Income versus Paycheck

Not to sound scary or anything, but someone has to say it. And maybe you’ve figured this out on your own already, so when you read this, you’ll just nod your head and agree. But if you haven’t yet, I’m talking to you because you need to know this. It’s one of the secrets to being happier and more successful.

So what I want you to know is that there’s no such thing as security in your career.

Do you know anyone who’s self employed? Ask them about it. The self-employed person is all too familiar with the truth about security… that there is no such a thing.

Do you know anyone who’s ever been laid off from a job? Fired from a job? Maybe this is something you’ve personally gone through. It’s the kind of event that will wake you up and make you realize that security is a fallacy.

Helen Keller once wrote that “Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it.”

The definition of security is “the state of being free from danger or threat.”

So that’s the definition, but it’s not something we can actually attain – a state of being where we’re completely free from danger or threat.

It’s really more of a sliding scale of comfort, isn’t it? While you can’t ever be completely free from danger or threat, you can achieve a state of being where you’re comfortable with the level of security you have.

Now, like I said, I’m not trying to scare you. Maybe shake you up a bit perhaps, so you really hear what I’m saying, but not to make you feel helpless. Because you’re absolutely NOT helpless!

And well, frankly, you do have to act as if you’re secure to some extent. I mean, you can’t go around paranoid all the time. That’s not helpful, nor is it healthy – and that goes for both your physical and your mental health.

But I do want you to stop and think about it for a few minutes right now, because it’s wise to create a shift in your perception so that you’re not living in an illusion either.

What I want is for you to realize that you have personal power. Like I said, you’re not helpless. You are in charge of your life if you want to be.

So let’s talk about it.  Since you can’t live in a pure state of security, what I suggest you do is strive for increasing your comfort with that fact. And you do this by shifting your mentality from thinking of yourself as a person who needs a paycheck to someone who provides value for an income.

Going to work and thinking of yourself as an employee getting a paycheck is a more subservient mindset. You’re one of the masses, a peon, subject to the whims of others.

Going to work and thinking of yourself as a sort of hired consultant providing value for an income is a more self-sovereign mindset. You’re a valuable, unique person in charge of yourself and your future.

And yes, you do have a unique value. Everyone has as a unique value or a unique promise of value. Whether you’re experienced with a body of work or you’re new to the workforce, you’ll have something to offer that is unique.

When you think in these terms… in terms of offering your unique promise of value to the market… you can pull income to yourself from more than one place. This can happen in a linear way: if you want to leave your current employer, you know someone else will value it elsewhere. And it can happen simultaneously: if you want to be self-employed, you can offer the value to more than one entity that will send you income in exchange, or if you want to keep a job and do something on the side to generate the income, so be it.

The point is, when you rely on an employer to decide your value with a paycheck and that is the only way you accept your own value, you have taken the power out of your own hands and given it away. You may think you’ve increased your security by putting it in someone else’s hands, but in fact, the “danger or threat” level is actually higher in this scenario.

To increase the level of security in your career, you must increase the power you have in and over your own career. In this way of being, you see that no employer owes you anything except what you’ve agreed to exchange. You provide your valuable skills and services, and they compensate you. And when that time comes when the company you work for decides to part ways with you before you thought you were ready to go, you’ll feel more secure because you are clear about how that same exchange can happen with some other company.

So, shifting your thinking to income versus paycheck doesn’t actually make you secure. After all, I’ve already established that you can’t do that. But what you do is become more comfortable with the fact that there’s no security. And you become more comfortable with it by increasing your personal power – by taking charge of yourself and your future.


Angela Loeb is into self-development & personal empowerment, being awed by nature, writing, and being inspired by superhero stories. She’s also a career expert who’s advised job seekers for more than two decades.

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