Entrepreneur or 9–5'er?

The 21-C Student
3 min readApr 14, 2021
Entrepreneur or 9–5'er? (image credit: Chidera Okonkwo-Samuel)

It is an increasingly common question, and more often than not, one that causes a lot of worry, complex maybe, but certainly some degree of uncertainty on the best way to begin or continue one’s career.

So which is better truly, being your own boss, or working in an already-structured organization?

The truth is both have their pluses and minuses, the challenges and consequences neither here nor there. These properties are interpreted by the perspective and interests of the individual but the underlying thing is that they are equally great contributors to global sustainability. One can decide to have them catalogued into the extremes of a “career spectrum”, some preferring being “extreme” or 24/7 entrepreneurs or 9–5'ers, others opting for a blend of both. I prefer the latter.

Having your own business does provide a great deal of flexibility and a freedom to uphold your brand and style of creativity. However, this comes with an insane level of commitment and self-discipline, as you would probably not be your own leader — you’d lead other people at some other point, and more often than you’d find in a 9–5 setting, some disorganization and a deal of risks to take on alone.

Working at an already-structured firm might not guarantee you flexibility or some degree of personal freedom but the demands and responsibilities are central for personal discipline and, at the same time, one is building capacities and adding immense value to the corporate growth process. Being under a leader other than yourself as well as being in a working community can drive out some fair share of loneliness and lone risk-bearing.

The properties of each are more than these.

Now, you might ask me, “But doesn’t being an entrepreneur instill an entrepreneurial spirit in you and a sense of entrepreneurial leadership?”

It does not.

Being an entrepreneur does not necessarily instill it. Being a 9–5'er does not deny you of that core value or rob you of it either.

I came across a quite novel and revolutionary perspective by the African Leadership University on what having an entrepreneurial spirit means.

“However, entrepreneurial leaders are not necessarily entrepreneurs (as in ‘founder of companies’). An entrepreneurial leader can be a scientist, a government servant, a corporate, or NGO operator.

“Entrepreneurial leaders are not bound by status quo, they are creative, nimble, resilient, imbibed with faith, stubborn with vision, visionary and humble.”

It all boils down to your core values. Each lifestyle teaches you those values in ways that may seem different but can be intertwined. You just have to find where your love and passion lies, and decide which one you’re willing to go through a lot for. And, finally, there’s always the opportunity to switch from one lifestyle to the other or engage in both at any point you wish to.

Best of luck!

What do you think about the options for an enjoyable and fulfilling career? Which do you prefer? What is your experience so far if you’re have one? What other things do you think are part of deciding the options that I might not have shared? I’d love to hear your views and learn from you!