Why I Gave Up Job Security to Go Freelance


By concentrating full time on a job I truly enjoy, my overall salary has increased roughly 10%, and I’ve since branched out by writing for other sites and even appeared on “Good Morning America.” Despite these high points, I do miss certain aspects of my old job, like my coworkers and the joint sense of purpose that traditional employment can bring.

A recent episode of MSNBC’s “Up with Chris Hayes” focused on the changing face of America’s workers. They stated that a third of the country is considered “contingent workers,” meaning temp, part-time or contract employees. These workers, they argued, don’t receive the same commitment or support from their companies. One guest even called this growing trend “an inconvenient truth.” They looked at contract work like a problem that needed to be addressed.

In many ways, they had great points. My employers don’t owe me more than a month’s notice before terminating my contract. They don’t pay into my retirement or invest into my training. I’m not a part of their company. But none of that takes away from the work that I do.

As a contract worker, I know that I can demand a higher cost than I would as a salaried employee because I’m still cheaper than someone who needs office space and health care. I know that I can juggle multiple employers at once, and that I can manage my time for them in whatever way fits my life best. Once I figured out how to plan my own tax payments and retirement savings, it was just a matter of having the fiscal control to follow through.

It’s not always simple, but the payoff is a job that I love and work-life balance that would never be possible in a traditional work arrangement. In the end, it wasn’t all about passion and paychecks. However, I realized that if you have the two, it only takes a little more effort to figure out everything else.

Love reading other people’s financial tales? Check out more great LearnVest-exclusive personal stories.

lindsay cross 2Lindsay Cross is a former data-analyst-turned-writer who is now an associate editor at Mommyish.

  • Yary Gonzalez

    Inspirational Article! Thanks

  • http://twitter.com/eemusings eemusings

    Congratulations! Editorial isn’t the easiest field to make it in, but those who love it make it work.

  • Jeff

    All very laudable, but if you had a partner’s income and benefits as a safety net before you took the plunge your risk was limited. Personally, I get tired of reading about females having the “courage” to opt out of the rat race to pursue their passion only to learn later in the article that their husband’s are in full-time employment and able to mitigate against any significant drop in their standard of living. Try going freelance when you’re the sole breadwinner in the family. That’s a REAL leap of faith.

  • http://twitter.com/soulshock99 Morena Vattuone

    Hi Lindsay! Thanks for a great article! I think everyone makes good points, as well as Jeff below, however in my opinion, the takeaway from your article is that no matter your situation, take the time as you did, to map out how following your passion would impact your current financial picture. It was very smart to speak with a financial advisor who can really help you cull out the “true costs” of making such a move. Not to discourage you but instead to map out how you are going to tackle any gap that you may discover. Granted, having a supportive partner, both emotionally and financially, is a blessing, but in your case, it shouldn’t discount your work in this article. Everyone’s situation is different, and no one should be villified for having resources, and inversely, no one should be judged for any lack. We are all adults and we have to do what’s best given our situation. We all have to start somewhere! But combining passion with a methodical approach is smart in any financial circumstance. Thank you!