I was privy to an interesting conversation a few weeks back about entrepreneurship and fulfillment. My sister had been taken aback by an Instagram Reel she saw that basically shamed people who worked 9-to-5s while touting the benefits of being an entrepreneur. It was as if one couldn't thrive at a 9-to-5, as if everyday professionals play themselves every day going into a regular J-O-B. My sister began to question whether she was missing out on something great in focusing on her 9-to-5 as a teacher (and a damn good, dedicated one, at that).
As a journalist, editor, and consultant, I have covered entrepreneurship (particularly in service to Black women) for almost two decades, and I’ve studied organizational leadership while earning my master’s degree, so I had to go into both journalist and big-sister-protector mode, immediately reassuring her that while entrepreneurship is an awesome endeavor, it’s not for everyone, and there’s no shame in working a 9-to-5 you love. Also, you can indeed build wealth and fulfillment when taking the traditional professional path.
We’ve all seen that theme being perpetuated on social, where influencers push hustle culture and entrepreneurship as the end-all-be-all to happiness and getting to the bag, all while disrespecting and disregarding the valuable work of 9-to-5ers.
Again, more power to my boss sistas (me included), but here’s the affirmation all my fabulous 9-to-5ers need, especially my young professionals who are early in their careers: Sis, it’s more than okay to love your job, be an employee, and thrive. And indeed, you can be financially free, happy, and accomplished without having a business account in your name or a brand you’re pushing on IG.
Here are a few stats to back that affirmation: According to recent Bureau of Labor stats, 1 in 5 businesses fail within the first year. And while Black women are among the fastest-growing groups in terms of entrepreneurship (with 2.7 million businesses across the U.S.) Black women have higher labor force participation rates than other women (at 58.8% compared with 56.2% for women overall). There are more than 75 million women in the workforce (compared with 12.3 million women-owned businesses), so sis, you’re not alone.
The key to thriving at a 9-to-5 is totally foreign to any IG Reel or TikTok video you might watch a million times regarding entrepreneurship. Here are five ways you can build a career you love and thrive as a 9-to-5 power woman:
1. Actually pursue (and do) work you like to do.
There are so many statistics about unemployment, inflation, and what's wrong in the world of working. Please don't let that drive you to take a job that you either hate or aren't passionate about. While we all have bills to pay, it's a better idea to always strategize for landing a job that aligns with your passions, skills, and financial goals, even if you have to start from the bottom with a mindset and plan of elevating. You won't always get that dream job on the first try or even after the 10th interview, but find ways to work for that dream company, build that dream life, or work for that dream boss.
Do your research, get the training needed, and find unique but authentic ways to brand yourself via LinkedIn or Facebook. If you have to take that just-to-pay-the-bills job in the meanwhile, set a few goals with deadlines so that you can focus on your plan and get a better job that's more of a fit for what you'd like to be doing.
Take a few assessments to see what you're good at, what skills you have, and where your weaknesses might be. Sit down and write what you love doing, scenarios where you felt empowered and loved, and the types of jobs or industries where you might find a fit for what you're called to do.
This tip might seem like a no-brainer, but oftentimes women take jobs that they know aren't a great fit from the job description or interview process, remain at the job for longer than they should, and end up in both a professional and financial rut. If you can avoid doing this, you have a better chance of thriving.
2. Invest in yourself, your growth, and your future. Make this a priority.
Even with a job you don't necessarily like or when working for a company that's not quite a good fit, there are ways to invest in yourself and your financial future. Be sure you're locked into their 401K, you're taking advantage of every benefit of the packages they offer, and you're taking every bit of PTO allowed. In your spare time, again, be sure you're looking to the future and applying for jobs or positions that meet the standards of your future self. If you love your job, be sure you're setting benchmarks and goals as to how you'll grow, when you'll apply for promotions, who you'd like to work with in the C-suite, and what projects you'd like to take the lead on.
If you want to build wealth at a 9-to-5, investing is a good idea, no matter how much you make, and boosting your savings goals is also something you should become deliberate about. Some companies still offer matches for retirement fund investing.
That's totally okay because you can take retirement and investment planning into your own hands by talking to someone at your local bank or other financial services company (like Fidelity, for example). You can set up a regular or Roth IRA to save for your future. If you find the FIRE strategy to be one you'd like to pursue while you're working a 9-to-5, there are several online resources and available coaches to guide you through that process.
If you're okay with retiring at the traditional age, seeking out companies that provide opportunities for retirement investment is key and you must ensure you have a great financial plan for that. Prioritize your financial planning as a 9-to-5 employee so that you can achieve the life you want. While there are several systemic barriers to equity and wealth building for Black women, nothing beats a disciplined savings strategy and a bit of planning savvy. (Here's some great guidance on how to boost your savings goals in other ways beyond retirement funds.)
Remember, retirement planning isn't just about waiting until you're "older" and it's not just something your mom or grandma should be thinking about. You should be planning today for the lifestyle you want in the future, especially if you'd like to live it up via travel or lavish luxuries, you want to have a flexible work-life balance by a certain age, or you plan to finance your children's education. Wealth building is a game of strategy and long-term planning for sure.
