Is Retail/Working for a Company a Sucker's Game?

Hey everyone,

I’d like to open up a discussion for everyone here, a discussion that is prevalent in the minds(imo) of any informed worker/business & finance watcher right now: is retail & working for a company(salary/hourly) a sucker’s game?

By retail & working for a company, I mean being employed by a company as an employee, independent of the work required. This includes work such as general labor, sales, upper management, clerk work, and other company roles(including marketing, human resources, field operations manager, head office roles, quality assurance, etc.)

My personal experience: I’ve been working for a decade in various customer service in sales roles. Most of these roles, for the work I was being asked to do, have been underpaid. I’ve also taken a number of general labor positions when necessary. I’ve been a store manager as well.

Things to note:

  • Independent of the economy, companies like Amazon continue to grow. Amazon is a shipping-based business, immediately competing with(and often overshadowing) “leaving your house” to shop.

  • Most positions - not only retail - have a medium-to-high turnover and are related to outside factors not in the control of the consumer or the business - factors such as weather, traffic, economy, etc. These factors may not directly relate to your role in the business but will almost always have an impact on the business, direct or indirect. If there’s less money going into the company, there is less money to pay you.

  • Automation is taking over in many ways.

Here’s a brief cost-benefit analysis to working under an employer:

Pros to working as an employee under an employer:

  • There is generally a base pay accompanying your role, meaning if you work 7 hours, you get paid for 7 hours, independent of the work you do. Obviously you are expected to do good work but it’s also nice to know at the end of the day, you’re taking home at least $50.

  • The expectations are getting paid and this is often regulated by larger governing bodies(ex. the labor boards).

  • There are skills you learn as you go along, which can further improve your opportunities in life for looking for other work. Plus, these skills are usually applicable to your own life - skills such as organization, time management, and speaking with others.

Cons to working as an employee under an employer:

  • Business is no longer booming for many companies due to factors outside their control.

  • You are often disposable and placed under the guidance of management above you. Management does not always make the best decisions for the organization.

  • Often the work you are doing will be “unequal work for unequal pay.” It’s common to take work well above your role for no extra pay. Sometimes it’s expected and dictated through upper management.

  • “Don’t place yourself in a role where your income is dictated by someone else” and other great sense is thrown out the window. This leads to a lot of mixed expectations and responsibilities in the workforce.

From your experience and observations, do you find working for another company to be a sucker’s game? Why or why not? What is your experience with this?

1 Like

It’s a great question.

For me the answer became obvious when I got pushed out of a struggling electronics manufacturer after 10 years of working there successfully and 20+ years in the industry.

When you hit 40 you are less valuable to most companies compared to when you are 20-30. At this point it gets difficult to move jobs and you will realise that you should have left 10 years ago to start your own business (my story).

If you have the discipline at a young age to create your own businesses then go for it.
If you don’t then find someone inspirational to learn from and do your own side business.

What I have learned is that you cannot rely on someone else to look after your future, only you can do that.


I could literally talk about this for days.

Wage theft is real. You don’t work for 7 hours and get paid for 7. You work 8+ and get paid for the 8 part if you’re lucky.

Wage theft in the U.S. alone is over $50 Billion dollars. The penalty if you steal a few thousand from your employer is grand larceny and 4 years minimum on average. Good luck finding a job after that. If an employer steals from you, and it’s guaranteed they will, it’s a fine or warning at best unless you can prove without a doubt it was intentional.

You are disposable. A cog in the machine. You don’t matter. If you quit and don’t give two weeks, they’ll mark you as “not eligible for rehire”, yet they can fire you without cause for any reason and will never suffer more than a poor review on Glassdoor.

Sure, there are city and federal mandates like health insurance. But those laws are eroding and employers will only give you what they legally have to or enough to keep you happy.

Work for yourself. Don’t work for others.


To keep it brief;

I used to work in retail when I was 16 until I was 19 in a clothing shop.

For that time, it was great. Good money and I could pick up girls :sunglasses:

In reflection, being paid hourly is not where I wanted to be.

I also feel like working for someone else doing menial tasks is so unfulfilling, if I imagine doing that now I would feel like I am actually really not doing anything worthwile, not accomplishing anything.

I think for a lot of people it is a good option; security & easy.

It’s not a suckers game but some people will want more for themselves.


