It’s Really Ok to Have a 9-to-5 Job

The side gig economy isn't for everyone.

If you’re a 20- or 30-something, you’re probably familiar with the “gig economy.” You may eschew the idea of a traditional office job. You may drive a Lyft and work as a barista to support your passion project.

Even if you don’t, chances are, you know someone who does: Three in 10 Americans qualify as gig-economy workers and earn an estimated $1 trillion per year from their efforts. This fluid movement between jobs and among employers seems to be the new standard for young adults in 2017.

However, the perception that all millennials prefer gig work over the traditional 9-to-5 job isn’t entirely correct: Research suggests that younger Americans are actually looking for more stable roles that offer mentorship, growth opportunities, and experiences that set them up for long-term success. From health insurance to happy hours, here are a few of the best benefits of a nine-to-five job.

Feel Secure in Your Finances

Unlike gigs and side hustles, a more traditional job offers consistent work with a consistent income. Sure, you can make a really good living as a freelancer, but a salaried position — or an hourly job with a full-time schedule — generally ensures steady compensation, which allows you to better plan, budget, and save for your financial goals.

This stability matters, especially to millennials who have room to improve when it comes to long-term planning and debt management. According to the Charles Schwab Modern Wealth Index, six in ten 20-somethings lack a monthly savings goal or a household budget, while fewer than one-third have an emergency fund that covers at least three months of living expenses. Sixty-seven percent don’t always make their student loan and mortgage payments on time, and 69 percent have credit card debt.

In addition to a formal compensation structure, many employers also offer retirement savings plans with matching contributions. These accounts are built with deposits taken directly from your paycheck, which means you won’t be tempted to spend that cash on other items. Even if your employer doesn’t offer a plan or match, you can still set aside a sum from each paycheck in an individual retirement account. Investing in these plans early and often allows compound interest to work in your favor.

Build Your Benefits

A huge perk of a traditional job is not having to DIY your benefits, says Brianna McGurran, a career and education expert at NerdWallet. Companies with dozens to thousands of employees are likely to offer a benefits package in addition to your salary and retirement plan, including medical and dental insurance, performance bonuses, paid time off, maternity leave, and extra perks like travel stipends and reimbursement for gym memberships.

Depending on your employee status, your employer will also manage your tax withholding over the course of the year, so you aren’t hit with a huge bill in April.

Set Clear Boundaries

By definition, a nine-to-five job has set hours for work. Though employees are expected to be flexible, there are relatively clear boundaries between professional and personal lives.

“In an entrepreneurial, startup, or [an] otherwise nontraditional environment, it’s more likely for work to creep into your personal life,” says Casey Bond, managing editor of StudentLoanHero.com. “By sticking with a nine-to-five, your hours are clearly set and you can turn your brain off work mode once the day is over. That leaves room to focus on family, hobbies, or even a successful side hustle.”

Build Your Skill Set

Shea Drake, a Verizon business analyst by day and freelance photographer at night, notes that a nine-to-five job can help you build skills that will foster your entrepreneurial side.

Being accountable to a manager and a team requires time management, organization, and interpersonal skills, and more experienced coworkers make great mentors. Many companies also offer stipends for continuing education and professional development courses, which can often be too expensive to pay for out of pocket.

Get Social

Working from home in your PJs may sound like the dream, but the reality is that freelance and remote positions can be isolating. An office environment offers an opportunity to socialize with coworkers who share your interests and perhaps even builds a community of friends outside of work. It also encourages collaboration and communication with different personalities — a skill that will come in handy if you ever manage your own employees.

Valerie Streif, a senior career advisor at The Mentat, adds that not everyone is cut out to be a self-made entrepreneur — and that’s OK.

It’s easy to get caught up in the hype of being a “hustler,” she says, but some people are better suited to the structure of a more traditional work environment. If that’s you — or if you just need a break from your hustle — don’t be afraid to seek out a nine-to-five job. It may even end up building the very skills you need to become a successful entrepreneur down the road.

Join the Discussion

One Response to “It’s Really Ok to Have a 9-to-5 Job”

  1. Jennifer Kennedy

    I appreciate this article. I just stopped freelancing last year, and I’ve really needed to grapple with the idea that I wasn’t a failure for taking a job. You’ve reminded me that this is all a journey and sometimes our priorities shift. Thank you!