Today, everyone seems to be trying to quit their day jobs.
I don’t have anything against ditching the 9-to-5 — I spent 12 years without a regular day job.
You don’t have to jump on the bandwagon just because dumping the day job is the latest trend, though. The reality is that there are plenty of reasons to keep your day job.
Before you quit your traditional job to pursue the dream of freelancing, stop and consider the reasons behind this move — and realize that you might be better off sticking it out in the rat race.
Perks of full-time employment
After a decade of paying for individual health insurance with my freelance income, my then-husband finally got a salaried job with benefits. Until I had access to work benefits, I severely underestimated how awesome they are.
Some of the perks that come with full-time employment can include:
- Employer-subsidized health insurance: Your employer picks up part of the tab for your health insurance. Once you experience the difference, it’s hard to get excited about paying for individual coverage again.
Plus, because your portion of the premium comes out of your paycheck before you see the money, it doesn’t really hurt that much.
- Employer-sponsored retirement plan: Never underestimate the power of an employer’s 401k match. Having an employer help you enroll in a retirement plan is a great step toward investing and building wealth for the future. If your company offers to match a portion of your contribution, you get free money to boot.
- Childcare stipend: Not every job comes with a childcare stipend, but you can find some companies that offer one (or even have a daycare center on-site).
- Gym stipend: Way back in the day a company I worked for had an arrangement with a local gym to pay for employee memberships. I got to work out for free whenever I wanted.
- Education stipend: You might be able to take advantage of continuing education opportunities and classes, billed to your employer. In some cases, employers are willing to pay off your student loans, too.
There are plenty of other perks at a traditional job, depending on your employer. Maybe you get to drive a company car, you’re issued a smartphone, or your work campus offers meals prepared by an in-house chef.
Whatever full-time employment benefits you’re offered, take stock of them and see how much they save you each year.
Regular hours and job security
Not everyone prefers the uncertainty that can come with running your own business or working on a freelance basis.
I love the freelance lifestyle because freedom and flexibility are very important to me. However, I know plenty of people who like the idea of clocking in, clocking out, and leaving work behind each day. There’s no shame in that game.
There’s a lot to be said for regular hours and an expectation of reasonable job security. You know when the paycheck is coming, and you know how much you’ll earn.
When you leave your day job behind, you don’t always make the same amount of money from month to month. It can be stressful if you aren’t financially ready for the uncertainty.
Full-time employment has the advantage of allowing you a little more certainty in your financial situation. Sticking with it can be a smart play for you.
Even if you have a side gig, there’s nothing wrong with using it for extra cash while maintaining the stability of your day job. In fact, that can be a good idea, since it’s almost always smart to diversify your income streams.
Do you like your job?
Finally, there’s no reason to quit full-time employment if you like your job. Are you doing something meaningful that you love? Keep that job.
Start a side gig if you want extra money, but don’t feel like you have to grow it into something that can replace your regular job if you enjoy what you do for your 9-to-5.
Plus, what if you lose your passion for your side gig? Many of us start side businesses out of passion, but once it becomes your job instead of your money-making hobby it can stop being so fun.
You don’t want to lose your passion. If you like your day job and you enjoy earning money with your side gig, there’s no reason to quit just because it’s trendy to “escape” the bonds of a regular job.
Telecommuting changes what makes a real job
Thanks to technology, it’s possible to have the best of both worlds. Working for a remote company can give you freedom and flexibility while still providing the perks of a traditional job.
In some careers, it’s possible to earn a regular paycheck with benefits and still avoid the rat race. With a little searching, you can find a company that offers the right balance of flexibility and steady benefits.
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