By now, if you’ve read my about page or some of my first posts, you know that I recently quit my day job to go full-time into freelancing.
It was an amazing, freeing feeling. Having that conversation with my boss, telling my colleagues I’m moving onto better things, feeling in control of my destiny regardless of the uncertainty ahead.Yes, it’s scary. And even though I was immediately happy about my decision, there are those inevitable thoughts that go through your head, “Am I crazy?”, “What if this doesn’t work?”, “What will they think of me if I have to go back to working corporate sooner than later”.
ALL THOSE THOUGHTS REVOLVE AROUND ONE SUBJECT: JOB SECURITY.
I’ve gotten several emails from readers about their biggest struggle being just that. “I want to freelance full-time but I have bills to pay and so I can’t leave my steady job.”
Job security. The regular paycheck. Retirement. Being sure you can pay your bills every month and put food on the table.
But it’s just a myth.
A myth to keep us doing things we don’t love day in and day out.
We’ve all read stories online about the myth of job security. People getting fired, laid off, companies being sold, etc. But it’s one of those things you think only happens to others- until it happens to you.
This hit home recently.
I just found out the company that I quit from 5 months ago is moving their office to another country- and laid off everyone that couldn’t come along.
At first, I felt strange…..like oh, me being able to say that I quit to go out on my own isn’t as exciting anymore because I would have been forced to leave regardless.
But then I realized how amazing it really is. I took my career into my own hands, learned a valuable skill, and didn’t let some corporation decide my fate.
I got an email from a friend back in the states who’d just been laid off from the startup job she had been in the last 5 years. I remember her talking about the job over the years. And her reason for taking it and staying so long? Well it was a startup, that had a very good chance of selling quickly, which meant big stock payout for her when it did.
5 years later, it happens. But the stock payout? A couple thousand bucks.
Is a couple thousand bucks worth 5 years of your life? Not in my book.
Yes, we learn wonderful things in every job we have and I think every experience is a good one- somehow. She now has skills that will help her in finding a new job. But that’s called the rat race.
I ASKED A FEW FRIENDS TO SHARE THEIR STORIES AS WELL- BECAUSE IT HAPPENS TO MORE PEOPLE THAN YOU MIGHT REALIZE:
“During college I worked my way up at a small publishing house, eventually becoming the assistant publisher. I started designing on the side, to get more experience and to work on projects I wasn’t able to at work, stuff I really liked. The company was doing great in the soaring economy, focusing mainly on real estate agents as clients. As the real estate market collapsed so did this publisher, as each and every egg in their basket was connected to this one industry. The company went bankrupt and I had no “job”.
This took me from a nice little salary to a couple of small design jobs within months. I had just bought a house with my husband and knew it was time to see what I could do. That was 2007 and I have been running my business full time ever since then.
Looking back on this I see it is the desire to do what you love that brought me to where I am today. Prior to the publishing house job I worked a full time corporate job, and made really great money, but it was not what I wanted. I left this corporate job, and the raise they tried to give me to stay to follow my heart. Crazypants. Looking back I see I made this leap twice, and both were the best decisions I have made. And it wasn’t always easy, sometimes you have to work hard and endure some struggle to get those things you really want.”
-Torie Mathis, Owner & Creative Director of Epic Creative Studio.
“Six years ago I made a bold move: I left a long standing full-time job at a seemingly thriving graphic design studio to go freelance. I walked away from prestige, money and perceived security. I had hit a glass ceiling and knew in my gut that it was time to put my faith in myself rather than someone else’s agenda.
Certainly as a freelancer you have to be willing to ride the ups and downs, deal with your own health insurance and wear many hats. It’s not for everyone. But I can say that for those with resiliency, creativity, self-discipline and trust that the net will appear. It continues to for me. And the irony is that the so-called security at my full-time job, was really an illusion; as the economy tanked, clients left and the agency fizzled and disbanded less than 2 years after I chose to leave. “
-Gloria Owens, Creative Director, Fish Cat Design
The moral of the story? There is no such thing as job security.
Now, I’m not telling you to go out and quit your job tomorrow.
However, do not waste your life in a job for just the paycheck, assuming it will always come.
Learn useful skills that you are able to sell on your own.
Build a portfolio.
Get your name out there, and not just connected to your current job title.
Do these things to keep control of your own life & career.
Because job security isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
Even if you think you’ll never want to say goodbye to the “steady” paycheck- prepare yourself for the inevitable regardless. It might just surpass your “steady” paycheck along the way!
And if you already want to leave, pick a date. Do everything in your power to get your business booming before that date. And then jump before you’re ready.
It’s amazing what will happen.
Let me know in the comments. Is your steady paycheck keeping you from freelance freedom? Do you have a story about getting fired or laid off? We want to hear it!