In the middle of all the layoff news from companies large and small, it is worth keeping in mind that everyone has the ability to “fire” their boss: by finding a new job or entering a new profession. I remind our people of this once in a while, as a way to keep myself honest.
Here is how to fire your boss: keep at least 6 months, preferably more than 1 year of living expenses as liquid savings. Venture capitalists advise start-up companies to have a long runway i.e the time before they run out of cash – but each individual should have a personal runway too. If you don’t have it, build it now. You will not know what real professional freedom is until you know you can fire your boss. It is good for companies too, when employees have that real freedom, because it operates as an early warning system when people fire their bosses.
It is that long runway that gives you the ability to adapt to circumstances. In my nearly 15 years in the real world of work, I have reinvented myself three or four times. I wasn’t a software engineer by training – in fact, I had not written my first program until I was 26 years old, pretty late by today’s standards. Having a lot of savings and frugal habits helped me figure things out slowly. Our company itself has morphed its business plan over the years, we made many mistakes along the way and it is our ample runway that protected us from crashing and burning.
No one knows what lies ahead for the economy and I am not very optimistic, but if you have that personal runway, instead of your boss calling to fire you, you can call your boss to fire him or her.