I Thought That Leaving My Stable Nursing Job Was Risky. I Was Wrong.

Why self-employment is less risky in the modern world

Photo by Amy Treasure / Unsplash

I used to believe that quitting your job is risky.

Who in their right mind would want to give up their consistent paycheque for a business you aren't sure whether it will take off? Not me.

But last year, something happened.

At 26, I achieved what society has told us to do: get married and get a mortgage. And I thought, "Is that it? What am I supposed to do with the rest of my life now? Work as a nurse, forever?"

My subconscious panicked with that thought. A year later, I am a self-employed writer.

It's been two months since I left the nursing world and I'm beginning to understand why a stable job is riskier than self-employment.

Here's why.

Your accumulation of wealth doesn't depend on one boss

We've been sold the retirement lie all our lives.

Go to school, get a degree, work 9 - 5 for 40 years and then you get to retire. A 2020 survey by Schwab Retirement Plan Services found that the average 401(k) participant believes they need 1.2 million to retire.

Most people don't know how to manage their money, struggling to live their lives and let alone save a million dollars to retire.

So, we let our jobs create our retirement plan for us even though it's terrible. I did a quick calculation. I expect to receive about $8K per year from the government if I stayed in my job until 65.

Besides retirement, your increase in salary solely depends on the market value.

I made about $25/hour in my current hometown even after getting a "raise" in the past three years as an Emergency nurse.

As a self-employed writer, my rate started at $50/hour. After six months, I increased my rate to a minimum of $100/hour. How? Because I could. And did I have clients who complained? No. Because I'm the only person who can write specific words that they want.

Staying in your current job means that you'll never get the hourly rate you truly desire.

It will always depend on what the organization is willing to pay for you. When you give so much financial power to one person, one job, or one organization, it's riskier. You can't live off on the idea that you'll be comfortable when you retire or get incremental raises.

And when you wait to accumulate wealth when you retire, you risk missing out on your life. You risk missing out on your current or family life. And not to get morbid, but also, what if you die before that? Have we not learned anything from the pandemic?

Your life becomes less risky when you take steps to control how much you earn, according to your terms.

You own the most expensive currency

When I was in university, I believed that I had all the time in the world.

I took on every job and every opportunity I had to make money. I'd work overtime in my nursing job to earn a few hundred dollars more. I'd work 80 hrs+ per week to make a $4,000 paycheque, but it cost me irritable mood, low energy, and feeling depressed.

When I got into entrepreneurship, I realized how valuable my time is.

But you don't see that when you're working one job. You don't realize that you spend a quarter of your life working. On your days off, you spend some time socializing with friends and families. But you never have time for things that you truly want to do such as your long-lost hobbies. Life always gets in the way.

As a self-employed, you get to own your time.

Once you learn how to raise your hourly rate, you can work less. Then, the rest of your time becomes play. Last month, I worked 30 hours and earned the same salary as my previous job.

What did I do for the rest of the time?

  • Created a digital product that brought me $20 passively
  • Made 3 videos on YouTube that brought me a $99 consultation
  • Watched Netflix shows without feeling guilty
  • Worked out 5 times a week
  • Cooked healthy meals three times a week

I actually have time to do things I genuinely want to do.

Being self-employed isn't about working fewer hours. It's about spending fewer hours doing things you don't like and more hours doing what you love.

You get to fire people and experiences

I fired one of my freelance clients this week.

Yes, they didn't let me go. I let them go. Our initial arrangement was to deliver an article for every topic they gave me. But the founder restructured the team, so the people that assigned topics and analyzed data were also gone.

The responsibility of the company fell on me.

I was in charge of researching what topics were worth pursuing based on backed-up data. I was in charge of writing, editing, and uploading them to the company website. These were tasks I didn't want to do because one, I'm terrible at it, and two, I didn't want to do them. I only signed up to write high-quality articles.

After giving them a chance, I had no choice but to let them go.

If I didn't have experience with my other clients, I probably would've stayed because they would be my only source of income.

But because I have other options, I can be picky.

I chose the world of self-employment so that I wouldn't have to deal with B.S. Sounds entitled? Maybe. But am I happy with my choice? Yes.

Having a choice is one of the true definitions of freedom. Staying in your comfortable job won't give you that.

After all, you can't fire your boss.

Final Thoughts

I never understood why people choose the self-employed lifestyle.

But now I do. It's a life where you become completely autonomous. You decide how you're going to make money, you decide where your time will go and where you'll go. You decide what will make you happy.

Don't quit your job just yet, but start building a life where you can fire your current boss.

Jerine Nicole

Jerine Nicole