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3. Connect with a mentor and create a community of support.
Thriving at a 9-to-5 is almost like raising a child. It takes a village. Connect with mentors, sponsors (or people at your company that can speak to your abilities for opportunities there), and other means of support in your career journey. Oftentimes, many of us work in a silo, just thinking hard work will pay off, but you'll need more than that to advance at a company. If you find that the culture of the company you work for is toxic, doesn't reward quality, or doesn't meet your professional needs, consider looking for work at another company. If the mission and values of a company don't align with yours when it comes to opportunities for growth and advancement (i.e. coverage of extended training, mentorship programs, ERGs, or workshops), it's time to say "Goodbye," or "No, thank you."
I remember my first major full-time job in publishing, and there were so many opportunities for growth. There was a stipend to take courses, opportunities to be mentored, company retreats, and a culture that made me feel like a valued team member.
I stayed at that company for almost a decade and had some of the best years of my professional life there. I also experienced growth in my confidence, skill set, and abilities to the point of ascending to a management position. I was also able to come up with a class (of sorts, like high school or college), of amazing Black professionals in media and communications, and make lifelong friends in the industry. These are people who, while we don't talk on the phone all the time, continue to inspire me and drive me to do more in my career.
4. Keep a positive perspective and add fun to your work day.
It's easy to get into a mental cycle of negativity, especially with so much bad going on in the world today. However, getting into the habit of gratitude and documenting wins at work helps to balance this. Keep a journal of your accomplishments, small and large, and be specific. (You can write, for example, that you led a team that brought in new clients or that you were able to boost revenues by 20% with your efforts. You could also write that you arrived on time for 30 days in a row, hired new talent that led to boosts in morale, or led trainings that helped with understanding a new system or way of doing business.)
While you indeed need to be aware of the challenges of working as a Black woman in any business arena, you should also keep your eyes on the prize (as the elders used to tell me growing up in the South as a child). If you are focused on the end goal, you're better able to steer your way through much of the mud of BS and strife that comes along with making boss moves at work.
I once had a situation at a job I loved, where an older professional was trying to get me fired. I'd already impressed managers in multiple departments and always wrote down my wins. Needless to say, not only did I not get fired but I thrived at the company for several more years and ended up befriending the woman who tried to get me fired (years later.) Keeping receipts and having a positive attitude through that ordeal is what led to my survival at that company.
Also, adding a bit of fun to your workday can help with coping with the everyday stresses of any job (whether you like your job or not.) Get active, make meetings you lead fun and engaging (in line with your company's policies and rules), and try out-of-the-box thinking when approaching problem-solving at your job. Smile often and find the humor (when appropriate).
Try to be a light in someone else's work day, and find ways not to take yourself so seriously (especially the higher up you go in your career). I often read emails back to myself before sending them just to find the "fun" or "light" factor to them and will add GIFs, a "LOL" or an exclamation point to take the edge off of a message. I'll also add a compliment, congratulations (if applicable), a fun quote, or a high point (especially to emails that might be about correcting behavior or disciplining someone.) It's super-helpful for me because I find management quite overwhelming and stressful and providing negative feedback is draining.
5. Allow your purpose, not money or a job, to define and motivate you.
When your foundational motivation is purpose, you're often feeding fulfillment, no matter what role you take or job you have. I have always wanted to help give voice to the voiceless, and I've always been attracted to work that helps advance women, especially my fellow Black women. I've found that the jobs I've thrived in have done just that, even on the days when I feel the work is tedious, annoying, or overwhelming.
I know that if I'm writing or editing stories or working on projects that will achieve that goal, I'm more apt to enjoy the work I do, overall. I also am more likely to offer my best in those roles, versus ones where I don't feel like I'm actively contributing efforts toward purpose.
I once worked a customer service job, when I was in-between clients and needed to supplement my income, and found that the monotony of the job as well as the organization's culture just didn't align with my passion for helping Black women (or empowering women at all). This ultimately led to a very traumatizing end to my employment with the company. I totally disregarded purpose by taking on that job and staying there even when I saw signs that the way they did business just wasn't empowering and didn't align with my values. I also wasn't focused on how I could be a change agent to strategically leverage the opportunity, thus, it ended in an abrupt disaster.
While the position did help fulfill my financial and healthcare needs at the time, I probably would have found myself in a better ending with that particular company had I remembered my career purpose and held true to it.
All in all, if you're strategic, purposeful, deliberate, and open-minded about working a 9-to-5 and making a job work for you, you can find fulfillment and build wealth in order to reach your personal and professional goals. You don't have to be an entrepreneur to find ultimate happiness. You can succeed as a professional who offers the gifts God has given you to the best of your ability and with an end goal that honors why you're here on Earth.
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Gemini Woman And Leo Man Love Compatibility
The love compatibility between a Gemini woman and a Leo man is like fireworks going off. You are either in complete awe of the magic that is standing in front of you or asking yourself what all the commotion is. A Gemini and Leo relationship is the couple that stands out in a room, and they are a social bunch. They love to do things together to experience life to the fullest, and they are often grabbing the attention of others.
