Some of the most common dreams are about falling, being chased, and flying. But what do you dream about when you wake up? Is it financial freedom? A better job? Being happy and fulfilled?
If you’ve said yes to any of these, perhaps it’s time for you to pursue employment freedom. Here is how.
1. Define what freedom means to you
There is no single recipe for job freedom because people have different priorities. Understand exactly what you are looking for in a job and what freedom means to you.
It can be the autonomy to work independently or the ability to choose your team. It can be a flexible work schedule or working fewer hours in total. The possibilities of what you can strive for are endless.
2. Understand why you want to achieve job freedom
Your “why’s” are just as important as your “how’s.” That is especially important if you’re working for someone else. You need to build a convincing business case for your boss to give you more freedom.
If you’re working for yourself or aiming to, it’s also helpful to know your personal reasons before making a career change.
3. List your key skills (and improve them)
Part of having job freedom is utilizing your skills to the fullest. It helps you grow as a professional and get fulfillment from the tasks you do.
Write down the skills that you possess and the ones you wish you had. This will help you figure out what you can feasibly do with your future.
4. Decide whether you need to change jobs
Can you turn your current employment into a dream job? Sometimes, you can negotiate better terms for yourself or suggest changing a few things here and there. But some jobs are not worth your efforts to change them.
Perhaps, it’s time for you to quit and get a fresh start.
5. Figure out the logistics
Once you know what employment freedom looks like for you, you need a roadmap to get there. Plan out the resources you’ll need for this, see whether you have the necessary tools and technologies, and consider other practical aspects. For example, you can’t switch to a remote work arrangement without a reliable personal computer and possibly some other at-home hardware/equipment.
6. Remove control mechanisms
Employers often need full control to achieve business goals in a predefined manner. But if they are monitoring or micromanaging your every move, is it really employment freedom?
Set yourself free from fixed working hours, vacation policies, and thick protocol documents. You will likely get pushback because bosses don’t like losing control—but you should persist.
7. Get your finances in order
Ideally, job freedom should give you enough means for a comfortable life. But it can take some time to get there. In the meantime, deal with your debt, grow your savings, and adjust your spending and costly lifestyle habits. You can’t take risks while also dealing with a poor financial situation.
How to tell if you have freedom in your career
Here are the signs that you have a high degree of freedom in shaping your own work:
- You can choose your work schedule.
- You can choose who to work with.
- Your work allows you to take care of yourself (i.e., get enough sleep, pursue personal passions, etc.).
- You’re passionate about the tasks you get to complete.
- You feel empowered, self-sufficient, financially stable, and independent.
Some people even believe that your freedom is limited and shortened when you have a job—more specifically, when you’re an employee. If you agree that an office workplace dynamic doesn’t match your definition of freedom, traditional employment may not be for you.
Look back at the first step and build the version of job freedom that suits you personally.