Growing up, I assumed that I’d get a job with a big company, work my way up the corporate ladder, increasing my income along the way, etc. The imaginary job would have good benefits, health insurance, retirement, etc.
But as we all know, that image of job security is a myth. In the past 20 years, employers have been less invested in workers, benefits have been trimmed, and in this most recent recession, lots of jobs have been lost–and some won’t ever come back. We all know people with specialized skills, advanced degrees, and great experience who were–or still are–out of work. Some of my friends and family were out of work for 18-30 months, and these are folks who worked for large, global companies.
Before starting my consulting business, I worked at a software company where salary increases were less than inflation (this was before the recession), and healthcare costs increased 30% each year. Every year I stayed, I took a pay cut.
As time went on, I was one of the higher paid employees on my team, and was getting worried that I’d be laid off so the company could pay someone less to do my job.
But as an independent consultant, I’ve actually got much more job security. I have dozens of clients for whom I’ve done work, and if any one client doesn’t need anything from me for a month or a quarter, I’m not worried, because I have other work from other clients. My income is variable, but is much more than I was ever likely to make as an employee.
Before I started my own consulting business, I thought self-employment was precarious, but now that I’ve been doing it awhile, I see that the opposite is true: I’m much more secure. Spreading my income across many clients makes me much more secure.
You can also take a look at an interesting article on why you should never get a job.