Estimated Lesson Time: 5 minutes
Today, the traditional idea of “job security” is virtually non-existent. No longer does getting hired mean getting hired for life. Mergers, layoffs, downsizing, corporate restructuring, focus shifting, bankruptcy—the list of terms that are synonymous with “you’re fired” goes on. It seems as if your job security is completely out of your control... or is it?
Security is number two in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, second only to our physiological needs. It is no wonder that job security is such a pressing and controversial issue today. People traditionally think of job security as the choice of keeping the same job for as long as desired. This is done in the form of tenure or other long-term contract. Finding this kind of job security is extremely rare. However, if job security is viewed as the ability to keep a desired job, not necessarily the same job, and certainly not necessarily for the same organization, then job security is both readily available and within your control.
While you cannot completely prevent being “let go” by an organization, you can reduce your chances. Here are a few ways.
- Do your job the best you can. Don’t just go through the motions. If you were a manager having to choose only a handful of employees to stay on and the rest would be let go, would you choose those who do the bare minimum or those who give it their all? Even if your best is not good enough, your dedication and commitment may be.
- Make yourself a key player. Take on additional responsibilities without necessarily taking on more work. Make yourself indispensable. Be proactive in sharing ideas and play an active role in your organization’s success.
- Never rest on your laurels. The fact that you once were an important part of an organization does not mean much when it comes to cutbacks. What have you done lately? What are you working on now? Just like success, your value to an organization is based on what you do on a regular basis, not just what you have done in the past.
- Keep up with the times. If you were to re-apply for your job today, would you be hired? As the requirements and expectations for positions change, those filling the positions must change as well. Ask for the requirements of someone applying for your position regularly just to make sure you are still a good candidate.
No job security? Don’t get mad, get smart. Who or what is to blame for the lack of job security? Do we blame automation? Management? Owners and stockholders? Do we blame the younger people with fewer financial responsibilities who are willing to work for less, or foreigners in other countries who can work for much less? Or perhaps we don’t blame anyone or anything; we accept these as standard business practices in a modern economy and focus on creating our own job security by becoming less dependent on the organization for which we work and more dependent on our own resources. Here are a few ways.
- Be marketable. Always be working to improve your abilities, talents, and skills.
- Have a backup plan. Why spend your valuable time worrying about losing your job when we can spend that time focusing on your success? Be prepared for a sudden loss of your job by having a plan of action, then put it out of your mind. This will help your self-confidence, allow you to perform better at your current job, and reduce your chances of being let go.
- Create multiple streams of income. Even with a full-time job, you can create additional streams of income by making your money or creativity work for you. Real estate or financial investments can be a good source of extra funds that require very little time and energy. Side businesses can require very little money and produce unlimited rewards. When you have multiple streams of income, you have a kind of “job security” that is more solid than any tenure or long-term contract.
- Change your attitude. Job security can be a great thing, but so can the opportunity to start over and do something you’ve always wanted to do—something about which you are passionate. People who give too much weight to security tend to ignore their self-actualization needs and never truly live the best parts of life. Job security is not everything.
While traditional job security, or guaranteed employment with a single organization, is virtually non-existent these days, you can increase the chances of your job being more secure. From a non-traditional point of view, one can have the ultimate job security by not focusing on a particular job with a particular organization, but rather by focusing on a reliable income. Job security is within our reach; we just need to be sure we are reaching for the right kind of job security.
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Some discussion questions (some may not apply to this lesson):
- Have you implemented this idea in your life? How has it been working for you?
- Do you have any interesting stories related to this lesson? Do tell!
- What do you admire most about this person? (success biography days)