Usually on weekday mornings, I ride the bus to go to work. Like many who take public transit on a regular schedule, I’ve figured out that a certain bus that comes at a certain time is generally the least crowded and most pleasant riding experience while still getting me to my destination on time.
This morning, the bus was late. For most buses, being late is probably not unusual since it’s hard to control exactly when it will arrive at any given stop due to changing traffic and road conditions. However, the stop where I get on is really close to the start of the bus route, so the arrival time is usually predictable. Thus, being late was an anomaly.
As the bus pulled up, I immediately began to think about how nice it is that my work schedule is generally flexible (to a degree). Unless I have morning meetings scheduled super early, I can get to work at almost any time and things are fine.
I call this the ability to be late, and it is one of the most wonderful feelings. It means I don’t have to worry if factors outside of my control screw up my carefully planned trip schedules. There’s no need to stress because there’s no fear of getting fired.
You know what else enables you to not fear getting fired? Being financially independent!
If you are FI, you don’t need the money from working to survive. It means losing your job matters much less than for someone living paycheck to paycheck. It means you don’t need to stress out if issues arise like political infighting, company performance, or poor management. It means you have the ability to be late.
Hopefully if you are working, your job is flexible enough to allow you to be late (at least once in a while) with no repercussions. But no job will allow you to be late indefinitely, or not show up.
Only being financially independent gives you the true ability to be as late as you want.