One of the most common things said to me when I was getting ready to go out on my own was “why give up a secure a paycheque, benefits, job, etc?”

Well, here’s the secret. I never felt secure when I had a steady job.  Not ever.  And the funny thing is, I can’t think of a single self-employed person I’ve spoken to who did feel secure when they were employed by somebody else.

This is something I’ve always wondered about – what makes some people feel secure when they work for somebody else and what makes others feel like they’re walking on a tightrope?

Last week, we spoke to Jill Neale about her leap to being self-employed and her answer struck a chord:

When the district faced some major budget shortfalls, I knew I needed to take more control of my employment.  I enjoyed the one to one tutoring, but wanted more control over the situation I was in so I quit both jobs and went out on my own…

Bingo! Perhaps all of us entrepreneurs are control freaks!

I’m kidding – to a certain point.  I think as a group we do have a strong desire to control our path in life and not be at the mercy of somebody else’s decision about our future.

so how secure are you?

The truth is, security is a myth.  Nobody knows what will happen tomorrow – whether you’re self-employed or not.  If the last few years have shown us one thing it’s that just because a company has been around for a hundred years, that doesn’t mean it will be for the next hundred.  Economies rise and fall.  Mergers happen.  Budget cuts, layoffs, plant closures, sending work offshore, reorganizations… they can all happen at any time – to anyone.  Will your permanent full time employment still be there?

Or worse yet (to me, anyway) your full-time job is still there except… it’s not the job you were hired to do.  Now somebody in an office further up the ladder has decided to “repurpose” you into a new position you have zero interest in.  Are you happy?

taking control?

I can’t speak for all self-employed people, obviously, but for me, the nagging feeling in the back of my head that at any moment somebody could tell me that I was no longer needed was always there when I worked for an employer.  Sometimes, it was warranted, sometimes it wasn’t.  I’ve also been moved into another position that was so far off from my qualifications, and quite frankly, was a waste of my abilities, that I was miserable.  And I hated that somebody else got to decide that that was my fate.

For me, security is taking control of my future to the best of my ability, choosing the risks I take, and doing what I love to do.  I can’t control fate – whether I’m self-employed or working for somebody else.  But I can take steps to be prepared for the unexpected things life throws at me – so I take fate out of the equation.

Yes, I worry about where I’ll find the next client and if I’ll make enough money to be comfortable, stay out of debt, and be able to keep doing what I love.  But I find those worries are much less stressful than the thought of my happiness and paycheque being at the mercy of another entity.

At the end of the day, the only person I can blame if things don’t work out, is the person I see in the mirror.  And I’m ok with that.

What about you?  What makes you feel secure as self-employed person?  Or as somebody who works for an employer?