Demise of the Paycheck
Paycheck…where is that dang paycheck? Oh, I did not get one in 2014. That’s right. I have not had a paycheck since 2011.
Because it is January, I started to gather my papers together to do my income taxes. I paid my property taxes today. I made sure to file my quarterly estimated taxes. What was missing is the W-2 statement I used to get from an employer.
It still feels strange not getting a paycheck!
I was raised to be an employee and to work for a father-like company that would take care of me.
Does this seem familiar?
For most baby boomers, we were encouraged to take the safe path, to work for a solid company and get a regular paycheck.
When I started to work for IBM in 1978, I got paid weekly. Every Monday, my paycheck was deposited into my credit union account like clockwork. It was always there! There was security in knowing that there was a steady flow of money coming in.
They Moved My Cheese!
In 1993, IBM went through its near bankruptcy. I watched as many of my older colleagues were walked to the door. They got big severance packages, but the security of the paycheck was gone.
In 1999, IBM made their first attempts to eliminate the pension plan. I started to realize that the concept of job security and a secure paycheck are an illusion.
They moved my cheese!
At that point, I decided it was time to move on. I left IBM in January of 2000 to go to a semiconductor startup, Agere, Inc.
It was freeing to leave that father-like company—a company that was no more. I left on my terms. I still had a paycheck, but this one was not nearly as secure.
Dot Com Bust
Then came the dot com bust. I watched as many of my former colleagues were laid off from IBM, as well as other large companies.
I hung on to the concept that I needed to stay employed.
During the 1990s, I considered starting my own consulting practice, but I could not get health insurance for my wife. Therefore, full-time employment was the only option. I made a couple of career pivots to teach high school math and work for a non-profit. In both, I had a paycheck and health insurance.
The Great Recession
In December of 2007, I took another position with a tech startup called LifeSize. Once again, I watched as so many friends were ejected and lost their steady paycheck.
In 2009, in the depth of the great recession, I started to explore the concept of starting a business, which is now called Career Pivot. I spent over 18 months in my exploration phase. I really liked that steady paycheck!
Sometimes, we have to get hit on the head a few times before we take action. It was late in 2010 when I was put in a highly unethical position at work. It was then that I had enough!
No Paycheck or W-2
It has been four years since I received my last paycheck. Once again, I will not get a W-2 this year. It has been scary at times. We live on less. In fact, we live on a lot less…but we are happier!
Due to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), I can get health insurance for my wife. It is expensive, but at least I can get it. By the way, I think ACA is a great thing for baby boomers who want to ditch the paycheck. I am all for disconnecting health insurance from the workplace, but that is a whole different topic!
It is liberating not depending on my employer for a paycheck!
Are you willing to ditch the paycheck?
Paycheck? Good Riddance!Marc Miller
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