Ditching the 9-to-5 Isn’t for Everyone

by Miranda Marquit · 11 comments

My money is made from the comfort of my own home. I get to sit in my pajamas until lunchtime, and if something comes up, I can set the work aside and go do something else.

Recently, my colleague Alexa wrote about the freedom she enjoys as a freelancer, and I can relate. I feel a great deal of freedom with my choices. I could never go back to working in an office, where they tell you what to do and when to do it.

However, not everyone is comfortable or happy when they get out of a more traditional work setting. I associate with a number of people who work from home and set their own hours, so sometimes I forget that not everyone wants the lifestyle I have.

In fact, some people prefer a more traditional 9-to-5 job. My husband, for example, likes to have a regular job to go to (although he largely chooses his own hours since he teaches at the college level).

Ditching the 9-to-5 isn’t for everyone. Here are some reasons people prefer the traditional workforce:

The Work (Usually) Stays at Work

One of the biggest reasons people like the idea of a traditional job is that the work usually stays at work. You go, you do your work, you come home. It’s very easy to create (and keep) a dividing line between work and home. While my husband sometimes has grading to do at home, and occasionally a student calls or texts him for help, most of his work is done in his office, and he can relax at home.

When you’re an entrepreneur, or when you work from home, you don’t always get that separation. You can’t just go on vacation; your work comes with you. And there’s always something that you could probably be doing. If you don’t strike that balance, you can lose your home and family life altogether.

Regular Paychecks, Plus Benefits

The reality of my situation is that I have an irregular income. While I have a base income from regular gigs, there’s a portion of my income that is variable. On top of that, not all my clients pay me at the same time every month, and sometimes they’re late.

This doesn’t usually happen when you have a traditional job. Your pay comes at the same time, every time, like clockwork. Plus, you usually get benefits, like personal days, health insurance, a retirement account (perhaps with matching contributions), and other perks. For some people, that’s the way they want things to be. They want to be able to go to work, get paid on time, and then go home.

And there’s nothing wrong with that.

Do you prefer the 9-to-5? Or do you want to work from home?

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Court April 1, 2014 at 5:25 am

I haven’t had the opportunity to work from home so I’ve been stuck in the 9-5 rut. The idea of working from home is appealing to me. The main reason I want to work from home is due to that flexibility and freedom you pointed out.

Out of curiosity, what has been your biggest struggle (besides irregular income) you have experienced working from home?

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David Ning April 1, 2014 at 8:18 pm

I can probably shed some light on the topic. The biggest struggle for me, after a while, is actually keeping in shape. When you work at home, it’s easy to fall into the trap of sitting in front of the computer all day and if you do the same thing for years, your health slowly but surely declines more rapidly than if you worked a traditional 9-5 where you are forced to move around.

Luckily for me, I noticed the difference and started exercising much more but I could easily have kept on “decaying”.

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ChrisCD April 1, 2014 at 7:40 am

I tried working from home for about 7-months. I was too easily distracted. My wife was also homeschooling at the time. The company I worked for didn’t always pay on-time and we didn’t have any back-up savings so that created problems. I ended up taking on a part-time job that was regular. That ended up becoming a full-time, regular job.

I enjoy the daily interaction with people at the office and do have some retirement and healthy benefits.

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David Ning April 1, 2014 at 8:20 pm

Funny how you mention that your wife homeschools because we have a 1 year old and it’s very distracting even though my wife is the designated primary caretaker. It’s hard to concentrate on work when a baby is crying even if it’s in another room!

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David Ning April 1, 2014 at 8:22 pm

I’ve been lucky enough to be able to work from home on my own business. It’s a dream like situation even though not everything is peachy. I obvious don’t miss the traffic but sometimes I miss going to another location where I can leave my work and not have to bring the issues home!

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Property Marbella April 3, 2014 at 2:49 am

I work from home and I get much more done in less time and more time for my family, while I save money in transportation and food costs, which I otherwise would have had if I worked in an office.

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Luis April 3, 2014 at 2:10 pm

Something peculiar for me is when I started like a hobby repairing computers in our apartment, now I have to move because it’s growing and I need more space. But, thinking on this, the good thing of working home is that you must discipline yourself in choosing your working hours and your free time. I’d had the same experience when going out for vacations, reconfiguring laptops in a hotel room while your wife and kids are swimming in warmy pool. Also, the customer doesn’t pay you on time, but that isn’t always. The good part of this is, that you can save and do a lot of things with YOUR MONEY without being followed by Uncle Sam.
Thanks for this topic, is very interest.
Luis

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David Ning April 5, 2014 at 9:53 am

Discipline is definitely very important for people who work at home. Otherwise, you will get consumed by work because the “office” is so easy to get to.

Funny you mention working on vacations because I have done exactly the same thing!

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Alex @ Credit Card XPO April 4, 2014 at 8:53 am

I ditched a well paid consulting job 10 years ago and started my own business. I enjoy the freedom to work when I want, where I want. The downside is I have to pay a premium for health insurance and it can be hard to meet new people and expand your social network. I have a 5-year old son and 2-year old daughter, like David said, sometimes it’s hard to get work done when they are in the same house even I have my own home office. Ironically, sometimes I wish I had a 9-5 job just so that I could go out and get a break from the kids. lol.

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David Ning April 5, 2014 at 9:54 am

Hehe I hear ya. I have the same feeling about wanting a 9-5 sometimes and it’s the “the grass is greener on the other side” mentality.

At the end of the day, we work at home and don’t have to deal with the insanity of office politics, can spend time with the kids, and we can pay the bills. It’s a very good deal.

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Denene @ Earn More. Live Well April 7, 2014 at 7:58 pm

I worked from home for about a year before I had to break down and take a part time job until I could land another full time job. I continued freelancing and working my part time office job because I craved the structure and (semi) security of a regular paycheck. I was happy to see this post because it’s something that is rarely said. Most articles are telling people how to ditch their jobs. But I much prefer to have a traditional job and earn extra money on the side through my side hustles (writing, virtual assisting).

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