My memories of the holiday we’ve just returned from are dominated by the stress my husband was put under.
By one of the companies he contracts for (who I will refer to as Company A for the purposes of this post).
Throughout our ‘holiday’ Dave was bombarded with phone calls and emails from them, his sub-contractors and disgruntled Company A customers. To the point that we fell out and it cast a shadow over our only break of 2020. The irony is that had he been an employee, they would not have legally been able to constantly contact him on holiday.
Company A expect him to be available five days a week to complete the jobs on their books. When they’re fully aware that he works with a number of companies. Despite having worked for himself for over 20 years, Dave’s biggest battle is getting them to see that. And I fear that his experience to date with this company have meant that the employee mentality has rubbed off on him somewhat.
The ongoing situation with Covid-19 and the challenges it brings for tradesmen/the self-employed, means he’s been afraid of speaking up and saying what he really thinks. About Company A’s lack of organisation, ill-thought out business model and the amount of hand-holding he’s doing. Because he doesn’t want to cut off his nose to spite his face and part company with them before he’s ready. Or worse than that the work he does for Companies B and C will dry up due to another lockdown and their supplier factories shutting down.
Most of us play the game of life safely because of what we deem to be security. But living a life of fear of losing one’s security is probably the most powerful hindrance to our financial growth. Yet it’s also what keeps the economy moving.
We tow the party line because we fear the consequences of speaking up. The whole workplace set-up is based on lies, politics, one-upmanship and watching your back. I’d bet my life on it that most companies don’t conduct exit interviews. And, amongst those that do, a large percentage of them are just ticking HR/employee rights tick boxes. Or worse than that, they don’t do anything with the feedback from their exiting employees. And let’s face it, most people don’t want to do anything to jeopardize them getting a good reference from a previous employer. So they keep schtum about what they really think, and the same toxic cycle goes on. I was no different. Fueled by the fear of failure, I told myself for years that I was happy as I had a regular paycheck at the end of each month.
For years I was fed by society that starting a business and foregoing a monthly pay cheque is a risky move. But the truth is, relying on one source of income for life is far riskier than starting your own online business. And having as many income streams as you choose to set up. Something that is very possible with Affiliate Marketing and other web-based business opportunities in the digital age.
People leave managers, not jobs
But when it comes to interviews for an equivalent job with a new organisation, we can’t say why we no longer want to work for our last employer. Because it’s not the done thing. And so we’re forced to become economical with the truth about why we resigned from our previous role (or were sacked). Because we hated our line manager/supervisor/the hours/the politics. Need I go on? And the whole cycle continues.
Dave and I have both been very lucky to work pretty much continuously since late March when the lockdown was first introduced in the UK. In my case, my office-based role at a university enabled me to work from home. And Dave works outside and doesn’t need to enter customers’ houses, so he’s largely unaffected. And, if we go into lockdown again, as is looking likely in the next six months, we’ll manage. Dave more than managed for many years with one source of income when he contracted with one company.
And in any case, now that we’ve just rented out our three-bedroom house to (hopefully) long-term tenants, the mortgage and most of our bills are covered. And we also have the option to rent out our tiny home if things go awry in the construction industry.
Dave thought he wanted everything to go through him, but now this is happening he doesn’t like it. I understand why he’s doing it. it’s for us. This is compounded by the fact that he feels responsible for the people who work with him. Gone are the days of finding the perfect spot outside a lovely pub on a river. When he could a swim and wash off the exertion and stresses of the day. Followed by a lovely meal and a couple of drinks in the pub.
“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” – Anaïs Nin
Dave’s original motivation for taking on more work with Company A was so that we could afford to buy a Sprinter van and convert it. But since Irene (our already converted Fiat Ducato) found us, he doesn’t need to do that anymore. And, after the year we’ve had so far, the extra money matters far less than it used to. But what I’ve certainly learnt that a change of scenery doesn’t give you a holiday from your head. But it has certainly provided some of the clarity I’ve been craving.
If you take one thing from reading this blog post, be it the belief that financial freedom and security are much more than having money in your bank account. Real wealth is about enriching life experiences and living in a purposeful, fulfilling and meaningful way. And, perhaps more than anything, it is about having the time and freedom to live your life doing what you love.
So do me a favour?
Use fear to motivate yourself to take action, or even better, put the fear aside and just take action. Maybe you have family obligations and a big mortgage but feel the fear and do it anyway. Consider an online business with several income streams as security for your future and take the steps you need to in order to make it happen.