Top Ten Reasons to Remain a Wage Slave

Steve Pavlina’s recent posts 10 Myths About Self-Employment and 10 Reasons You Should Never Get a Job inspired me to create my own top-ten list.

Why be an entrepreneur? You know, entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone. And it isn’t as great as entrepreneurial bloggers say it is. Being an employee has some serious advantages. Here are the top ten reasons to remain a wage slave:

10. Some people actually like being employees. At least that’s the rumor. And they spend an awful lot of energy complaining— er, I mean, proclaiming to the world how much they love it! And if you’re one of them, you may be better off as a wage slave. Because an entrepreneur needs to spend that energy making things better, not complaining about how bad things are.

9. It’s easier to coast on through. I mean, to be an entrepreneur, you’d actually have to be motivated. How many people are excited, motivated, and still miserable? Trust me, you can be just as miserable without the motivation it takes to succeed as an entrepreneur. The boss is motivated enough for both of you, and he can always browbeat you when he needs a little extra performance. No need to become engaged in what you do.

8. You don’t have to do any of the hard work. You don’t have to make any of the hard decisions. The buck does not stop here. There’s always someone higher up in management. If you ran your own business, you’d have to make it work. But as a wage slave, there’s someone else whose job it is to figure that out. That’s why it’s easier to get a job than to run a business. It’s the low-hanging fruit. And easy come, easy go.

7. It’s a dog’s life. To paraphrase Steve Pavlina, when you want to increase your income, you have to sit up and beg your master for an extra Scooby Snack. And then you roll over and have your belly rubbed. And who doesn’t love that?

6. You need something to blame your fears on. And if you had no employer, who would you blame then? Who would take responsibility for your fears? Or your future? Trust me, you’ll be much happier if you can make it someone else’s fault when you’re miserable.

5. It’s all about the money. It’s not about the experience, the freedom, the personal growth, or the opportunity to help others. It’s about the money. And the easiest and quickest way to make a quick buck is still to hire yourself out to someone else’s dreams. ‘Nuff said.

4. You’re not a big dreamer. Yeah, you have a lot of warm fuzzies about the kinds of things you’d like to accomplish. Those are your “dreams.” But you don’t actually see them in your mind’s eye. You haven’t actually experienced them in your imagination. And you don’t actually believe you can ever have them. They must remain just dreams. Besides, if you actually believed in your dreams, you might actually find a way to make them a reality! And that would just be too horrifying.

3. Uncle Sam needs you. At least in the U.S., there’s a good reason the rich keep getting richer and the poor keep getting poorer. Because the IRS extracts more from the working class to pay for government programs than from investors. It does so because wages is where most of the money is. As an entrepreneur, you’d become an investor in your own future, with all the tax loopholes that come along with it. And the temptation would just be too great. You’d become one of them! Ugh! I can’t think of anything more disgraceful.

2. Why challenge the status quo? Most people believe that being an entrepreneur is more risky, more stressful, and less profitable than good, old-fashioned hard work. (Because we all know that in the old-fashioned days, everyone was someone else’s wage slave, and the best workers never worked for themselves and their own families.) Even if most people’s beliefs are wrong—and I’m not saying that they are—why challenge them? Just think of how bad things could get if you actually became successful as an entrepreneur. Everyone would think you were out to get them, and they’d hate you. Why risk that?

And finally…

1. Who needs freedom anyway? Philosophers and fiction writers have made much of man’s innate need to be free, or something like that. But come off it! We don’t want to be free. We’d rather feel safe. That’s why human societies appoint for themselves dictatorial governments, not just once in a while but repeatedly through history. And that’s why most people prefer to be wage slaves. It’s easy, and it’s comfortable. You don’t need to be in control of your own life any more than they do theirs.

As I prepare my own foray into entrepreneurship, I’m encountering many of these arguments among my friends and family. I understand, because I’ve been there. In fact, though I make fun of these objections, they came mostly from the dark part of my own psyche. It’s not as dark as it once was. I used to spend all my energy complaining about what I didn’t like. I still do sometimes, but hopefully less than I did before. Because I finally figured out that no one is going to make my life better, unless I do myself. So I respect their feelings and concerns, and I need to stay focused on the goals that will make my dream a reality. Stay tuned to this blog, as I’ll definitely be posting here more stories of my saga.

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I’ve done both, had my own business, and been an employee. Right now, I’m an employee. I was NOT ready to own my own business back then – both technical skills, and BUSINESS skills.

I still don’t think I’m ready. Maybe if I could find someone to help with marketing. Frankly, I stank at it – I had problems selling myself. DO NOT underestimate this.. I’ve known more than 1 highly skilled, highly motivated person who started their own business, but did NOT have the skills to market said business. Program 12 hours a day, produce great code, on time, etc – and then SIT waiting for more work – well, not sit – they were TRYING to market, but stank at it..

Hi, Charlie. You’re absolutely right that you need certain skills to run a successful business, and not everyone has them right out of high school. I did not, and for a long time I was completely unqualified to run a business. I had awful people skills and awful marketing skills. And I even believed I would never be able to acquire these skills, because I believed it was just not in my nature to have them. Now, many years later, I finally have suitable people and marketing skills, which I’ve proven on a small scale. In any case, I completely understand, and you’re right. But if you want to run your own business, I wouldn’t give up on the idea.


