Last Friday, I came within a breath of spontaneously quitting my day job – in a meeting full of people. I’ve worked for the same company, with a few Paris breaks, since January first of 2011. I joined my current department in 2014. My job demands a lot of my time and energy. I knew it would when I took it, but it’s a job that I am very good at. And so for the most part, I find being able to meet those demands fulfilling.
But, just like everywhere in the corporate world, we are constantly asked to do more with less for the sake of the bottom line. (And, speaking realistically, to allow CEO bonuses to increase even if profits remain steady.) For the better part of the last six months, I have done the work of between two and four people with no reprieve. And, in that meeting on Friday, a director had the audacity to claim, “You aren’t really as busy as you think.”
So, as a reminder to myself as much as for the sake of openness with all of you, I’ve decided today is the today to explain why I’ve never given up my day job.
My day job offers enormous independence.
I work remotely – which is to say, from the second bedroom in our apartment. I can modify my hours as much as I need to, as long as my work gets done. I can take a long lunch and get my hair done. I can work in yoga clothes every single day. And I do. If I were still putting on a suit and make-up to go to an office every day, tied to a nine to five schedule, which I was until 2015, I would probably have reconsidered my position a long time ago.
I have a pension and benefits…
…which my employer pays for most of. The cost of taking both of those on myself if I decided to freelance fulltime would be enormous and I would actually have to earn more than I do from my corporate job to cover those extra expenses. Since my employer matches what I contribute to my pension, giving up my current job would be making a pretty serious financial sacrifice. And I’ll be honest, I doubt my passion for shoes will wane in retirement. So it’s important that I have a retirement savings plan.
And I really like the consistency of bi-monthly paycheques.
I freelanced from September 2012 to November 2013. And while I made a living, I spent just as much time chasing down the living I earned as I did actually earning it. Constantly following up with clients to make sure you get paid is a job in and of itself when you freelance. It was an extra task I found totally exhausting and frustrating. I like knowing what I’m earning. And, more importantly, I really value the fact that my earnings arrive twice a month as scheduled.
I think it’s important to have a fallback plan. And to be independent.
The nature of freelancing is that sometimes, you’re majorly in demand. And sometimes, no one really needs anything from you. Client needs change. Businesses close. In 2015, one of my biggest clients, from whom I consistently earned about a thousand dollars a month for two years, abruptly shut down. They gave me two weeks notice and then that source of income disappeared, leaving me virtually no time to replace it. Since I have my day job, I could live without those extra earnings and wasn’t forced to depend on my partner financially until I found another client to make up the loss. My day job serves as a permanent fall back plan. It lets me maintain my financial independence while still pursuing freelance projects.
My day job gives me the freedom to choose what I work on…
…rather than accepting every project offer that comes in. When I freelanced full time, I felt constantly under pressure to say yes to work offers, because I never truly knew when the next one would come in. Consequently, I agreed to almost everything. Including a lot of projects I didn’t feel passionate about. Some of which I genuinely hated. I felt obligated to, because I needed the revenue. With the consistent earnings from my day job, I am able to take on projects I’m excited about – and politely decline the ones that don’t interest me.
All that to say, even when things are bad, I wouldn’t give up my day job. I admit, some days I seriously considering it. But I would be giving up a lot more than just the stress and aggravation that I’ve been dealing with lately.
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