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Never Again

October 26th, 2009

I lost my job January 2006.

I lost 100% of my income the day I heard, over the phone, something to the effect of “we’re going to have to let you go.”

I felt equally bad for the other people who were getting let go from my company.  We had all given more than 100% to the company. Our loyalty was with the company, which I thought could be shown by the fact we hadn’t taken a raise or bonus for about three years (even though employees from the parent company, where some of us had come from, enjoyed raises and bonuses regularly), but we kept plugging away trying to make a go of this somewhat start-up.

It was a sickening time.  Alas, not to worry, I was going to land soon, I felt.

After weeks, which turns into months, I realized that “landing soon” was something other people might do – not me.

One group of people had the power to take away 100% of my income.  I was left with 100% of my expenses (mortgage, 2 cars, bills, etc.).

I think one person actually influenced the group to make the decision, and one other person from the group signed off on it, which made it happen.

It really comes down to one person.

In contrast, right now there is not one single person who controls my finances.

I don’t have one single contract or client or user who can do away with 100% of my income.

Even if I weren’t actively involved in my business I would still make money right now.  You can learn how I do it in my Multiple Streams of Income posts (the how is not as important as the idea that it’s actually happening).

How about you?  Have you relinquished 100% of your income to someone (or something (a corporation)) else?

If you have, what can you do to change that?

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12 Responses to “Never Again”

  1. It is remarkable how high a percentage of Gen Y are generating their income exactly as you recommend: through multiple streams of income. It is no longer prudent to work and even put your life savings in the hands of one organization, even if Congress considers them to be too big to fail. Just as investors have been told for years to diversify, so must we encourage employees to do the same. Don’t work for one employer. Work for multiple. And preferably have one of those employers be yourself so that you never have to worry about all of your employers telling you that you’re out of work.

  2. Susan Baida says:

    I have a similar story, except that in the same time frame that I lost my job, my father-in-law passed away and I learned that I was pregnant. These circumstances all contributed to my seeking new income streams and flexibility. I’m on the path to saying “Never Again” as well. Your advice and information have been priceless. Thank you! Now, when are we going to hear about Revenue Streams #7 and #8?

  3. Cliff Flamer says:

    It’s called a portfolio career: many streams, no one job and no stake in anything but yourself. After graduating with my MS in Counseling, I taught a bit at the state university, counseled students at a local community college, guest lectured here and there, and wrote resumes through my own company.

    As a result of holding all of these jobs, I

    -Could stay out of office politics
    -Didn’t fear budget cuts one bit
    -Took risks
    -Expanded my expertise
    -Made tons of money

    Eventually, I gave up everything but my own business, BrightSideResumes.com, which comprises enough services that I’m still doing the portfolio thing.

    The only way to live. And work.

    Spread out but not spread thin,

    -Cliff

  4. Hi Jason,

    Great post. Love it. It is a fantastic feeling to be in control and not have to worry about whether or not another person controls my life anymore.

    Sometimes it takes a while to get there, or there are different hurdles to overcome in getting there, but oh, it is so worth it. :)

    Erin

  5. Marcia R says:

    “Never again” is a beautiful phrase. This post is timely for me since I have straddled both employment and entrepreneurship for almost a decade and seriously ready to take the plunge. I know it won’t be easy, but what a goal to have.

    Marcia

  6. We’ve talked about this before, Jason, and though I am and have been self-employed for 25+ years, I still want to expand those multiple streams more than the several I have now. I think your advice is critical for the clients that those of us in the career industry work with to understand. I see the panic and the lack of vision in some of my clients eyes when they think of losing a job or when they have lost a job. Those feelings are normal for any loss but I try to teach it as an opportunity to do things that they never thought they could do and pursue their passions. When I see some of them get it, it is an exhilarating feeling and more so when I hear the “I DID it” reports!

  7. Great post. I’m finding more and more baby boomers (especially women) gravitating to entrepreneurship — and I’m one of them. They, too are tired of the vulnerable position they find themselves in after putting all of their “talent eggs” in one basket. When you look at the trend of self-employment as a multi-generational movement encompassing “X-ers” and “boomers”, it changes the talent conversation that employers of knowledge-workers should be having around the conference room table.

  8. Jason Alba says:

    @Steven – thanks for your comment – I’d like to learn more about this – in all of my travels and presentations I rarely find GenY to be doing this – is there a study or report or something you can point to, or is this based on your own travels?

    @Susan – while hard/stressful at the time, perhaps it was because of the circumstances that you looked harder at new income streams? That’s what happened to me – under considerable pressure is when it finally happened. And regarding #7 and #8, soon… soon!

    @Cliff – thanks for the comment – I had no idea you did all of that stuff at once but it is really cool to have you list out the major benefits of having multiple jobs/income streams. And I love your last line because when I talk about my multiple streams I feel like I should be spread thin, but I feel it is manageable – so perhaps I’m just spread out…

    @Erin – this morning I was thinking about a friend who sold his company for more than $30M. I was wondering what it would be like to not have to worry about how bills were going to be paid and your line “it is a fantastic feeling to be in control” really sings true – I’m in control (kind of) and it is a fantastic feeling!

    @Marcia Jump! Jump! Just kidding – I don’t know all the details and I’m sure you are managing your risks … but from what I hear, you won’t regret the move once you leave employment!

    @Julie – Very cool point that the “I DID IT” moment(s) can happen for our clients AND for ourselves, no matter how long we’ve been in business!

    @Carol – what a gem you left in the comment – you are suggesting that because of this move towards entrepreneurialism from two generations (and Steven might argue from Gen Y also) employers and companies should change what they are doing with/for us from a strategic perspective – I agree, and I see this too, but I think it will take a while for companies to come around to it. Perhaps we’ll be lucky enough to see significant changes in the way hiring, retention, etc. is done… !

  9. Thom Allen says:

    One thing I often hear from people who want to move from a 9-5 to something more diverse, is trying to replace the income level they are currently at without impacting their Family life. No matter how you look at it, most people live pay check to pay check. We have molded our lives around a specific amount of money. While striking out on your own has it’s benefits, controlling ones future can be overwhelming.

    But I say don’t let that stop you. Those around you will be your biggest barrier. Surround yourself with people who have similar goals. As an example, I really enjoy learning from Jason. I have seen him change over the past few years. He’s more confident, which is probably a far cry from where he was when he started JibberJobber. But he saw the need to diversify, and build a brand beyond JJ.
    .
    Having multiple streams of income seems necessary if you don’t want to have one source determine whether you make money or not. Jason, you’ve been an example of this. I would recommend doing that too. Spend time mind mapping your potential income streams. Then work on them one by one, get them going, then move on to the next. If one fails you have others to keep things moving along. This could also help eliminate the spread thin vs. spread out.

  10. [...] owner and professional career manager over the last few years.  I was surprised to see this in the comments from him: I have seen [Jason (me)] change over the past few [...]

  11. [...] owner and professional career manager over the last few years.  I was surprised to see this in the comments from him: I have seen [Jason (me)] change over the past few years. Oh boy… here it comes… what exactly [...]

  12. [...] -        personal points of view (like this one) Never again! [...]

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