7 Hard Truths of Being an Employee

Last Updated on: September 21, 2023

Being an employee and working on a 9-5 job is the normal route for many because it is relatively safe and provides security and certainty compared to its entrepreneurial counterparts.

However, though there are many advantages to being an employee, there are also disadvantages and even hard truths that many of us have experienced or are still experiencing.

In this post, we’ll talk about these hard truths I learned through my experience, conversations with other people, and what I’ve read on forums.

1. You Are Expendable.

The hardest truth about being an employee is that everyone is expendable, no matter how highly valuable or irreplaceable you think of yourself in your company.

Though you may be a great contributor within the company, you are still just a cog on the company’s wheel, and if worse comes to worst, they will not think twice about letting you go.

Though this is less likely for regular employees in the Philippines than in countries like the US, there is still a possibility.

With the rise of globalization, artificial intelligence, ChatGPT, and automation, there is a high chance that you’ll be a liability soon and had to be let go if you don’t do your part to upskill and be a valued commodity in the job market.

In addition, you need to take care of your health because your body is your greatest asset, and if you fall ill or incapacitated to work, your company will not think twice before replacing you.

2. Talkers Will Often Be Ahead.

Whether we accept it or not, the people who talk a lot more are likely to get promoted, get accepted, have a raise, and more, than a quiet worker silently doing their job in the background.

This is because talkers are often perceived as leaders, even if they don’t have any substance in what they say, as mentioned in this article from the World Economic Forum.

So if you’re the quiet guy or gal who loves working on the background and avoiding presentation tasks, then your plan of promotion may become slim.

But to be fair, there are still opportunities for introverts in the company. They just have to know when to exert their energy to talk.

3. Not All Opportunities Are Greener Grass.

We often hear the phrase that the grass is always greener on the other side, indicating that job opportunities outside your current work may be more appealing.

However, this is not always the truth. There are also instances when people looking for a new career opportunity regret leaving their previous lower-paying company with a healthy working culture in exchange for a higher-paying company but treat their employees like tools.

So whenever you’re contemplating joining a new company offering a great compensation package, it is still good to perform a background check and ask about the company culture.

4. Some Co-Workers Will Not Be Your Friends.

Many people treat their companies and workmates like they were in high school and try to make friends with all of them.
Unfortunately, this is not the case once you enter the workforce.

Depending on your company culture, you may think that making friends is important to create a healthy working environment. However, not everyone will share that thought.

This is because everyone working for a company has their agenda. While many still prefer working in a healthy environment and building rapport with their workmates, others may view their job as their way of earning while studying, working on their business, or supporting their family.

The same goes with people treating their work as their family because, most often than not, not everyone will share the same sentiment.

I believe in the power of education and how it opens up opportunities that will bring you one step closer to your goal. However, this will not be true for everyone.

Many people study for a degree chosen for them, whether chosen by their parents, grandparents, a scholarship opportunity, or their high school self.

Because of this, they would graduate and get a job related to their degree, thinking that if they don’t work in a related field, they will waste four or more years of college.

However, working on a job that doesn’t fit your passion and skills will only burn you out until you don’t want to do it anymore. Unfortunately, some people will realize this later in life, when changing careers is almost impossible.

On the other hand, there are times when people will get into jobs unrelated to their degrees because they need to earn, even if they are underemployed.

Remember that your degree, or even the lack of it, should never define your future. Maximize your skills and energy to do something that you’ll find worthwhile.

6. There Is No Perfect Job.

When you change companies because you don’t like the boss or the people, the culture, the job description, the location, or other things, there is a high probability you won’t find the ‘perfect’ job for you — and it is because your perfect job may not exist.

When looking for a job, we often look at these considerations: compensation, location, culture, and flexibility.

Unfortunately, these considerations will often be a tug-of-war. Favoring one string will often reduce one of the other three, so we need to be careful.

Remember that in the jobs that we do, there will always be trade-offs. You may find a high-paying job in a toxic environment, or you may find great workmates that pay poorly.

So, when looking for a job, don’t look for the perfect job. Instead, look for a job that fits your personality and long-term goals.

7. You Are Not Your Job.

Many adults often attribute their job to who they are, and it becomes their personality.

Imagine you’re in a social gathering. When you’re asked about what you do, do you say your job title, or do you say something else? 

But what if we remove our suits of armor? How will we introduce ourselves?

I think absorbing our job into our personal lives is one of the mistakes adults normally make. We often associate who we are with what we do in our job, but what if we suddenly lose our jobs? Will it also take away our personality?

So hopefully, we will always care for ourselves, our health, and our relationships. Practice work-life balance.

Final Thought

Working as an employee has advantages and disadvantages, and there are also hard pills to swallow when entering the workforce.

Hopefully, we will learn to be more than just our job and live an intentional life.

But whatever field we enter and work we do, we must always give our best because we are blessed with opportunities that are not given to everyone.

God bless you!

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