Funny thing. I was working on the yearly performance evaluation and appraisal forms of staff (and mine) when this article (on “Why You Can’t Rely on a Salary to Get Rich“) from Business Insider popped up. Talk about the Internet gods doing their inception thing.

It’s not really a unique concept to me. Ever since I got a bit smart about how capitalism works, I’ve known that being employed (particularly if you’re not a C-level executive for a large firm) is simply being a cog to the machine and that no matter how well you perform, you’re still just making others’ dreams come true.

Sure some employees have also grown with their companies. Let’s take Google’s first employees for example. They got stock options and many were able to cash them in for millions. But still, that’s chump change compared to the founders’ billions. Never mind if it only ever works if the company made it big.

Employers can be quite generous but not everyone. If there’s an employer that values their people more than their bottom line, then that’s more likely an exception rather than the rule. I know some business owners who talk big when it comes to mission statements and corporate values and yet elects to reward themselves first over their people who have made sacrifices to build someone else’s business.

So why aren’t many Filipinos ditch employment and go on to become business owners?

Putting up a business is a challenge. The Philippines hates small businesses. Take out the inherent challenges of the market and you’re still left with the miles and miles of red tape you have to navigate just to legally set it up. There’s also  the issue of capital where you do need a substantial war chest to fund your business through its growth phases.

Plenty of young Filipinos have done it, but it’s usually with the help of “investors” in the form of rich parents. Probably why I simply carry more respect for entrepreneurs who built their business with grit over those who had generous benefactors to kickstart their efforts.

Now, it’s quite tempting to launch into a rant about how the system is totally anti-development and that the status quo is inherently a hegemonic ploy to keep the electorate dumb and middle class few and antsy. They are.

That said, I think that owning a business is the way to go for me. Helping others build theirs can get pretty tiring. I’d like to think that I’m taking time to learn and build a war chest but that little goblin at the back of my mind is screaming, “No better time than the present!” I am just acknowledging the challenges of building one and contextualize why employment remains to be a popular and quite secure way of earning a living.

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