This is true, but it’s also a negative.
Working for yourself these skills will accelerate much faster than working for someone else unless your boss is Steve Jobs.


Damn we :arrow_up: today eh MPS? Good to see the views for a thread like this coming through quickly.

It is a great question that has no real answer right now because the future is unpredictable. Which is why it’s a great question! Who knows how store fronts are going to adapt the emerging economy, but who knows if a strategy is determined by tomorrow to push Amazon out. Who knows.

At 40, surely you aren’t as fast as the younger generations, but you are still loaded with experience. Right now, me and my friend have been discussing age and wage. What my friend thinks(which I agree with) is that at age 18-30, you should work for someone else, to develop skills that can be incorporated elsewhere. Even if it’s not moving up in the company, professional skills are always useful. Hell, even adjusting to professionalism is useful for future endeavors.

You’re completely correct on relying on others for your future. Human nature starts at concerns for yourself - I don’t mean just you but I actually mean other employees. They are essentially concerned for themselves and the company and the company of others after. That’s just how it is. So relying on others isn’t looking out for your best interest.

On your 2nd reply point: yes it’s a negative and no. Your skills will accelerate so long as your not lazy in any industry. If you’re lazy with a small business, you will learn to be lazy. If you’re lazy in the workforce, you will learn to be lazy. That said, at some stage, people start looking to learn the art of laziness, and the path of least resistance is always there too.

@wortime I am in absolute agreement with you. If I take $300 cash today, I will go to jail. If a company does not pay me $300 on my paycheque, they will walk away scott free unless I speak up.

That said though, wage theft for employees is real too. Which, I think, is perfect. Corporations have too much power. I’m headed into work soon, to a sales job, where I will be greeted by employees watching Netflix. I will clock in and take this “non-working” work pay. And I’m completely fine with that, at this stage, given the amount of disrespect I’ve experienced in my work environment.


@biffer It’s not a sucker’s game but… you know what I mean.

In my opinion, you can find fulfillment in anything. If stocking shelves doesn’t give you fulfillment, you can focus on something that will make you feel more satisfied. For ex. are you a math/counting person? If you count the products you put on a shelf 1 by 1 and you tell yourself “I can’t wait until I hit 100”, that is fulfillment. It is also real life skills. It might sound lame on paper but fulfillment is found anywhere. What gives meaning to our life is what we do and how we tell that story to ourselves.


I’m only 22, but I’ve worked as a dishwasher twice (an italian restaurant and a greek restaurant) and I’ve worked as a machine operator for the largest auto parts manufacturer in the world.

I was a great employee at these places (never missed a single shift, showed up on time, did work outside of the job description, etc.) but it never seemed to matter. Working in the restaurants, during the work shift I was like a servant but after the shift I was like family- I didn’t really like this dynamic. Working at the factory, I was basically a robot that could be replaced within seconds (which was sort of true due to the nature of the work) but I was also told how valuable I was by upper-level positions who didn’t even know how to operate the machines that were making the auto parts they were selling (fake).

Oddly enough, the money was never the problem for me- the people were. I was always only paid minimum wage, but because I was working 8 hours every single day at the factory job and about 8 hours a week at the restaurant jobs, everything added up. It’s the complete opposite now that I’m working for myself.

The longer I go working for myself, the more I care more about the money and the less I care about the people I’m working with. I’m at the point now where I’ll just block clients who are being stupid and find more.

I dunno, there are advantages and disadvantages to working for a company and working from home.

I hate the fact that I barely leave my house and I literally don’t see anyone under the age of 35 (but Canada is 90% old people because every young person lives in 2 cities or leaves the country) but at the same time, I don’t like 96% of people under the age of 60 (lol) so I’ve basically been forced in a position of working from home by myself, which is actually beneficial for my work.

However, if you work for a company you’re forced to see other people and you have a chance at meeting someone who you might actually like, regardless of how un-likely it is.

I prefer working for myself though. Don’t have to do anything I don’t want to do, don’t have to deal with people I don’t like on a daily basis, get to have pride in my work, etc.


its great for teens. they can learn the basics of hard work. but if ur +25 u should really be out of that shit hole.

