Your Corporate Job Isn’t Stable.
With the prospect of 2020 slipping into the rearview mirror behind us growing closer, a lot of us are reflecting on what we have learned this year. How did COVID-19 really shape the world? How did it shape us? Did we really look death in the face and choose to desperately cling to toilet paper as a solution?
Many of the lessons learned this year are surrounding employment — and some of those lessons aren’t great. If there is one lesson that we did learn, it is that the infallible corporate job that you’ve been letting eating up your days isn’t actually all that secure.
So, what do you really want to do?
The Golden Ticket
Most of us believe that there is a fair amount of chance that goes into making someone successful, and that is true — sort of. Living in a media-driven world, we are constantly fed this notion of success by chance. Like the Golden Ticket in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, movies love to show us that our dreams will come true when we least expect them to.
That is great advice — for kids.
Teaching kids that anything is possible is one of the best things that we can do for them. It teaches them the value of hard work, keeps their hopes high, and allows them to see a future where the thing that they want most in the world can come true. But for adults, it sucks.
In the corporate world, I met so many people with incredible skills and talents. Artists. Writers. People who made jalapeno jams that would stop Gordon Ramsay in his tracks. Builders and drone operators. Photographers and fashion designers. Normal people who did these things in secret. It made me realize that everyone has a hidden talent.
But, every single one of them said the exact same thing when praised:
I would love to do this for work someday.
So, why weren’t they? What could convince so many people with so many incredible skills that they needed to wait to find that success?
With a little time and a lot of conversations, I figured it out. People were waiting for the Golden Ticket. They were waiting for that huge moment when someone famous would see their incredible work and bring success to them.
To my knowledge, only one of those people has actually made the transition — and she didn’t do it by waiting for someone to hand it to her.
The Illusion of Corporate Stability
For ages, corporate jobs have been considered the end-all-be-all. They’re the jobs everyone wants. They pay more. They have benefits and perks. There is potential to grow.
All of this is true until it isn’t.
If 2020 taught us anything, it is that nothing is stable. I have family members in every kind of industry and each of them was absolutely struck by the pandemic. My uncle in the automotive industry was placed on unpaid leave for months. My brother-in-law and sister had to close down their tattoo shops for a lengthy span of time. My mother’s job in finance ends when 2020 does. So, what does this tell us?
There is no such thing as true stability.
Last year, I switched to freelancing full-time. I didn’t pick May to be the end of my corporate career. It was chosen for me when my company announced that there would be layoffs — and that was after we were assured that it wasn’t a likely outcome. That was before the pandemic.
Now, I’ve watched so many people lose their jobs in the same year that allowed me to more than double my income.
You can read about it here if you’re interested:
How COVID-19 Ended Up Helping Freelance Writers
And what it means for all of us.
All of my corporate friends are worried about layoffs. They are worried about the future of their companies. They were promised job security and benefits, all of which are now at risk.
They were lied to.
Your corporate job isn’t foolproof. If you are going to be working for money, you should do something that you love. Not because we should all be chasing our dreams like a gaggle of Disney characters, but because none of us should waste our time on something that we hate. Our dreams at least deserve a chance to die of natural causes, not because we decided to starve them rather than see what they could be.
I’m self-employed. I have great health insurance, a steady flow of income, and I get to do something that I love doing every single day. It’s not an illusion. It’s not the dream. It is a very real thing that each and every single one of you can and should be doing if you want to.
It’s Time To Diversify Your Investments
In the investment world, the first thing that they teach you is the importance of diversifying investments. It’s the age-old don’t put your eggs all in one basket saying — and it is very important advice.
Our world is changing faster than anyone can keep up with. Viral marketing and literal viruses are changing the way that we operate on a daily basis. What works today might very well be useless tomorrow, which means that you should not be living your life by yesterday’s practices.
Your time and your well-being are the biggest investments that you will ever make. It’s time to be smarter about them.
If you have that one thing that you would love to do professionally, it’s time to get started. Grab a business license, find a platform, and start doing your thing. You deserve to know if you can make it. A lot of people already are.
When I first started freelancing, I was working a growing corporate career and finding success with it. I never thought I would be a real freelancer. It was just a fun side-gig — something more productive to do with my time than watching tv. And hey, I love writing, so it was a win-win.
That little side-gig saved me when that shiny corporate career suddenly disappeared.
My “fake” job became my only job. Now, I make more. My business is thriving in ways I can’t even fathom. I’ve got insurance and a good place to live. And I did all of this while working for myself. Not because I’m exceptional or smarter than anyone else, but because it’s where I put my time and energy.
But more importantly, I’m doing what I always wished I could do for work.
You don’t need to quit your job and throw everything into your side-gig. While it has worked for a lot of people, it’s a little risky. So today, think about what you could be doing. What side-gig can you be running that might be fun for you — and what makes you so sure that it won’t be a huge brand tomorrow?
Everyone starts somewhere, so start doing all of the things that you want to do. Really try and see what happens. Your little passion project might just yield your biggest salary yet.
If you’re going to invest, it’s time to start investing in yourself.
For more information on working as a full-time freelancer and small business owner, check out these posts:
An Unapologetic Guide To Making It In The Gig Economy
Stop looking for hacks and get to work.