Showdown 4: Stress

March 22, 2007

Posted in Small Business.

This is part four of a series exploring factors in self-employment and traditional employment. For more about this series, read the opening article.


How stressful the position is

Self Boss
Pros Cons Pros Cons
  • Working for yourself is directly rewarding and satisfying
  • You choose your hours and environment
  • You can eliminate the office politics, ridiculous demands
  • You can pick your customers and policies
  • Sometimes politics and ridiculous demands
    come from your customers
  • The success (or failure) of the business is on your shoulders
  • You have to deal with problems yourself – you can’t pass the buck
  • You wear a lot of hats, so you have to learn quick and do work you may not care for (e.g., bookkeeping)
  • You wear relatively few hats
  • You can seek help with difficult situations
  • Not worrying about the overall success of the company means you can focus on your work
  • Office politics and unreasonable demands can take a major toll
  • Sometimes the only recourse for a tough situation is to find a different job – which is highly stressful
  • You can’t always take a vacation or break when you need one the most


Working for yourself is very satisfying. As stressful and demanding as self-employment may be, your freedom and the reward of a victory are enough to temper the stress. They keep you going, even when business is tough. But a regular job is stressful all the time – and you rarely have the freedom and flexibility to adjust to your own personal work habits. On a Friday afternoon when you’re just not productive, being able to start the weekend early is a huge perk.

Winner: Self-Employment