Blog | Entrepreneurship

What is "job security"?

Do you have a safe, secure job? Many people used to think so, but are now realizing that the idea of a “secure” job is more illusion than reality.

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Hint: Entrepreneurship, not employment, is the only path to a secure future

Growing up, your teachers and parents likely told you to go to college and then get a job, because that’s how you could ensure a secure future. And who were you to argue? They all followed that path and so did the generation before them. It seemed like the smart thing to do. But what is job security? The answer is: an illusion.

At some point, it dawns on every employee (probably while slaving away at their desk well past dinner one evening), that they aren’t in charge. When you work for a company, you simply aren’t in the driver’s seat. You work the hours they tell you to. You get a raise or a promotion when they allow it to happen. You get access only to the resources they provide. You get stuck with the team they hire. You get vacation time when they approve it. And you could get fired or laid off with no notice.

Hmmm, looking at it from that point of view makes you really think twice about the so-called job security you’re “lucky” to have as an employee. Why would you let a money-hungry company determine your value, your worth and your future?

The path less traveled

Sure, you could job hop around like millennials do — a CareerBuilder survey notes that employers expect 45% of their newly hired college graduates to stay with the company for less than two years — in order to move up the food chain of a corporation faster. But what happens when they outsource your job overseas? Or have a bad quarter and layoff half your department and stick you with twice the workload? Or they decide that you didn’t earn your bonus this year because you missed one of your 14 goals? Or the economy takes a nosedive and you can’t land another job because of the law of supply and demand? As you can see, there are myriad variables that prevent you from controlling your own destiny when you choose the path of “job security” via employment.

So what’s your other option? Starting your own business. Sure, there are still plenty of variables to figure out and it’s not like you can control everything — but the sky’s the limit when it comes to your earning potential, and you’ll be in the driver’s seat of your own career for a change. Giving up a 9 to 5 gig could actually give you more job security than you’ve ever experienced in your life!

Now, for most people, starting a business doesn’t happen overnight — unless it’s born out of necessity because you’ve lost your job and can’t find a new one quickly enough, which isn’t actually a bad way to go about it. Most people start building a side business while maintaining their full-time jobs, and then eventually reach the magical “tipping point,” where they can’t take on more side work unless they quit their job and remove the safety net of a steady paycheck and benefits. The good news is, it’s easier than ever to become an entrepreneur. For a little inspiration, check out these five ways to start a business without quitting your job.

The perks of creating your own job security

With self-employment, you can diversify your client base in a way that provides the job security you need to sleep well each night — if you happen to lose a client, you still have others that will keep the money rolling in while you look for a replacement.

Entrepreneurship offers a virtually unlimited income potential, because you can drum up more business if you need more money. You also set your own prices, which means you can charge what your time and expertise are worth in the market.

Once your business is booming, you can cherry pick which clients you want to work with and avoid the ones who are difficult or don’t pay you on time — you’ll never again be in a position where you have to endure something that frustrates you because you control the direction of your business.

Plus, you’ll be extra motivated to succeed because you’re (hopefully) working on projects you enjoy (if you aren’t passionate about your industry, you’ve chosen the wrong business), setting your own schedule that works for your lifestyle (this is especially helpful for mothers) and bringing value to every client you work with. It’s incredibly satisfying knowing that you’ve created your own job security and that you’re making a difference in your clients’ lives.

Now, you may very well be met with some opposition when you start down the path toward entrepreneurship. Your friends or family might question whether or not you are making the right decision and worry that you’re giving up the intangible “job security” everyone is always worried about. Politely ask them, “What is job security anyways?” and listen carefully to their response — no doubt, they will list off things that contribute to a false sense of security, like a salary, benefits, and bonuses. But you know the truth, and that’s what will set you apart and help you achieve the financial independence we all crave.

Original publish date: May 15, 2009

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