If you’re gonna brag make sure it’s your money you flaunt; depend on no one else to give you what you want

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My dad once asked me what I valued most in the world. He asked me to write it down and give it to him. (He’s odd like that.)

I never did. Not because I resented my parents (which was often true back then, let’s be honest) but because I really didn’t know.

His earlier question was easy enough to answer. What is the most important thing?

Love, of course.

My brother went for Truth, by the way.

But this one…I thought about it. And I could not come up with a definitive answer.

A while later, he called me out on it. You never gave me a reply, he said. But I think I know what it is. You value your independence, more than anything else.

The plan was always to leave home upon graduating from high school and starting university. I ended up leaving a year and a half before that. It wasn’t pretty. It wasn’t easy. It wasn’t planned that way. It was messy, conspicuous and no doubt caused gossip among the neighbours. And a lot changed for me after that. To the casual observer, it might seem that I might as well just have moved back in.

But it went much deeper than that. Barring major catastrophe, I know that I will never again live with my parents. I will do whatever it takes to stand on my own two feet. Even accepting a graduation gift (cash) from them was very difficult to come to terms with. I never ask for help  (and I am aware that is not always something to be proud of, by the way); I find ways to manage on my own.  I have given a lot to BF, but never to the point of jeopardising my own stability. A little part of me has an irrational fear of ending up on the street (although I know it won’t happen). It’s why I’m so set on having a solid emergency fund in the bank.

Eventually, I realised he was right. The funny thing was, he knew me better than I knew myself. We may have very little in common, but some things, I suppose, are passed down.

Independence. Essentially, that was, I think, the root of all our problems. The result: I became fully independent earlier than I bargained. And I embraced it. I was born for it. To make my own decisions, to answer to myself.

Now I’m starting to wonder, can one ever be truly independent working for someone else? I love having a steady job, great colleagues, regular pay. I love not having to chase payments or seek out clients.

I read a lot of blogs. Some touch on, or even focus on, escaping the 9-5 and lifestyle design. I’m also following a lot of blogs about freelancing, particularly in the writing field. At this stage, that’s not for me. In fact, freelancing is slowly starting to take up more and more of my time…and I’m going to have to draw a line in the sand.

But increasingly I’m wondering: Should this be something I actively work towards? I’m not saying never, especially as I don’t know if I’d want to work full time when we have kids one day…but is putting most of my eggs in the employee basket going to hurt in the long run?

What are your thoughts? Is working for a corporation ever the best answer?

10 thoughts on “If you’re gonna brag make sure it’s your money you flaunt; depend on no one else to give you what you want

  • Reply Daisy February 1, 2011 at 03:07

    I used to think I wanted to work for myself, but now I see that notion as suffocating. I know several people that own businesses, work for themselves, etc & they have much more work than people who are employed by a company. It’s a lot of stress, pressure, and money. I’m a personal fan of stability – I like the idea of a cheque coming in every two weeks, etc. I think that whatever works for you is the right thing!

  • Reply Kim February 1, 2011 at 04:30

    Depends on what you mean by “independence”. Working for yourself makes you independent of some external constraints such as a boss, protocols, compliance, dress code and boring meetings that you have to attend. On the other hand, I agree with Daisy 100% in that it will totally take over your life in other ways, at least in the begining – you are 100% responsible for your own success and nothing is guaranteed, not even $1 in revenue. That’s a lot of pressure on yourself. But some people just hate the idea of answering to “the man” and would do anything to escape that, if you are one of those people, then I’d say self-employment is the way to go.

    I still think that a large e-fund is crucial no matter what you do though. No matter what you do, there’s a mile between the cup and the mouth and until it’s in your bank account, you’re answerable to someone or something for your living.

  • Reply gem February 1, 2011 at 04:34

    I think there’s a way to make yourself so marketable in corporate world, that you’re never under anyone’s thumb because even if they fire you, you can find another job in two seconds. Also, there are ways to make yourself so valuable to a company that they’d be screwed without you. It’s not necessarily the best way to be independent, but I think it counts, heh.

  • Reply Amber from Girl with the Red Hair February 1, 2011 at 10:38

    I love the IDEA of working for myself doing freelance but in reality I also really, really love my regular, salaried paycheque. It’s a fine line to walk I guess!

  • Reply The Asian Pear February 1, 2011 at 12:39

    I don’t think that working within a corporation makes you more or less dependent.

    Even if you were an entrepreneur, you’ll be dependent on your customers and clients for your well-being according to your definition. I would say though that (in a very Marxist critical theory kinda way) that being an employee you will always be subjugated and taken advantage of by the owners of the company.

    That being said, you don’t have to put your “eggs all in one basket.” There’s freelancing and investing. You can grow your hobby into profitable businesses.

  • Reply Emily Jane February 2, 2011 at 01:57

    I think it’s a fascinating psychological study the way someone “higher than you” affects your mentality toward independence and success. I don’t think it makes you more or less independent, but I think it can definitely contribute to mind games of making you THINK it does…

  • Reply Lindy Mint February 2, 2011 at 13:58

    I don’t think there is anything wrong with a 9-5. The key is being with a company that sees your independence as an asset, and lets you use it.

    Even as a freelancer you are going to be dependent on clients to pay you, or dependent on customers to buy your product. There are a lot of pros and cons, but I don’t think it has to be an either-or situation. It’s just a matter of the right fit. And having a back up plan, of course.

  • Reply Jaime February 4, 2011 at 18:12

    I think we’re interdependent on each other. A company needs clients to survive without clients how would they make money? And no I don’t think that you’re a loser just because you work for a company.

    That’s fine for some people, but not everyone. When I was a kid, I couldn’t wait to grow up, and live on my own, I really didn’t like my parents making decisions for me. A lot of the decisions they made for me turned out to be poor, and I think moving out is a very important step in becoming who you want to be.

    Its really not your life until you move out. When you live with your parents, you have to go along with their decisions, with what they want, what they think is best for you, even if its things that you hate.

    My parents made me go to this high school even when I told them I was bullied on an every day basis. They still made me go! It was so frustrating, my mom apologized eventually, but too late, it was years after I graduated high school.

    Yeah yeah I know all parents make mistakes because they’re normal people but so much misery could’ve been avoided. I knew that school was wrong for me, some places are just wrong for you.

    I had social anxiety, and a lot of self-esteem issues after I graduated from high school. Its taken me into my late twenties to work out my issues. My parents also made me do activities that I hate as a kid like the piano. Finally I quit because I just couldn’t stand it, to this day I still hate playing the piano.

    No my parents didn’t abuse me or anything, but IMO childhood isn’t some magical fantasy land. At least mine wasn’t. My parents were also disappointed because I’m okay with being middle class and they had aspirations for me to be rich. lol.

    Nothing can compare to being on your own and making your own decisions.

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