The unexplained employment truth about The Writing on the Wall

By Scot Herrick | Cube Rules Commentary

Nov 02

There are hints. And rumors. And some facts about what is happening at your company. Stuff that will impact your job one way or the other. It’s called “the writing on the wall.”

Plain truth coming at you, obvious to any impartial observer. Of course, we’re not impartial, are we?

Let my friend Jason Alba from JibberJobber explain:

Let me share two truths with you about the writing on the wall:

  1. Ignoring it won’t make it, the message, or the reality of what’s to come go away.
  2. There is writing on the wall for all of us. If you want a discouraging (or perhaps a full-of-opportunity) read, research the gig economy.

The bottom line is what I’ve been preaching for 10 years: YOU MUST own, control, and manage your own career management.

It’s good advice. What I’d like to do is explain my version of “YOU MUST own, control, and manage your own career management.” Jason provides some good permissions, too, on what that means. In my case, owning, controlling and managing your career means you need to achieve employment security.

Most pundits talk about job security — when there is none — or about making yourself “indispensable” on the job. The plain truth is this: there is no job security. And even if you are the most bad ass employee on the planet, if management decides your site or department or job classification is no longer central to meeting the company’s goals, you are laid off in a New York minute (that’s fast for my readers outside the United States).

The layoffs keep coming. Not as many, not as much. But 300 Yahoo! employees are getting laid off. Clients of mine have been laid off just in the last two months.

There is no job security. Period.

On the other hand, employment security is achievable — other employers and hiring managers will hire you because you have a track record of producing good business results.

There is an employment security hierarchy, explained in a white paper you download when you sign up for my newsletter. It’s about 20-pages and explains each of the following parts of the hierarchy:

Job skills

Job skills form the base of the hierarchy. Have job skills…will travel.

Job performance

You can have all the job skills in the world, but if your performance on the job using the job skills suck, no one will hire you. A former manager of mine had this simple formula:

Job skills + Performance = Opportunity

That’s true.

Business network

You know how people talk about the “hidden” job market? Well, the hidden job market is real and it is accessed through your business network. How to build that network is a critical skill.

Job search

Performing a job search — right resume, phone interview skills, in-person interview skills, and offer negotiation is critically important to getting the next gig. Yet, we suck at doing this because we do this so rarely. Even if it is internal to a company rather than a new company, we suck at it. Having the job search skills nailed, however, puts you at a great competitive advantage compared to other job candidates.

Financial security

There is nothing, nothing, that can fend off sheer panic in finding and then settling for a poor job than having one-year’s take home pay in the bank. Financial security makes desperation go away. Recruiters and hiring managers can smell desperation a mile away. It’s the last great hurdle to achieving employment security.

Sign up for the newsletter right at the upper right part of this post. Then download the white paper. Then do the right thing: figure out your gaps, how to fill them, and start on the path of the Cubicle Warrior. Make it so the “writing on the wall” doesn’t matter.

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About the Author

Scot Herrick is the author of “I’ve Landed My Dream Job–Now What???” and owner of Cube Rules, LLC. Scot has a long history of management and individual contribution in multiple Fortune 100 corporations.