I have had A LOT of jobs during my adult lifetime. I started out working for the Geological Survey of Canada out of university. After all, I had just spent 7 years studying earth sciences and came out the other end with a MSc. Didn’t I have to work in that field?
But as soon as there was uncertainty as to whether my contract was going to be renewed, I jumped ship. In the years following, as I lived married life and eventually had children, I designed and made beaded jewelery that I sold in the ByWard Market in Ottawa, did some freelance editing, ran a bead store in the mall in the months leading up to 9/11, sold Mary Kay, and eventually became an instructor for the only company-run Kumon centre in Canada.
Then, after the birth of our second child, we moved to London, ON. With two children age 2 and under and with the need for more income, I turned to freelance writing. And after 13 years, I can still say I am so glad I did! Seriously, there was a time, just a couple of generations ago, when you would go to work for one company for your entire career. You had security. I have a couple of uncles who worked for the phone company for their entire lives, and their sons did, too. It was almost like the family business.
But times have changed.
These days it seems those who go to work for a company their whole life are a dying breed. Even Americans born between 1957 and 1964 have had an average of 12 jobs during their lifetime. One reason for this is the desire of the Millennial generation to put their loyalty with the work they do rather than the company for whom they do it.
Millennials are more likely to stay with a company if that company has a specific social purpose or mission. Profit shouldn’t be the only driver to a company’s success. In fact, many would take a pay cut just to work for a company that jives with their values. And Millennials also desire more flexibility, something that results in higher productivity, better overall performance, deeper engagement with their job, and improved wellness, health, and happiness.
In other words, Millennials have different priorities in life than previous generations.
The other reason many people aren’t working with one company their entire career is the economic instability that constantly hangs over our heads. Companies closing, downsizing, laying people off. It can be difficult to know if you have any real security no matter who you work for.
And if you put all your eggs in one employment basket, you risk losing them all when someone upends that basket.
Spread Your Eggs Around
Freelancing provides you with many baskets.
When you freelance, you aren’t just working for one employer. Instead, you work for multiple clients. If one of them runs into tough times, closes down, loses funding, you still have others to fall back on.
And you can always find more if you need to. There are always new clients out there waiting to hire a brilliant freelancer. If you lose one or two clients, you can always replace them. There is no end to the flow of clients and work when it comes to freelancing.
Add to that the fact that:
- You can work for people and companies you believe in
- Try new niches and forms of freelance service
- Have complete flexibility in terms of where, when, and how you work
- Have no income ceiling
You just can’t get a better deal than that!
Not All At Once
Now, if you are already working for a company, you likely aren’t just going to quit and jump into freelancing full-time. Just take things one step at a time. If you are interested in freelancing, you can do it part-time. This way, you will have your full-time job AND extra work with your freelance clients.
As your freelance business grows, you can make the leap from being employed by a company to freelancing full-time. The beauty is that you can do this whenever you feel you are ready and only IF you want.
With a freelancing career you have complete freedom!
That is one of the many things I love about freelancing—the freedom. As for me and my many career hats, I’m not done yet. I am beginning the shift form freelancer to freelance coach. And I am studying screenwriting and working on ultimately steering my ship in that direction.
After all, I’m in my mid-40s now, and I feel like I am ready to start over and see where life takes me. And that is the real reason that I have been a career-switcher throughout my life. I would get way too bored working a 9-5 in the same job my whole life.
Freelancing has given me the flexibility and diversity in clients and writing topics that I have been content all these years. I just know there is more out there for me.
What about you? Have you had multiple jobs/careers? How does freelancing fit into your life and why do you do it? Have you found freelancing to be beneficial in terms of stability? Let us know in the comments section below!