I was lucky early in my career to have an exceptional mentor. One of the many things that he told me was to work as hard as possible to make myself financially independent from my employer.
To me, that meant to become professionally exceptional. A lynchpin member of the organization that had recognized value. That makes a disruption in employment less likely.
It also meant that I should keep my materialist impulses in check. To live below my means to build a lifestyle and a nest egg that made a disruption in employment financially tolerable.
First, I want to acknowledge that financial independence is not as easy person to person. Circumstances and resources dictate how much that you can do and how quickly it can be done.
However, if / when you do it: What is your reward when you pull it off? Why is it important?
In perhaps its simplest form, it is a form of Insurance in two ways. Being a linchpin employee makes it easier to get and stay employed. Having a healthy nest egg, renders an employment disruption less threatening.
However, if that was the only value we identified, it would sell this wisdom short. The greatest value comes from two other benefits:
- You become an incredibly valuable employee when you have the peace of mind of financial independence. You can speak out courageously, push back on bad ideas and exhibit a braver bias for action given the security that you feel.
- Your power also goes up. Someday, your employer may ask you to do something that you morally or ethically do not want to do. In that moment, you want to be able to push back courageously or resign, if necessary. Financial independence will allow you to evaluate the situation objectively and do what is right.
This advice made a huge difference throughout my career. I hope it holds some value for you as well.
Just my opinion. What do you think? Let me know in the comments.
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