100 Words On: Why You’ll Never Get Rich Working for ‘the Man’

Many folks who work for others love to complain about the professionally unsatisfying nine-to-five grind of their daily job, yet refuse to change the status quo. That’s because the perceived relative safety of their steady job — and the guaranteed weekly paycheck that ultimately comes with it — is usually enough to keep them on the hamster wheel, even when the job is stifling and unfulfilling. True, that strategy may ensure long-term employment, but it won’t make you rich — even with an annual salary of $100,000.

The bottom line: Playing it safe never maximized anybody’s financial potential — that requires taking a risk via entrepreneurship.

Photo Credit: Images Money


  1. 1


    There’s been many stories about people who are rich and have made far less than $100k. It’s not about the job you have or even the income, it’s about your lifestyle, your savings, and your committment. I’ve seen a lot of people that I know are rich work for companies big and small for their entire career.

    • 2

      Len Penzo says

      If you are equating “financially free” with “rich” then I will agree with you. There are lots of folks who are financially free making far less than $100k.

      If not, all I can say is there will always be outliers, but rich people (as in wealthy) earning an average salary — or even a very good one — working for an employer are going to be the exception, rather than the rule. Unless you are an entrepreneur, your income will always be limited to some degree — not so for the risk takers in life. The sky is the limit!

      (That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!) 😉

  2. 4


    Not all “employee” jobs are unsatisfying! Some of my career was in executive level jobs which were very satisfying. The earnings were not bad either! My side business (rental property) became my main focus and I was happier. It changed how I looked at my career then and in the future.

  3. 5


    If they’re able to start saving just a small portion of their earnings early enough in their working lives, and leverage the power of time through compounding they may have a chance. But it requires incredible foresight that not many have when they’re young and foolish. I certainly didn’t, so having to make amends to myself in other ways; working harder, smarter and through entrepreneurship like you say.

  4. 6


    to me that is the defintion of a free enterprise system yet schools are teaching kids to be members of the labor force as employees.

    the funny thing is that there are 27 million businesses out there but only 6 million of them have employees. what does that tell ya?

    • 7

      Len Penzo says

      Great point, Griper.

      If I only knew then what I know now, I would have taken a risk and started my own business.

  5. 8

    CandiO says

    Some of us love our 9 to 5 daily grind job and it pays pretty well! I also had to work up to a 9 to 5 job from nights and shift work so I appreciate a fixed daytime schedule. I also could not own my own business (feasibly, it can be done but most I have know could not be sustained due to the legal issues) in my profession in my state without rewriting state law. Now I do support and contribute to my professional organization that tries every year to change the state law but realistically it’s not going to happen anytime soon. So don’t knock “employees”, some of us have found a passion and a pretty good income working for someone else.

    • 9

      Salamander says

      I don’t think Len is knocking 9-5 workers. He’s saying that the only way to get super rich is to work for yourself!

    • 10

      Len Penzo says

      I hear ya, CandiO. I enjoy my 9-to-5 job too. But even though it pays me very well, it won’t make me a wealthy man. :-)

  6. 11


    Len is correct – the key here is leverage.

    Employing capital to create your own business allows one the ability to scale. You can sell $10k or $1M each year in your own business, depending on how you run it.

    Comparatively, your salary is fixed.

  7. 12

    Fubar says

    Whilst I was a carpenter for 13 years I was earning good money but of a evening worked online learning programming and online marketing

    I started making a little money online but because of work I could not put as much time into as I would like used to get in at 6pm, shower, dinner fall asleep and repeat

    The decision do I quit carpentry or not, I had it easy with carpentry but as most trades will tell you “you will never get rich on the tools”

    I had already wasted 13 years and was not much better off

    Then a friend who is successful told me this which I always think about

    “fear is what stops you”

    We all love safety nets but nearly all rich people have had to take risks that’s why they are where they are some you win some you don’t

    I not saying take stupid risks, but people need to get over the fear and stop thinking it never work

    Anyway I quit carpentry 3 years ago and whilst there been times I thought It was all going wrong waiting for payments or earnings down for a month and wondering if i better start resharping my chisels

    it was the best decision of my life

    And whilst I earn more now then I ever did with carpentry it’s not the money it’s the freedom to do and try different things when you want to that I love

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