It should go without saying, but let’s get this out of the way: expletives aren’t generally appropriate in the workplace. They are, however, sometimes appropriate to use in your head. Directed toward your workplace. Sometimes, you just gotta get out of there. But you need to make sure you can.
Now, to be entirely clear and avoid any liability lawsuits, we’re not financial advisors. If you have financial questions, please speak with a licensed professional. They can help you take a look at your own specific numbers and situation.
Here’s our take on how you can make sure your always 100% in control of your career.
You Need a Skill You Can Do as a Freelancer … Even if You Don’t Want to Freelance
Not everyone wants to become a full-time freelancer, and that’s OK! There are plenty of benefits to being an employee on staff at a company and working with them as a freelancer.
But as we found out in 2020, it’s possible for unforeseen events to wipe out entire industries (travel, restaurants, and childcare to name a few).
However, that’s always a possibility when a business has control over your career. They may merge with another company and downsize your department. They may dissolve the company. There are plenty of possibilities.
And while we don’t advocate spending a lot of time worrying about these “what ifs,” we do advocate having a set of skills that protect you should anything happen and you need or want to leave your job. This could be a skill you’re already doing, one you occasionally do, or one that you decide to start learning right now!
Read more about the importance of having a parachute skill >>
Save Enough Money So You Can Walk Away from Any Situation
Now that you have a skill that you know you could fall back on when and if you need to, it’s time to get your financial situation in order.
Our team members have worked on-staff as employees and as freelancers, and we value having control over our careers. So, it’s our firm opinion that you need to have enough money in your savings account so that you can walk away from any situation and not have to worry about how you’ll pay your bills.
This is called quit-your-job money or, for many, “Eff You” money. As in, the kind of money where you can say, “Thank you very much, but I’ll be moving on now,” while simultaneously thinking, “Take this job and shove it.”
Life is simply too short to spend 40+ hours being miserable. It’s too short to spend that time being miserable on-staff at a crappy job and it’s too short to spend that time being miserable with a crappy client.
How you save this, of course, will vary. It may mean you start doing some freelance work on nights and weekends, building up your income while simultaneously building up your client base. It may mean you cancel one TV subscription for a few months or order takeout every other Friday instead of every Friday. Or it may be a mix of things.
Take a look at your finances to come up with your specific action plan for what steps you’re going to take, when you’re going to take them, and how long it will take you to hit your goal.
Begin Taking Freelance Work While On Staff
I always encourage people who are working full-time, even working full-time at copywriting jobs, to take the occasional freelance copywriting gig. They help keep your skills and your portfolio fresh, but they also bring in extra cash and help you amass that financial cushion even faster.
Read more about how you can balance full-time and freelance work >>
I know that for some people, the idea of having a couple of months’ worth of expenses saved up seems impossible. But anything at all you can sock away helps you to get to that goal. And, again, the more freelance work you take on, the faster you can get there. (Also, the better you get at copywriting and the more you can raise your rates, the faster you can get there, too.)
One of the most dispiriting things in life is to feel trapped in a situation. And one of the most empowering things in life is knowing that you’re able to get yourself out of a situation if you need to.
You should never burn bridges (especially not in this industry), but you should also be able to politely walk away—and say “eff you” in your head—whenever you need to.
Your turn! Are you working on building a financial cushion? How’s it coming? Let us know in the comments below!
Last Updated on May 10, 2023
This article really hit home with me. I am stuck working in a job I hate for a man I can’t stand. This is good advice.
Nicki Krawczyk says
Well, I’m sorry to hear your job is so miserable right now, but I’m glad to hear you found the advice helpful! Keep me posted and let me know if you amass your Eff You money and put it to good use! 😉
Thanks for commenting!
Jim O'Connor says
Bang on. Freedom is priceless. And self respect comes a close second. But you need a stack of cash to pay for it.
Your advice about not verbalizing “Eff off” is sound. It’s almost more empowering and satisfying to do it politely…because they probably know what you are really saying. Also, you walk away still occupying the moral high ground. What’s that line about never getting in a fight with an idiot – something about people finding it hard to tell who the idiot is…
Love the posts, keep them coming. I’ve been a copywriter for years but I find your insights very refreshing and reassuring.
Nicki Krawczyk says
Yes—as you already know and many creatives soon discover, the industry is small! It will never be worth it to burn bridges since you never know when you’ll need those contacts (or contacts of those contacts).
I’m so glad you’re enjoying the posts—and thanks for commenting!