Being on top of the food chain is the ideal situation u want to be in. Some don’t have enough capital to pull it off but get paid well. So they just are “comfortable” in their situation. I know plenty of these ppl and they tell me how comfortable they are.

edit: I wouldn’t mind working in a phone service provider store that has a lot of phones :slight_smile:

1 Like

This would be a dream situation where you could more easily follow @Seth’s method to account creation :sweat_smile:


The last time I was working for a company was as a teen and I was a horrible employee because I hated it. It clearly wasn’t for me and I am glad to be my own boss now.

However, there are 3 major unmentioned cons to being an entrepreneur:

  1. You have to create your own structures and routines. As an employee you have a boss who tells you what to do which gives your life a structure. As an entrepreneur you need to make you own routines and stick to them.

  2. As an employee you don’t really have to think about what task will bring you the highest ROI and what task is just a waste of time. You get paid anyway. As an entrepreneur you have to invest time and money to do something that MIGHT make you money.

  3. Being an entrepreneur can feel very lonely. You don’t have colleagues or a boss to blame if things go south. You are the boss so you are responsible for everything that goes wrong even if it’s not really your fault.

Entrepreneurship isn’t all fun and games like it’s often portrayed in the media. It’s hard and I truly believe that some people need a boss who gives them the direction.


Everyone should work retail/sales/restaurants once in their life. A corporate job as well, and they should also try something on their own.

But man, I feel that part about setting routines and sticking to them in my bones. Easily the hardest part. It’s the same thing when you work remotely. If you can log in and do your work and consistently rate high, then you can do it for yourself as an entrepreneur.

And there’s more to mpsocial and IM than simply Instagram. Instagram is just a free tool, don’t put all your eggs in one basket when somebody else owns the basket.


I definitely agree. I learned a lot helping out in my parents restaurant, even if I didn’t really appreciated it back than.

Funny isn’t it? Everyone thinks it’s easy because you can work whenever you want but for me it was the opposite. I was so fucking lost as I started my first company. However, it gets better with time and I think that many entrepreneurs can relate to that.

True. As an entrepreneur you can’t rely on one stream of income. That’s insane. You always have to be prepared for the worst scenario. Diversify.


As @wortime mentioned - everyone should work a job as sometime in their life.

If the experience is positive or negative, it will teach you about how to deal with people and most importantly their emotions and egos.

This was personally the biggest learning curve I experienced leaving university and entering the corporate world in finance. And you can’t learn this in a book unless you first hand experience it daily and learn to classify different characters and more importantly experiment with how to deal/influence them to do what you want.

After joining this forum and learning from people like @wortime @Adnan @dma0245 and many, many more people on the same wave length in thinking, I am planning to leave the corporate world soon to pursue my own businesses. Despite this, I wouldn’t change my past in anyway, because it’s allowed me to win over clients, show them they can trust me, and most importantly create and grow relationships.

One Important Note - Diversify & Build a Unique/Complimentary Skillset
@wortime said it best:

As with anything in life - do not rely on someone else to get you from point A to point B, ever. . Invest and build in yourself and if you are skilled and early enough in your endevour, then you are lucky.

One another note what I learned from some of the people I worked with, is to build a complimentary product or skillset. This way you can vertically integrate into the pockets of your client, without the dependency of one service vs the other. And as with anything - build things that can scale.

So in short - working for someone else is NOT a Sucker’s Game, IF you use this time as a sandbox to learn, experiment and build relationships/skills you can leverage in your own business.


I think what is a sucker’s game is the model of trading your time for money. If you have X amount of work to do in an 8 hour shift, there is really no incentive to do it more efficiently. In some situations there is even an incentive to work at a slower rate than you are able to justify the 8 hour shift.

In so many office jobs, you see people watching netflix, playing video games, surfing the web all day because they are able to complete their work in way less time than they are required to be at their desk.

Working for yourself, there is a real incentive for doing things faster and more efficiently. Plus every hour spent building a structure that is your own, pays dividends down the road (hopefully).

In theory there is more risk in creating your own structure from scratch as opposed to just plugging in to the structure someone else has created, but then you are just contributing your valuable time and energy towards the creation of someone else’s vision.

For many, the level of personal responsibility involved in working for yourself is too much, as there is no one else to blame if things go south. It seems our culture has a strong aversion to personal responsibility; it’s much more comfortable to blame others, or factors we can’t control, than to take a deep look at our own shortcomings.


