I’ve noticed a rather subtle distinction between business owners and employees. The difference is in the way they make you feel. I think it stems from how they feel and identify themselves. Their experience of life and society.
The keyword is scarcity. When you work for a company you are forcibly shaped by the approval of your boss. Your ego is constrained and controlled. You are in a rat race with other employees for the prestige feeling but no one is allowed to have as much as they would like anyway except on their birthday. You have to hustle. Unless there’s a particularly good company culture you have to constantly bump into others, whip them out and measure dicks. You learn to treat people badly because you don’t get treated how you want to be treated. You learn to supplement your social value. We’re drifting ever further from wholesome goals such as happiness.
Compare that to being a business owner. There’s no question about it: you are at the top of the tree. You have the authority. You have a lot more freedom to present and communicate how you want. You can feel how you want to. Let yourself take up space and speak loudly. Your anxiety drops while others’ rises. Anyone who disrespects you needn’t be in the company for long. You’re in abundance. You simply don’t need to worry about all these social dynamics beyond not causing a lawsuit.
An abundance vs a scarcity of validation. In control vs out of control. Owning vs being employed. Leading vs following.
When you feel secure in your psychological needs, you behave differently around others. You aren’t threatened. You don’t need them for anything. You are basically free to treat them how you wish. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe this dynamic is prerequisite to being truly graceful. That feeling of being hosted. Of sitting at the captain’s table. However, it is also a license to treat people authoritatively and punitively.
With employees, you often find these psychological needs in deficit. I notice this manifests most saliently as the vibe of being “in competition” with others in various ways. The senior employee who treats you like you’re less than them. You can’t really be at ease around them because they feel that their happiness depends on diminishing yours. They feel the need to bluntly take control rather than be civil and think win-win. You find them treating you disrespectfully and that is because they feel their lives are lacking something in general such as authority or freedom.
Of course, there are clear advantages to taking a job and not all jobs are created equal. There are clear disadvantages to starting a business such as the uncertainty and risk of it. You may find yourself in a scarcity of time, money and energy instead of social value.
I’m a big believer in civility. Social graces are what give people the psychological space to be happy and not threatened by you. If everyone in an organisation does that then there’s a much greater sense of abundance than a culture where no one is really winning except the biggest baddest dog in the fight. I believe the responsibility for instilling a culture like this falls in the lap of those in authority and ultimately the owners. Managers and owners ought to be very civil and hopefully it trickles down.
People with civil natures ought to be promoted whilst those without civil natures ought to be demoted or if highly competent stay in technical positions. Just the same as social intelligence. Perhaps there could even be a scarcity-abundance metric used to rate employees based on how people feel around them. Meditation and social skills would thus be incentivised. This way perhaps those who are employed may find their psychological needs met and in turn, they will be more graceful in their personal lives.