My friend Stan got a job today. He has three children; his oldest daughter who’s about to start college, his nine-year-old son in primary school and his three week old daughter. If you’re a parent, then you’ll know how stressed he felt as an out-of-work dad.
I’m over the moon for Stan but I can’t help but think of the many who are out of work or whose jobs are currently under threat. Many in my immediate family worryingly find themselves in this position – my brother’s company hasn’t paid him for last month, my brother-in-law has been told he’ll be out of work before Christmas and my other brother-in-law is working on his company’s final project, with no further work secured for the foreseeable future.
Job security is a misnomer really – it no longer exists. Gone are the days when a person would remain in one job for life. These days, many people will work for six or more different companies and most of us will change our occupation completely three or more times. If “job security is the probability that an individual will keep his or her job,” that probability has been greatly reduced in recent years.
How can we be proactive in our approach to employment?
- Make yourself valuable. What are you interested in, passionate about and good at? Take courses, attend lectures, study further and equip yourself to be at the cutting edge of your industry. Ask your company to pay for, or at least subsidise, your studies. This will enable you to keep growing and will increase your confidence as well as your value within the marketplace.
- Learn a new skill. This will not only enlarge your skill set and give you more options when it comes to job opportunities, but some of the latest research also indicates the positive mental health benefits of learning a new skill.
- Be wholly committed to doing your absolute best in the job you’re in. Stay humble and be grateful, but keep your CV updated at all times. Ask someone you trust to read through your CV and give you constructive criticism.
- Be assertive. Much emphasis is placed on loyalty to a company and as I mentioned in my previous point, there is much to be said for bringing your A-game to work every day but, if you’re not being allowed to grow where you are, it may be time to move on – be open to other options and possibilities. If you spot a job opportunity that piques your interest, ask those who know you best and those you trust most to tell you whether they think you’ll be a good fit for the advertised job. There’s no harm in sending your CV through and going for an interview though.
- Don’t allow fear, loyalty or manipulation from your current employers to keep you from considering other alternatives. Grow where you are and if you can’t grow any longer, it may be time to move on.
Seth Godin (author, entrepreneur, marketer, and public speaker) challenges us to have a project rather than a job.
“Jobs are finite, specified and something we ‘get’. Doing a job makes us defensive, it limits our thinking. The goal is to do just enough, not get in trouble, meet spec. When in doubt, seek deniability.
Projects are open-ended, chosen and ours. Working on a project opens the door to possibility. Projects are about better, about new frontiers, about making change happen. When in doubt, dare.” (sethgodin.typepad.com)
Rather than pursuing ‘job security’, perhaps we should dare to grow a project. This is when we begin to live truly alive and people will pay good money for services or products delivered by truly alive people, full of purpose and passion.