Updated: April 29, 2012

By Kelly Crigger 

“I don’t want to work in a cubicle,” you tell the world as you get ready to retire from the service. “When I retire I’m going to be my own boss. Not gonna work for anyone.” 

Pump the brakes, kid. Let’s think about this.  

When you do a job you hate, in a tiny cubicle, for a giant corporation with asshole supervisors that doesn’t give a shit about you, it’s easy to turn it off. It’s easy to jump out of your seat at 5 o’clock, dust your hands off, go home and forget about it. It’s easy not to let it bother you…at all. You can sit at your desk and blankly stare out the window or pretend to do work and still get a paycheck because the profits and losses of the company don’t concern you. The corporation could be uber profitable or flirting with complete shutdown, but as long as your piggy bank keeps getting stuffed, it doesn’t matter.  

And if you aren’t passionate about the job, you don’t leave with it on your mind. You don’t get in the car and obsess over how to make it better. You don’t look around at every little thing other companies are doing and ask, “how can I do that for my business?” 

On the opposite side of the galaxy is the entrepreneur who started a business either because he loves it or he has a syphilis-like burning desire to make tons of money. But here’s the drawback – when you do something you love, something that keeps you excited all the time and pervades your soul, you cannot turn it off. Ever. It’s always there. Every time you have a good idea or a moment of creativity you ask yourself how can you apply it to your business. Every time you laugh at a commercial, you ask yourself how you can be that funny with your product. Every time you see and ad, a marketing event, or even a protest, you ponder why you are or are not doing those same things or how effective they might be if you did. Owning a business is like having an STD. It never goes away…ever.  

The worst part about doing something you love is that you love it more than you should. Everyone around you has to compete with it for your time. Your wife, your kids, your dog, they all want you to snap out of it, stop thinking about the business, and give them some attention. They all want you to put the phone down, step away from the computer, and be there. Really be there too, not blankly staring out the window wondering about the things you think you should be doing. And that’s a very difficult thing when you run your own business. 

Don’t have a family? Entrepreneurialism may be right for you then. But before you make the leap into the unknown, keep in mind that there’s something to be said for a job that you just don’t give a shit about.




  1. Dontworryaboutit

    April 30, 2012 at 1:06 pm

    Boy, isn’t THAT the truth! Whew…I sure do identify with that. I turn that stuff off every day I walk out the DOOR!!! It is a great feeling to leave it all here.

  2. Thomas Fitzgibbon

    April 30, 2012 at 3:36 pm

    Thanks for the read. I’m currently working for one of the biggest oil corporations on Earth, and like you say I should, I tune the place out completely every time I walk out the gate. It’s a luxury I enjoy every time I’m reminded of how much I hate working there, but there’s also a flip-side to it. I got out of the Army eight years ago, unwillingly, but for the right reasons (family stuff), and needless to say I wasn’t ready to get out. I like to be a productive, to know that I’m making a difference, rather than just going through the motions for idiot managers, doing stuff that has no productive meaning what so ever, collecting a check and going home. Like the young veteran you mentioned in the beginning, I’ve had dreams of owning my own business, something I’m actually pursuing right now with a fellow Veteran Brother. You’re right; it does consume you. Even in the first few weeks that the idea was brought up we spent every day talking about ideas, drawing potential products, coming up with marketing plans, and this is only in its infant stages. We know it’s going to be hard in the beginning, especially for our families, because we are doing this in addition to our current jobs, in hopes that we will one day make enough money to run with it full time. We know it will be difficult, and you’re correct in every way that it will consume us, but at the same time, it’s been eight years since I got out of the Army, and I still can’t shake that feeling of wanting to take the initiative and move forward with something great. We know the odds are against us, but working against the odds is what we did best, otherwise we would have never made it in the Infantry. Thank you for the great write-up. It’s good to know that we aren’t the only ones who’ve had the drive to take initiative.

  3. Rick

    May 1, 2012 at 3:14 pm

    I received my Honorable Discharge in 1993. It was a major culture shock. I couldn’t stand civilians because they were always whining about things that didn’t even matter. I couldn’t find a job, and nobody gave a crap that I had served. For their purposes, I might as well have just graduated high school.

    After three years of holding multiple full-time and part-time jobs, I struck a deal with some business partners, and we started our own business. I never worked so hard in my life. I must have put in 12-hour days 7 days a week for months on end. After a year of being the only one really working I said to hell with it and quit. It’s not like I was getting paid.

    These 20 years later, I’m a schmuck, sitting at my desk, working for one of the biggest financial institutions in the world. I punch the clock at 0800 and again at 1700. I walk out the door, and who I was that day ceases to be. And I’m fine with it because I know my paycheck is in the bank, and I’m going to pick up my little girl from day care.

  4. James

    May 29, 2012 at 11:12 pm

    Hey, I can sympathise, but one of the best things about the cubicle of death is that once you leave the Army, there are hardly any life of death decisions. Training isn’t about how to save you and your buddies life by staying out of trouble. Work is never about tactics, or battle plans, or intel, or any of that stuff!

    That was the best thing about becoming a civilian, I could stop worrying about soooooo much. Stuff like uniforms, parades, inspections, field problems, those things like OD, or even having to stay physically fit, no more APFT! Hey I can even go to work with a three day growth and nobody bats an eye. Then there was the fact that the most dangerous thing in my workplace isn’t an IED, but a very viscious photocopier that has drawn blood more that once! So, yep, give me being an employee any day!

    That is of course unless you go into law enforcement, but hey that discussion is for another day!

Get notified of new Rhino Den articles and videos as they come out, Also, find out before anyone else about new product launches and huge discounts from RangerUp.com, the proud parent of the Rhino Den.

  • Videos (The Damn Few and more!)
  • Military-inspired articles
  • MMA (and Tim Kennedy) coverage
Close this window

Join the Rhino Den / Ranger Up Nation

Read previous post:
Grammatical Retirement – “Going to War”

By Grin and Barrett High time we retired another overused, under-thought phrase popular in today’s lexicon.  This time, however, the...