“I’ve been laid off. The entire building has been shut down, and we have no idea if anyone is going to be hired back.”
I remember my dad telling my mom this when I was around eight years old. It was the beginning of a very hard time financially and emotionally for our family. Dad had worked for the same manufacturing company for over 18 years, beginning when he was a teenager just out of technical school. There had been short layoffs in the past, but this was the real thing.
In the early 1990s, things began to change in many companies. The “secure” jobs with big pensions all but disappeared. A lot of manufacturing was outsourced to other countries, including work my Dad and several hundred other people did. White collar work has followed also to a certain extent. To create a successful and stable career for yourself, you have to be creative in how you approach it. While it’s difficult that a lot of work concepts have gone away, it’s also opened up new opportunities for people who are willing to pursue them.
Everyone in that building thought their job was secure and that they’d likely retire from there. It’s how they were raised. Problem is things didn’t work out that way, and almost no one back a back-up income. So one event turned into both a career crisis and a financial crisis.
If anything good came out of that, it was that I learned something I wasn’t even being taught in school. Beginning in my teens, I started looking for a career that would be stable. What I found was my thinking was too narrow. The people I found who were successful and stable financially all had one thing in common. They all did more than one thing to make money.
So as I was going to college and developing career ideas, I decided I would do more than one thing as well. From age 19 until today at age 24, I spent most of my free time developing little side businesses and income streams both on-line and traditionally. Some ideas worked and others failed. The point is I kept learning and didn’t give up. It also helped that I talked with a lot of business owners and read practical books that aren’t necessarily used in colleges but were useful.
From just my own life experience, I can tell you that having more than one source of income is worth the extra work. The payoff is you get your life and your time back. Because I want to pay off debt faster, I still have a part-time job in addition to running what used to be my “side” businesses. The great thing is the job income is now just gravy, and if I got laid off it would barely make a dent in our income.
Because most of my income is generated on-line, within a couple of years I’ll have the ability to be mobile. If we want to take 12 months off to see the country, we’ll be able to do it. If my family or my husband’s family has an event, there’s no having to ask a boss if it’s okay to live my life or not. I’m being a little sarcastic, but you never realize how much income controls people’s lifestyles until you get into the position where you really have freedom. It’s even sweeter when you’ve earned it.
In the future, I want to be a mom who’s able to spend time with my kids without worrying about bills or feeling guilty about staring at their picture while sitting in a cubicle. People do what they need to do to feed their families, and I don’t want to minimize that. The thing is however if you do have the ability and the willingness to change your life for the better, you can’t wait for someone to give you permission. You just have to go for it and not worry about being a little different. Doing the work for a few years is just worth it.
I hope this has at least got you thinking. Good luck and best wishes to you!