[…]  J. Timothy King  describes the  Top Ten Reasons to Remain a Wage Slave:  Not everyone wants to be an entrepreneur.  Timothy lays out the reasons not to be. […]

Awesome list! I hadn’t actually thought of number 5 before, yet its so true. People get a job for one reason, to make money. They don’t get a job to “help people” or “try to change things”. That is totally flipping the lid on what everyone would like you to believe. Entrepreneurs are supposed to be the selfish ones. “Capitalist fat cats” is usually the prefered term. But, we are the ones trying to change things, trying to make things better for people. Our motivations aren’t as selfish as people with jobs, plus we actually create jobs, thus other people will benefit from our work. Did you read businesspundits article that tried to show up steve pavlina’s? I wrote a rebuttel to it, you can check it out here if you want:

[…] Eric Allam of 52 Reviews posted an interesting comment on my post “Top Ten Reasons to Remain a Wage Slave,” which is a spoof off of a couple of Steve Pavlina’s “list of 10″ posts. Eric linked to a post on his blog, “BusinessPundit lays out 10 misconceptions of entrepreneurship, reveals his hypocrisy,” in which he rebutted criticisms Robert May of had leveled at Steve Pavlina’s post. (Whew! I’m outta breath!) […]

Charlie, same here.

While I am still self-employed, I don’t have employees anymore. And I now do contract work mainly, not big dream projects. Got at lot of pressure off my chest this way, and a lot of happiness and objectivity back into my life. You see, a big dream you’re invested in easily becomes an obsession, blocking your further development. So: If you’re not fully qualified in terms of perseverance, people skills, business skills, love for risk and decisions, and the readiness to abandon ship when your inner self tells you it’s time, you will likely make yourself miserable being an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs fail more often than they succeed. You need to be able to cope with that.


[…] Trudno się zatem dziwić, że opinia tak popularnej osoby, jaką jest Steve, nie pozostała niezauważona. Oprócz wyważonych komentarzy, np. tu i tu na wpis Pavliny, pojawiły się również ostrzejesze tony. Oczywiście, najwięcej było słów uznania. […]

Charlie, I completely agree with yr points and Fear but U also need to listen to what Eric Allum said, particularly #5 of TimK article. I have the same fear but have the inner calling of giving back to my community in whatever capacity. I just realised this past week that I’ve been doing it on a smaller scale with my services to the church but now more compell to offer more of my Computer, technical and multimedia skills on a larger scale, though still battling with how to survive with my family of 5 with my entrepreneurship income. readinf these articles and others, we need to build up our marketting and econic skills to survive the startup fears.

[…] So, some good things, some bad. It’s a trade-off. But even the bad things I’m happy about. When I wrote “Top Ten Reasons to Remain a Wage Slave,” I was being sarcastic. Not everyone seemed to get the sarcasm. I guess that makes sense, because sarcasm is based on irony, which contains a kernel of reality, or at least of plausibility. Reading it now, though, those reasons just sound silly. Why would anyone ever want to live for someone else, rather than living for himself? It just doesn’t seem real. […]

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[…] of a bunch of ads for a German job-ad site. The concept is: What if every vending machine had a wage slave inside doing all the actual work? The tag line is “Life’s too short for the wrong […]

[…] Du kan læse hele indlægget her: Top 10  Reasons to Remain a Wage Slave […]

[…] “Top Ten Reasons to Remain a Wage Slave” […]

Well,well,well. Basically what you’ve done here is to define two types of characters…the visionary that creates work and the worker that prefers security…However- aren’t these still two types of work-slavery? Both types generate money with the major motivation of having to pay the bills to be able to live – which is work slavery…but using two different approaches.

The thing is – and I think that might be worth writing a blog on, which actually I might get on to do in a bit…-do we actually have the option of escaping work slavery…?Or is the only way to do that to become totally self-sufficient and cut off from society…as everything costs money in our society…and to generate this money you’d have to fit in and do your work part…you see what I mean. In fact it’s quite depressing thinking about it.So yeah-I prefer your blog actually.

Hi, Nadine. Thanks for stopping by! I’ve subscribed to your blog, and I’ll try to read your blog post.

I guess we are in money slavery… or rather, slavery to each other to survive. But I’m not sure that’s really the issue for me, because we all need each other survive, as human beings. For me, wage-slave vs. entrepreneur is more of a question of lifestyle and values. As an entrepreneur, you get to define your own lifestyle and values, for richer or for poorer. As an employee—for as long as you’re desperate to remain an employee—you give up a little of that independence.


I am so glad I came across this blog. Very thought provoking and truthful.

I am going into business for myself and it is scary. However, what is even more scary is the thought of working another 20-30+ years for another employer. I’d rather take out 10 of those years and work extremely hard on my business(es) and eventually write my own checks.

Sorry, but you have just motivated me a lot more in absolutely NOT becoming a wage slave…

I’m sorry but if you can sit here agree with these points and tell yourself “you’ll never become anything” then yes you should remain a wage slave. This blog actually motivates me to continue my path on being self employed just by reading the comments by a bunch of yes man wage slaves shows how different i am from the pack of losers in society

Charles, Skratch: Then I have achieved what I set out to do. I was surprised, shortly after writing this piece, that a number of people actually thought I was serious. I had intended it to be sarcastic, sardonic even. But I guess there really are people in the world who are more comfortable being a wage slave. -TimK

I think you do the employees of the world an injustice. Your talk here treats them as second class citizens, and if that’s how you really feel,then I hope you don’t hope to hire employees in your new endeavors (and I hope they never read this). The thing that inspired me to become self-employed was working for a guy who constantly forgot that his employees were the ones making the money. When I started my own thing, I promised not to be that way. I appreciate my employees and they appreciate me. It makes me wish I had a boss like me back in the day. I would love to be able to forget all the administrative garbage that comes from ownership and concentrate on doing the work I love.

[…] across this blog today. […]

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