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If you asked 1,000 people to sum up in a single word what a typical job with health benefits, paid vacations, and a 401(k) retirement plan means to them, they will most likely answer ‘security’.

I would have answered this question the exact same way a few years ago. We are taught to go to school, get good grades, go to college, and find a job with excellent benefits. Then, after working the best years of our lives away, we get to retire with a gold watch and “enjoy” the rest of our lives.

I don’t know about you, but this seems like the recipe for unhappiness to me. What if we don’t want to go to college? What if we want to travel the world instead? Are we going to be failures? What if we don’t want to spend 40 or 50 years working a job? Are we considered unstable or irresponsible?

The idea of getting hired into a large corporation, starting as the low man on the totem pole, and spending our whole lives working towards upper management seems incredibly foolish, wasteful, and depressing. Yet, society had taught us to do exactly this.

This is the rat race, pure and simple.

Is the rat race a bad thing? Not necessarily. It works for those who need that structure and direction in their lives. It just doesn’t work for me.

One of the biggest problems I have with the whole “9 to 5 mentality” is that people believe that they’re secure in their jobs. A scene from ‘Office Space’ shows the two very different thoughts about the rat race and job security:

peter1
“What if we’re still doing this when we’re 50?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

samir

 

“It would be nice to have that kind of job security”

 

 

 

 

 

I am clearly with Peter here and cannot imagine working in my miserable job until I’m 50. However, it’s extremely common for people to think like Samir and wish for job security. Personally, I think it’s incredibly sad for a person to settle for and actually want the “safety” of a meaningless job when there is so much more to life.

Job Security Is A Myth

The bottom line is this, if you work for somebody else, even if it’s the U.S. Government, you have no job security. Why? Because someone else makes the decisions. How can we be in control of our careers, finances, or happiness, when someone else has the power to fire you?

How many people do we know that have lost their “secure” jobs? How many stories have we heard regarding long time, hard working, and dedicated employees getting laid off? Far, far too many.

I worked for Merrill Lynch in 2004 and 2005, when it was considered an unstoppable brokerage powerhouse. Fast forward 3 years and 50 billion dollars in mortgage backed securities losses, and Merrill Lynch was insolvent. It just goes to show you that no matter how large, powerful, or financially stable a company is, you never know what can happen.

Add don’t even get me started on these large corporations lying their asses off to us about their financial stability.

Do you remember the last half of 2008 and the first few months of 2009, when the stock market was getting absolutely hammered? Large, well established companies were folding left and right.

Here is a short list of well known companies that declared bankruptcy during that period:

  • Bear Stearns
  • GM
  • Chrysler
  • Washington Mutual
  • Eddie Bauer
  • Mrs. Fields (not the cookies!!!)
  • Circuit City

What do you think happened to all those employees? All their benefits, retirement savings, and “security” didn’t exempt them from getting thrown out onto the streets to fend for themselves.

If we are going to be truly secure in our professions, we need to be the decision makers. I’m not advocating that we all quit our jobs and start our own companies, but I can think of no better way to be in total control of our financial futures than to have our own business.

Why are we going to spend the best years and most of our lives building another persons business? Are we incapable of finding something we love to do and creating a business from it? Of course not.

Create Your Own Job Security

If we understand that we have no job security if we’re not in charge, then why not figure out how to be in charge?

The problem is that we live in a society that breeds sheep. The vast majority of Americans are sheep. This is not an insult, it’s just a fact. Sheep need to be told what to do. If we were raised to believe that we need to follow a certain path in life to be successful, should we be surprised that most of us need to be led?

There are countless different ways to create job security for yourself, we just need to figure out what is going to be our path.

Using myself as an example, my plan to create my own job security is the following:

  • Create a valuable resource (this blog) for people.
  • Build an online community and integrate myself fully into it
  • Turn my blog into a valuable asset by creating a business strategy and implementing it
  • Begin earning income with my blog through various monetization methods
  • Create a passive income stream, which will allow me freedom over my time and allow me to be in charge of my financial future

Let me clarify that I am NOT an expert in this field (yet). These are my personal ideas to build my online business and whether it turns out to look like this or not, only time will tell.

What I AM an expert in however, is knowing how most of our thinking about job security is complete bullshit. I’ve spent 24 years as an employee and have seen job “security” fail more times than I want to remember…

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