8 November 2015 Suvi Hoikka

Do You Really Not Want to Be Office-Bound?

It’s likely that when you went college to finish a “for employment” course, you were one of those who dreamed of an esteemed white collar job that entails being part of an office. There’s this prevailing preconception that having a decent and satisfying job means working at an office. However, once you reach the age when you become aware of the realities of life, you start changing your perception and perspectives. Suddenly, being an office employee is no longer as prestigious as it used to sound.

Most millennials and those who have become adults in the last decade have a different way of viewing things. They tend to be more adventurous and deviant especially in their lifestyles. While most would still aim for an office life after college, it’s not unusual for many to easily get bored with the office jobs they get. It’s not atypical for many to want a change in environment every so often. It’s not also uncommon for newly hired new graduates to be intolerant with the politics in offices. There are those who want a completely different kind of work environment.

Traditional Office Employment – Advantages and Disadvantages

The goal of this post is not to put traditional office jobs in a bad light. Certainly, these jobs have not lost their relevance and nothing in them has changed to make them detestable to jobseekers. Traditional office employment still has some advantages. For one, an office usually provides the feeling of belonging to something, a place where one can feel the support and protection of officemates. It also provides an environment that compels people to work, which is particularly beneficial to those who find it difficult managing their time or those who only get motivated to work when they see others also working. It’s a fact that not everyone can become productive when left alone.

When it comes to disadvantages, traditional office employment certainly has its fair share. There’s the virtually inevitable office politics, the need to dress up or at least be presentable in public, the need to travel to and from the office almost everyday, the need to adjust to the environment and co-workers, and sometimes the unreasonable office policies. You can be yourself in an office but you can’t just ignore policies and be incognizant of the need to adjust to office dynamics.

Two Major Alternatives – Freelancing, Starting a Business

As technology advanced, career options expanded. Now, new graduates are no longer just aiming for an 8 to 5 office job. Everybody still wants to make lots of money but the options are no longer limited to being stuck in office-bound white collar occupations. There’s the option to avoid being under a boss or getting forced to deal with officemates by becoming a freelancer. There’s also the option to start a business.

Freelancing – Advantages and Disadvantages

Freelancing is about directly looking for clients to work for. With it, you will no longer be working under somebody and only get a portion of the payment for the project you work on. You will be your own boss, running your own business. You will be looking for your clients and get directly paid (at a higher rate) for the work you do. It can mean higher earnings and the sense of being in control because you decide when you want to work and what you want to work on.

However, not everyone is suitable for freelance work. Not everyone will be able to take advantage of the “freedom” that comes with not having a boss or working directly with clients. As a matter of fact, some may even find this disadvantageous. There are those who have the talent and skills but are lacking in interpersonal faculties to be able to effectively attract clients or market their services. Their rates may be higher but there’s no guarantee that they will always be able to get a client. Sometimes, clients also don’t find freelancers credible for a number of reasons including their lack of a physical business address. Freelancers, though, can now easily obtain business addresses, by simply renting a co-working space or hot desk. Additionally, freelancing alone can be stressful. If you commit yourself to a major project and you encounter problems, excuses are barely acceptable. Unless you collaborate with other freelancers, you may not be able to get a contract for major projects that will not only mean good pay but also an opportunity to experience something new and get a big boost for your credentials.

Entrepreneurship - Advantages and Disadvantages

Becoming an entrepreneur is another good alternative to working in an office. There are many ways to do it. You can engage in trading, running a service-based company, manufacturing and selling your own product, or do various other things. Perhaps the biggest advantage in pursuing an entrepreneurial venture is the opportunity for growth. If you do well, you can more quickly become richer compared to those who make money by working in an office or doing freelance work on their own.

But then again, entrepreneurship is not going to be an easy route. There are more risks in entrepreneurship. While you may get rich more quickly when you succeed, your losses when you fail will be harder to handle. It’s not going to be easy seeing all the money, time, and effort you put up suddenly disappear when you go bankrupt. If you have been trying to avoid an office life, here’s some bad news: you may actually have to adopt an office life if you decide to become an entrepreneur. Similarly, you will have to handle workplace politics and even get involved in bigger politics with your suppliers and the government.

So do you really not want to be office-bound?

Of course, this post is not implying that you should just settle for a typical office job working from 8AM to 5PM. The purpose of presenting slightly more disadvantages than advantages in the freelancing and entrepreneurship routes is to pose a challenge. If you are not the type who would settle getting office-bound, you must be ready for the challenges.

Not everyone can survive and thrive being a freelancer. Similarly, not everyone can be lucky in business ventures. However, there are already many innovations that can help you succeed in whatever path you choose. For example, if you are a freelancer and you think working with other freelancers will be better for you, you can make use of the internet for easy collaboration. Also, if you want to establish a business and you want to save on office rental costs, you can just start renting hot desks to establish an official business address.

Technological advancements and innovations offer many advantages to help address the challenges of not going the traditional ways of building a career or having a livelihood. You just have to be ingenious, resourceful, and determined.


Tags: Southeast Asia, Startup, flexible workspaces, industry insights, freelancer, employment

Suvi Hoikka

Suvi Hoikka is Digital Marketing Manager at FlySpaces, an online marketplace for office space. She writes about anything and everything revolving around the workspace industry. Whether it’s the coolest rooftop event spaces in Jakarta or latest trends in office space diversity, her works continue to open relevant discussions on various workspace topics around the web.

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