Way back in March of 2006, two months after quitting my job, I wrote about the myth of job security while commenting on an interesting article from Entrepreneur.com about business “urban legends”:
Myth #2: You’ll Miss the Security of a Job
My initial reaction to this one is the exact opposite of the first myth – NO WAY do I miss the “security” of a job. I have always made the argument that it’s MORE SECURE to run your own business. Jeffrey Henning, co-founder of Perseus Development Corp, says it perfectly in the article “When I quit my job, people were telling me I was crazy. I told them they had the illusion of security.”
See, employees can lose their job at any time, for reasons completely unrelated to individual performance. When that happens, they have lost their ONLY source of income. “We have 20,000 customers, if I lose a customer, it isn’t 100 percent of my income,” Henning adds.
Not to mention that if I decide to quit my business, I can sell it and get some serious money – can people sell their jobs when they decide to leave? It’s like the difference between buying a home and renting one. This is one of those things that I’ve tried over and over to tell people, but I just get blank stares from them and they think I’m crazy. I really don’t see how this can’t make sense to people, but it’s not worth the fight so I don’t even bother anymore. It really doesn’t matter what they think…
Funny, I don’t get those blank stares anymore. Instead, I get “you’re so lucky, you don’t have to worry about that” when the topic of job security arises. Other than this post and the post I wrote a few weeks ago about how much it sucks to be an employee, I haven’t thought once about my job security. If I was still in my engineering position, working for a publicly traded company whose stock has plummeted over the last year, I would be scared shitless for my job. I can’t tell you how many people told me it was stupid to leave the security of my job back then. It was one of the things that bothered me most when I first quit and had to fend off endless questions from my friends and family. Now there are very few jobs with more “security” than mine.
Listen, I’ll never make my career choices based upon the illusion of what’s secure and what’s not, because nothing worth doing is ever completely secure (in work or in life). However, it would take an epic catastrophe for our company to fall apart right now and for me to be jobless. If I was still in my old job, all it would take is a visit one morning from my boss. One is unlikely and I have quite a bit of control over, the other is much more likely and I would have much less control over.
I’m not saying this to brag or say “I told you so” to all of those people. That’s not what motivates me. Just that sometimes you can’t let what everyone else is telling you to do get in the way of doing what you know you’re supposed to do. If you’re going to do something different like starting a business, people will always give you a million reasons not to do it. Most of the time those reasons are derived from their own fears or misconceptions about running a business. Maybe it’s not the best technique in the world, but I just tend to block these people out.