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Being an employer vs being an employee

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Are you considering opening your own business? Have you received a major promotion at your job? Have you been made partner at your firm? Have you or will you be elevated to a position from which you will oversee and command employees? If this is the first time, the change can be quite a shock. As an employee, you always craved more freedom and power. Oddly enough, having more power as an employer can sometimes feel like you have no freedom and being in charge of so many people who look up to you can leave you feeling helpless. Being an employer does have its perks, of course. The mere fact that you’re in that position means that you made some bold and smart moves at some point. But if you’re used to always having a supervisor rather than being one, and simply doing your one, clearly-defined job to collect paychecks, then being an employer can jolt you. Here are the realities of transitioning from employee to employer.


Blocking out personal life

You have to block out the personal life of your employees. If you don’t, then you’ll be too forgiving when they slack off at work, do a bad job, show up late, and generally do sub-par work. They need to learn to leave their personal work at home, just as you do. And you have to ask them to do that—which can be awkward.


Being tougher on mistakes

You’re in a results-oriented position now. Before, as an employee, if a coworker messed up, you could comfort them and say, “It’s okay. It’s not your fault. Anyone could make this mistake.” Now, as an employer, you can say, “It’s okay” but then you also need to say, “It just can’t happen again. Please fix this ASAP.”


Every job is your job

If an employee calls in sick, or is tied up with something else, then you just have to cover their work. You are an employer, yes, but you must also morph into any employee at any given time when necessary.


Setting salaries

You may have the complex task of setting salaries. How much do you give your employees, such that you still make a profit? How much more money should you be making than your employees? What is greedy? Or, what is fair, considering that you run this operation and created their jobs?


You have to be judgmental

You have to be more judgmental than you want to be, especially when it comes to hiring. You want to give this person sitting in front of you—this person who has never held down a job for more than three months and has no references—a chance. But, the success of your company has to take precedence over your need to be compassionate.


You can’t turn your phone off

You don’t really get to turn your phone off. Technically, you can, but it may mean that you miss a call tonight that leaves you with a disaster to fix tomorrow—a disaster that would have been more manageable if you’d gotten on it sooner.


Being careful on social media

You want your employees to respect you and you want to be a role model, so you have to be careful on social media. Photos of you taking body shots may not work anymore.


You can’t befriend colleagues

You can’t befriend your colleagues anymore because, well, they aren’t your colleagues—they’re your employees. It just wouldn’t be appropriate for you to be best friends with one employee as the others would think she received special treatment.


So sometimes, you’ll feel left out

Naturally, you’ll feel left out sometimes. Your employees—people whom you could see yourself befriend—get together outside of work and don’t invite you. Duh—you’re the boss.


Yes, your employees talk about you

You just have to accept that your employees talk about you. If you must rule with an iron fist, they will even talk badly about you. But that’s just their own insecurities lashing out—they probably know, deep down, that you did what you had to.


Work-life balance matters

Employees with work-life balance are happy employees and happy employees do a better job because they don’t resent you and they feel you care about them. So, you need to let them take days off to visit family for the holidays (you just have to cover their work while they’re away).


Your once-coworker is now your employee

It’s quite possible that someone you once worked with now works for you. This shift in relationship can be awkward at first.


Your decisions are judged more harshly

Everyone has something to say about the decisions you make. You’ll never make everybody happy. You’re extremely aware of the fact that you’re always being watched and judged.


You control the livelihood of others

Your decisions can have huge impacts on the livelihoods of several individuals. This can be very stressful. You need to find ways to relieve the stress, because the reality won’t go away.


Keeping bad employees because you’re busy

Sometimes, you keep bad employees simply because you don’t have the time to interview new ones or train someone new.

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