I had an unusually hard time falling sleep last night. My mind kept whirring with all sorts of things that could go wrong. What if I end up in a coma before I can elect COBRA coverage? What if I get a flat tire while going 80 miles an hour on the freeway? What if I accidentally hit a pedestrian while driving in an unfamiliar city? What if the economy totally craps out and I can’t find a job when I need to? What if, what if, what if?
These are all good questions to ask when you quit your job and decide to live off of savings for a while. On the other hand, it seemed like the anxiety I was feeling was a little blown out of proportion (seeing how I’m normally not a very anxious person). Somehow being employed gives you a sense of security, which doesn’t make much sense when you think about it. True, spending 8 hours a day in an office cubicle where all possible hazards have been removed, is probably safer than, say, spending a day outdoors. But I am just as likely to get in a car accident if I’m on the road, regardless of my employment status. The economy will or won’t tank, regardless of my employment status. I could fall ill, regardless of my employment status. Hell, you could even lose your job against your will. Life is full of risks, and there are ways to mitigate those risks, or at least make those risks tolerable, but being employed isn’t one of them. Having health insurance, is. Having auto insurance, is. Having warranties on expensive and vital stuff, is. Having a marketable skill is, and so is being wise about money. A job can help achieve all of those things, but at the end, it is merely a means, not the ends.