How do you earn your living?

You might remember that a couple of days ago Alan asked the provocative question How much are you worth? Now, your income largely depends on what you do for a living and how you do it. So let’s discuss the various forms of employment, shall we? As I see it, there are three major types of employment:

  1. You have a permanent work contract.
  2. You are self-employment (as a free lancer).
  3. You have a your own company so you are an employer yourself.

Of course there are a great number of other possibilities, you can have several work contracts and do additional free lance work, you can work for somebody with or without paying taxes, you can work for somebody on some type of barter agreement. Or you could simply live off of your savings which you have invested wisely. So, what is your current situation or what are your job plans?[YSaerTTEW443543]

TOEIC listening, question-response: Are you sure you won’t have an appetizer?[YSaerTTEW443543]

In the US, most work contracts are not permanent, but merely “at will” contracts that say you can quit or be fired at any time, without any obligation on your part or on the company’s.

When I had a full-time job at a company, it was a bit aggravating to me, because my time wasn’t flexible and I couldn’t walk away from coworkers who were more trouble than they were worth. On the other hand, I knew where my work was going to come from from week to week.

When I was taking care of my father, I quit the company and went to work as an adjunct professor at three colleges. This had its own aggravations, but it also meant a lot of my time was flexible to be at home when my father needed me.

Gradually the college teaching work has been diminishing, until I’m almost 100% freelance – teaching at corporations or in private homes, translating, working on websites. I also do some trading on the stock market, and when things were slow at the beginning of the year, I made more that way than I did teaching. That and translation kept my bills paid until people were able to take their lessons again.

All in all, I prefer not having one single employer, because that way I can lose some work here, lose some work there, and not lose my livelihood. One door closes and another door opens. It also leaves me some freedom to stop working for people I think are too much of a pain (and for that they have to be a really BIG pain). However, this can make times like the Christmas holidays very miserable, because I never know how much of the work will start up again how fast. There are company audits, people on extended vacations, etc.

I’m interested in those people who trade stock options for a living. Some of them set their trades, walk away and do what they want the rest of the day, whether it’s a job, volunteer work, studying, or something else. Of course, it also involves some research.

Ultimately, though, I think the best idea is to route savings into assets that make money, so that one’s income can be larger than one’s physical ability to work. These can be stocks, real estate, commodity trusts, or businesses one doesn’t actually manage. People think they’re going to have less aggravation if they become self-employed, but they soon find out that all that’s changed is that they own their own job. I know people whose work and stress increased exponentially when they became self-employed.