This is the type of couple to make new friends wherever they go and truly enjoy being in each other’s company. Life will never be dull in this relationship, and if they can get over ego clashes and the need to control, there will be more things keeping this relationship together rather than apart.
What attracts a Gemini woman and a Leo man to each other?
The Gemini woman is attracted to the Leo man's confident demeanor, and Leo is attracted to Gemini's charm. These two are the social butterflies in any setting, so they are often in the same places for a meeting to occur. They have a lot of similarities and interests, a similar sense of humor, and joy for life. The Gemini woman loves to be intrigued and will have no problem getting to know the Leo man. Leo loves to be noticed and well-received and will feel a sense of endearment when it comes to Gemini's keen eye and curiosity toward them.
The Leo man can grab the attention of just about anyone, but can anyone grab the attention of the Leo man? The Gemini woman can. The Gemini woman is not just stunning, but she is also a little unusual, with a high intellect and enough layers to make a Leo man want to know more. Some may warn Leo about the Gemini woman and how he is about to be on a big adventure by diving into this relationship, but Leo doesn't care and has never feared anything, anyway.
What is the relationship like between a Gemini woman and a Leo man?
This is a relationship that can make it long-term if they are both willing to commit and put the work in. Gemini and Leo have instant chemistry, flirtatious energy, and there is a natural spark here. They are the type to not shy away from PDA and are not afraid to express how they are feeling about the relationship. They are open, outgoing, and will love to have fun together and experience life together.
However, both of these signs are high-energy, and at times, energies can clash. Gemini is often in their mind, and Leo is often in their heart (or their pride). Leo will want a type of devotion that Gemini may not be willing to give. It’s hard to grab the attention of the Gemini woman for long because they are always finding new interests and putting their attention elsewhere. After a while, this can feel like the absolute worse for the Leo man, who needs to feel their light is received and appreciated. If Leo is willing to communicate how they are feeling and not expect Gemini to be a mind-reader, and if Gemini is willing to commit to the relationship, this can be a beautiful partnership.
What is the sex like between a Gemini woman and a Leo man?
The sexual chemistry between a Gemini woman and a Leo man is off the charts. These two are adventurous when it comes to this area of life, and they often incline toward doing the deed in more unusual or unique places other than the bed as well. They encourage spontaneity and adventure in each other and have a lot of fun in this relationship. This is not the type of couple to judge each other romantically, and there are no rules or restrictions in the bedroom for them. They both deeply desire passion and excitement and go about their life looking to feel something. Together, they create a safe atmosphere to be vulnerable, to be fun, and most importantly, to be free.
What makes a relationship between a Gemini woman and a Leo man work?
What makes a relationship work between a Gemini woman and a Leo man is their love for life. They both tend to have a more optimistic view of the world and coming together, they can share that vision and enjoy a fun life together. This isn't the type of couple to get bored with each other easily. They also value their independence enough to where they have the necessary breathing room they both need in a relationship to be happy.
Gemini is on a constant quest for inspiration, and Leo inspires Gemini. Personality-wise, this is a great fit in Astrology. Some zodiac signs coming together can bring out the worst in each other, but when it comes to Gemini and Leo, they tend to bring out the more exciting and happy sides of each other. Leo's loyalty makes Gemini feel safe enough to be herself, whereas some of her other partners may have made her feel like she was too weird or quirky for them. Gemini's sense of adventure and curiosity for the world keeps Leo's heart beating, and this is the type of passion Leo looks for in all their relationships.
What may cause a Gemini woman and a Leo man to break up?
Challenges may arise in this relationship when it comes to ego clashes, commitment, and respect. The Leo man needs his ego fed more than the Gemini woman feels comfortable giving, and the Leo man will often crave more devotion in the relationship. The Gemini woman may start to feel controlled by Leo's bold and dominant energy and like they are going against some of their personal values and interests, which is an absolute deal-breaker for Gemini. The Gemini woman doesn't have a problem committing, but she will not be forced into it. This is the type of couple to rebel against each other if things go south, and they can create more separation than connection if it goes too far.
The Leo man will have to let Gemini be herself while trusting that she will respect the relationship while doing so. Gemini is a mutable sign that will often want to switch things up and doesn't mind change. Leo, being a fixed sign, doesn't do as well when it comes to change, and his stubbornness may get in the way of growth in the relationship. The Gemini woman may shake things up in the relationship just for the fun of it, and the Leo man will find this energy distasteful after a while. This won't be a traditional relationship with traditional gender roles, and they must be willing to learn and grow with each other rather than challenge each other's need to make things work here.
All in all, this is the type of relationship that others look at in public and wish they had something like it. There is something exciting about this connection, and the fun they have together is contagious- you can literally see the spark between these two. Being that both of these signs have a child-like demeanor, this relationship heals their inner child and awakens a part of them they’ve felt like they had to hide in previous relationships.
Geminis, in general, are not always the easiest partner to have or to get to settle down, but if anyone is going to be able to do that, it’s going to be a Leo. If they meet at the right time in their lives and have mutual respect for each other and the relationship, this has all of the potential to work out for both of them.
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