Freelancing vs Job Security–Real Talk, Real Numbers

Freelancing vs job security
Does employment really stand up to its reputation of job security? // Image by: fauxels

My first reality check about job security came when I was young. I was 20 to be exact.

I was the administrative assistant at a printing company called Lason.

My son was about three months old. I’d been back from my six-week leave for around a month, and I was trying to figure out the work – parent balance.

For me, figuring that out meant some days there was an infant strapped in a carrier that sat on one side of my desk.

I felt fortunate to have a boss who was so understanding. She didn’t have any kids. She was a wealthy lady with a husband who traveled all the time and she only worked to have something to do.

And to take young women like me under her wing—or at least that’s what I thought.

Eventually, I realized Vicki was so empathetic about my challenges being a new mom because she understood more about my situation than I did. She knew my problems were about to get a lot worse—I was about to be unemployed with a baby.

I found this out when a dude from corporate flew in.

He called everyone together on the printing floor and announced the site was closing down. Vicki requested he come to deliver the news because she didn’t have the heart to tell us, especially since we were only getting about three weeks of notice before the doors shut.

I was livid. I was hurt. I was shocked. And I was scared.

Having that experience so early in my professional life has FOREVER changed my view of employment. I have never trusted any company or boss since.

So, it’s very interesting that so many people are still so naive about job security.

No matter how many times they’ve been burned, for some reason, they still believe jobs = income security.

But in my view of the world, the scene is very different. Jobs can be a major setup for your downfall.

Job Security & Crisis

Think of it this way…

If you’re 30 right now, that means that within the first decade of your adult working life, you’ve seen two financial crises—the Great Recession of 2008 and the COVID-19 wallop.

Both of those events brought MASSIVE job losses. And both of them ravaged the finances of the working class.

What’s worse is some people hadn’t even fully rebuilt from the Great Recession when they were struck for a second time this year.

Getting caught up twice is like being hit by two devastating natural disasters.

And given that no one knows when or how the current crisis is going to turn around, I think it’s time for a lot of people to reconsider how they define risky and secure.

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A lot of people want to freelance but talk themselves out of it because they’re convinced they need a stable paycheck. And they’re convinced the only way to have that is to have a job.

I agree that a lot of jobs offer a lot of stability when businesses are doing well and when the economy is good.

But when finances change or the economy changes the level of job security changes.

A job can be snatched from you anytime. And most employees aren’t prepared. They struggle to adapt after losing a job.

Freelancing: Volatile or Insecure?

Freelancing can be, and often is, volatile. Clients come and go. Sometimes your calendar is too full and sometimes you’ll have gaping holes.

To some degree, that volatility is the nature of the game. But a lot of it is how people operate. Some freelancers don’t set themselves up for stability.

Furthermore, volatility is a reality of being in business. Not just freelancing but any business.

Successful people don’t use that to confine themselves to jobs. They plan their finances accordingly.

Just because you aren’t cashing a check every two weeks doesn’t mean you have to struggle.

Another thing about volatility is it prepares freelancers to snap back. We can handle the ups and downs.

Whether you’re sitting on the sidelines with outdated attitudes about freelancing or you’re considering jumping in the game, let me share some things with you.

36% of the U.S. workforce is freelancers

We are not a few on the fringes, data from Upwork shows.

And “freelancing, with all its insecurity… has often become a means to survival,” NPR reported.

12% of the U.S. workforce have turned to freelancing since the pandemic hit

Isn’t it ironic that people choose the so-called “insecure” route during times of hardship?

The same thing happened during the Great Recession. And maybe that’s because it works out so well for so many. Would you have guessed…

59% of freelancers who started since the pandemic feel they make more money than they’d be making from an employer

And within months, 96% of them reported positive financial results and plan to freelance in the future.

Furthermore, of freelancers overall, 3 in 10 left a job to get in the freelance game and 65% say they earn more now.

Not to mention, 61% who freelanced before and during COVID have the amount of work they want or more.

I drop these stats to show that freelancing isn’t the unstable, high-risk venture that a lot of people assume it is.

So, if you want to be a freelancer, remember that volatility is not insecurity. Don’t let uncertainty hold you back because that’s how business goes.

And if you don’t want to be a freelancer, that’s cool too. But make sure you have your mind right about job security.


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5 thoughts on “Freelancing vs Job Security–Real Talk, Real Numbers

  1. This was a really interesting post to read. Having been made redundant twice this year, I completely understand the feeling of not trusting companies and bosses.

  2. Appreciate the information. Just what I needed to encourage me on my path to freelancing.

    1. You’re welcome. Hopefully, you’ll find resources on this site helpful in your journey. If there’s ever anything more you’d like to see, please say so.

  3. Interesting post. There is no such thing as a job for life anymore. No job is really secure. We all have to grow and adapt to the changing nature of ‘work’.

    1. That’s so true. That one job till retirement lifestyle is now the exception. NOT the rule.

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