cooking class. I’ll admit that I’ve missed many meaningful moments in the lives of those I love because of my unpredictable schedule. While I love the day-to-day adventure and no two days being alike, I’m making adjustments to create a little more consistency.

3 Things I Love

1. They Are There When I Really Need Them

Because they ultimately have control of their time, my entrepreneur friends have been able to help me in the clutch during daytime hours. They have brought me medicine when I was sick and helped me move. My 9-to-5 friends don’t have that luxury. My entrepreneur friends have also been able meet me for bike rides and basketball in the middle of the day or even justcome over for lunch. Sometimes my 9-to-5 friends invite me to lunch near their office, but I usually decline because it becomes a 3 hour endeavor for me to get there, eat, and come back, whereas for them, it’s an elevator and 2 block walk and they can still count on that check coming within 2 weeks. My check depends on how many things I check off of my to do list.

2. They Understand My Journey

It can be hard talking to my 9-to-5 friends, especially if they hate their jobs. When life is too predictable, there isn’t much to talk about excepts sports and the weather. Many of my 9-to-5 friends don’t know their self-worth outside of the context of their job. But every day as entrepreneurs, we are exploring what our true value is and we are being tested by the economy, clients, competitors, colleagues, and ourselves. I am able to share war stories with my entrepreneur friends and get support whereas my 9-to-5 friends just hear it as fun and adventure. Some of my 9-to-5 friends make more money than me, yet they feel trapped and it’s hard to relate to that mindset when I feel free and can see that the cage door is open for them to escape the rat race too.

3. They Are Chasing Their Dreams

There is no entrepreneur that I don’t respect—even if they aren’t making that much money. It’s not easy to create a job for yourself first and then create jobs for others through a company. While 90% of people say they want to be an entrepreneur, ironically only 10% of people will exhibit the courage to explore that path. It takes bravery to pave your own road and give birth to an idea.

Did I want my friends to be there? Yes. But in a weird way, I actually respect some of my entrepreneur friends for saying “No” to my birthday because at the end of the day, I know that they are pursuing their dream. And that would be my #1 birthday wish for any and everyone—to pursue your dream whether that means creating a company or working in one.

I’m interested to know the differences you see in your entrepreneur friends versus your 9-to-5 friends. Comment below with your thoughts.

Wishing you more happy hours,

Jullien Gordon