@Smylie I live in Ontario, close to - guess where, you’ll never guess… :roll_eyes:

There’s 2 places where people wanna be in Canada and I know both spots you’re talking about. It’s rough out here outside of those zones.

Being an employee for a company definitely guarantees that you get to engage with other people. And I think that’s crucial - I’m a person who believes that as technology continues to advance, we continue to move away from the roots of history, and ultimately away from the roots of real humanity. And that can have severe impacts in health, for ex. dementia is linked to not socializing enough.

@SwagWaffle You’re not wrong but I think 25 is too low of a number. I’m talking retail employment but there are much better jobs to find, and if you can find your way into them, I recommend staying. The prime example being banks like TD, CIBC, etc. there is some serious learning to be found at banks, as well as career opportunities, that can easily last your whole life.

I think reconsidering your occupation should be done close to 30 years old. Why? Because at 25, you barely know shit - about the world, about yourself, and about your wants and needs. Psychologically-speaking, adolescent age categories have now been expanded into the late 20s.

However, maybe I should set up a SIM card business here. I literally work here and I could use more commission. Hmm.

@damian24 You’re absolute correct. The core of what you’re talking about is self-regulation, which is super hard when you’re going at it solo. Everything in life becomes easier with time but being a self-starter is challenging to get down as a strong habit.

@wortime I agree, everyone should be an employee for a few years at least. It’s a job of shovelling shit but it teaches you the meaning of professionalism. Everyone, regardless of age, still has a kid inside of them, that needs to be nurtured and explored to live a healthy life. Without professionalism, it’s hard to restrain that kid. Work is like training in this sense.

@OneFiasco I labeled employment as a “sucker’s game” in the sense that you’ll be a Joey, most of the time. But in the sense that you actually learn something which is always applicable - I wouldn’t call it a sucker’s game. I only put that term out to bring about a discussion.

@nomad Therein lies the core of laziness. There are a lot of people that come to work, discouraged, and unwilling to learn. You can either choose to use the time as your employer wants you to and learn new things or let your brain turn to mush(at work).

However, a blanket generalization like “exchanging your time for money” is silly. 99% of wherever you work or whatever you do for money is exactly that: trading your time for money at different ratios. Even Forex traders need to do research before making money overnight - that’s still time for money. It’s the same for our small businesses.

But to agree with you: the ratio of trading time for money in the workplace is most often not worth it. Here, for ex., I have 3 years of work experience with other companies(just in telecommunications alone - I’ve been employed as a salesman for 10 years), with all the cell phone companies, product knowledge, and plans. I’m getting paid $1 above minimum wage. Not wurf.


As @wortime mention, I could talk about this for hours… I’m only 22, but I think of myself working since I was 12, not earning money but learning the knowledge I now have. I started working for my own with a friend, both as pentesters, we created a team of two I guess, I was 16 at the time. After around 4 months, I got offered a job in an IT security company and I accepted it immediately. Worked there for 3 months and got out instantly. I didn’t like it one bit, strict schedules, I got to do the most boring work because I was the new guy and so on, the only decent thing was the salarie. But if I could go back I wouldn’t change my path, remember the phrase our parents said to us when we were kids: if you didn’t try it, how do you know if you don’t like. I agree with this for most things in my life. I didn’t know if I liked a regular job, so I got one and got the experience that came with it. I decided I didn’t like it and that’s fine. It motivated me to work harder on my own and got me to the point I am today. Now, I have a great team of pentesters, which are also my good friends, doing amazing work all over Europe, I get to travel, I have my own schedule, I get to accept or deny any job I want, it’s fantastic. Plus I have what I currently consider to be my second job, Internet Marketing, where again, I have the freedom to do whatever I want, whenever I want to.


Thanks for starting this topic, its a super interesting discussion.

Obviously any endevour, whether its a paid by the hour job or starting your own business, is going to require an investment of time, which in turn will provide a return in money. The difference is in the hourly job, your rate of pay is bound to the time you spend and aside from incremental raises you can never really make more, despite how hard you may be working or how much you may be getting done. With your own business your earnings are not artificially tethered to an assigned amount of time,for better or worse. You can spend a lot of time, especially in the early stages and see very little financial return, but once things are more established and assuming you are successful, the potential for earnings can increase dramatically and not in relation to how many hours you put in that day.