Freedom Versus Security

Every time I read anything by Dan Miller, I get inspired and excited about working for myself.

Ten seconds after I get excited, I have a miniature heart attack as fear and resistance sets in. I worry about not having a regular paycheck and benefits.


And then I remember we’ve already been unemployed for an 18 month stretch — on purpose!

Guess what happened? We didn’t die. Our teeth didn’t fall out. Not having benefits didn’t hurt near as bad as you might imagine. Our lack of security freed us up for powerful experiences and extreme growth.

It’s just hard to get to the point where you can shun security and embrace the freedom of working for yourself.

It all boils down to the trade-off between security and freedom.

There’s nothing wrong with getting salary or hourly pay. It means a bunch of security.

But what if you’re itching to be your own boss? What if you have a company you would love to get started? What if you realize you could be making more money doing something you love?

To follow through on those possibilities, you will need to sacrifice security. No more guaranteed hourly rate. No more biweekly paycheck. No more pre-packaged benefits or paid holidays.

Yet at the same time, you gain freedom.

Freedom to work the hours you decide. Freedom to work with clients you choose. Freedom to do the tasks you enjoy.

And freedom to make more money than you would ever earn in a lifetime at your typical job.

It can be done.

You can find your own reasonably-priced health-care. You can save up three to six months as an emergency fund. You can get long-term disability insurance.

And you can achieve unlimited income based purely on how hard you work.

It’s all easier than it has ever been.

None of this will convince you unless you are dissatisfied with security and itching for adventure. None of this matters until your desire for freedom trumps your dependence on security.

I don’t know your life experiences, and I won’t mock anyone’s desire for security.

But this message is for all who are yearning for freedom, those who are beginning to despise security, and those who are ready to be uncomfortable for the sake of pursuing powerful goals.

Freedom awaits.

What does freedom look like to you?

Sick Time is for the Weak

I’m sick of sick people. And sick time as a benefit. I have no patience for illness, and the weak have no future here. There’s no time to be sick — there’s infinite work to be done!

My company offers sick time, same as most. But after several seconds of thought, I decided to cut our sick time in half for 2014. For the good of everyone who works here. I have excellent reasons, as listed below.

Why Sick Time Needs to Disappear

1. Employees abuse it.

When I used to work for the government, there was no flexibility on sick time. You had a bucket of hours available, and they could only be used for medical appointments and illness. If it wasn’t used up, it would expire at the end of the fiscal year.

Did those saps expect me not to use it all? I’m perfectly healthy, so I had to be creative. Like all awesome leaders, I found ways to use up my sick time budget right before it expired… to justify asking for more next year, of course! We all know budget increases are basically a reward for craftiness.

And this is exactly why I want to cut sick time in half — to thwart shady employees like the one mentioned above!

(This policy will affect absolutely all underlings, except for the top layer of leadership, which is not under anything, including the law.)

2. Sick time encourages employees to feel sick.

The thought of getting paid for time spent at any old medical appointment or at home with a cold is enough to make anyone feel awful. By reducing their sick time, my underlings will feel better, especially since their sickness will likely result in unpaid time off.

3. Employees don’t value work time enough.

Similar to my thoughts on vacation time, employees don’t realize how awesome work really is and how they should be doing it 90 hours a week.

Leadership Vacuum Top Tip

Let’s just admit it — too much of a good thing is a great thing.

Some time systems only allow you to clock in 40 hours, but I make my employees track every hour worked “for HR tracking purposes.” Tracking total hours worked constantly forces them to be aware of how much they love work more than other things!

4. Sick time is for the weak.

And the weak have no place here. Enough said!

W. Albert Jameson, IV

On the other hand…
Kicking your team members while they are down will only make them even more sick — sick of how you treat them. Also, if you don’t want team members abusing a valid system of benefits, hire better people.

Training Employees Isn’t Worth It

Why do employees think they are worth the money and time to train professionally? Watch them get an expensive education just to jump ship right after. I might consider it if they would show me results from the training beforehand.

happy birthday

An underling I’ve mentioned before, Alice, asked if it would be possible to send her to a special week-long training for the technology thingy she does here. She pointed out that she just finished a big project, and this would be a great way to polish her skills and improve her productivity before the next big project.

Let’s think about this for a moment. Should I pay good money for an employee to attend training — during work time, no less? Umm… No.

The last time I paid big bucks for an employee’s education, he left a month later. Why should I just waste money on an underling’s education, just so she can use it as leverage to get a better job elsewhere?! (That’s a silly thought, too, because this is the best company in the area, if not the state!) Not interested, Alice, no matter how helpful you think it will be. I’d rather have someone quit after I refuse to train them.

[Now that I think about it, I haven’t paid for any training for Nigel, yet he’s doing swimmingly! And, he’s not about to leave anytime soon. I’m thinking management one day…]

To be frank, I won’t even begin to CONSIDER paying for educated employees until they portray what they could do if they already already had the training. Like I’m going to throw wood on a fire when it’s not putting out much heat!

Workers exist to work and create widgets, just like engines exist to run and create power. There is simply no money to spend frivolously on who knows how many tune-ups here and there — as if it would even help much!

W. Albert Jameson, IV

On the other hand…
Professional training is an incredibly valuable way to invest in your team members, even if they leave soon after! The benefit it could bring to your company and them as individuals is usually well worth the cost.

John Maxwell says it best — “You will either invest in your team to learn, and they might leave with your free education, or you don’t invest in them to learn and they will remain dumb and stay.”

Vacation Time is Bad for Employees

Employees are poisoned by vacation time, so it should be extremely limited. It is impossible to live a balanced life.

My employees forget how great work is. They weasel out of it by taking time off. That, and they are ungrateful for how much vacation they get. My teacher used to say, “I don’t give grades — you earn them.” The same goes for vacations.

Ways to “Earn” Time Off

  • Work extra hours each week
  • Skip lunches
  • Never miss my meetings
  • Take the blame when a project has problems
  • Clean my house

People want time off, but they don’t realize how bad too much of it is. When employees spend too much time with their families, they forget all about the most important things in life: increasing dependence on work, earning the almighty wages, arbitrary deadlines, hundreds of policies, mountains of paperwork, and how to please people — specifically myself. Workers nowadays feel we should lead balanced lives, which is a complete myth. Here is a recent example:

An interviewee asked me about vacation time. I told her two weeks.

She said, “Excuse me, did you say your vacation policy is too weak?

She must have hoped I had mocked my own policy. I responded firmly, “Ten days.” How sad! She was ungrateful for all the time I pay people to do nothing! I then explained she would get one extra day if you are lucky enough to work here five years.

Employees are deceitfully productive after vacation because it changes their perspective about work. I don’t like it one bit! They are unhealthily excited the day they return from vacation, because they are distracted by and giddy about how great a time their family had skiing in the mountains or playing on the beach. If it were up to me, I wouldn’t offer any vacation and people wouldn’t expect it. Ideally, we would be grateful and satisfied and fulfilled just by coming into work each day, just like one big, org-charted, workaholic family.

W. Albert Jameson, IV

On the other hand….
Work can be the priority, but only temporarily. If one facet of life takes priority too long or too often, the lack of balance damages people and relationships. Team members need to enjoy ample time away from work so they come back energized and refreshed!