Employment security trumps job security

By Scot Herrick | Job Search

Apr 08

Job security is elusive in today’s employment market. Even though companies are starting to add jobs, the truth is that the economy has shed some 8 million jobs. The losses started to mitigate a year ago, but even with healthy job growth in the economy, getting 8 million jobs back plus handling the influx of new job seekers due to population growth will take a long time.

Job security is gone. We’re all temporary workers and we constantly need to understand when our position will end and be ready to find our next gig. But we’re not there yet. As the Compensation Cafe notes:

Among their key findings, which they report to be surprisingly similar across the globe, are the following:

• The desire for security and stability trumps everything else right now, in part because employees see security as a fast-disappearing part of the deal.

• Employees understand they are solely or chiefly responsible for ensuring their long-term financial and physical health and well-being as well as their career and performance — but have serious doubts about their ability to take on these roles.

As the Towers Watson piece notes, we are moving to an employment relationship increasingly built upon the concept of self-reliance.

Employment security and stability trumps everything

I’m reminded of the song “looking for love in all the wrong places.” Employment security and stability isn’t something that comes from something or someone else. It comes from ourselves. What we have done is expect companies to recognize our hard work and be loyal to our needs. Instead companies use our job skills to help them meet their corporate goals–not our goals.

And that’s OK.

The problem is we project our need for job stability and security onto the company when the company has no interest in our stability and security. It is like asking the asteroid on a collision course with Earth to care about us and change direction.

If we can’t have job security, what will it take?

We need employment security, not job security

The first step we can do to become more self-reliant is change our focus from getting security from a job to getting security in our ability to get employment. This is a perspective change–we can be employed and a company will be fortunate to have our skills to help them with their corporate goals.

We need to start our interview answers with “I helped the company to….” instead of those desperate answers we are now giving because we see our employment security through the job and not our ability to get work.

It means we need to consistently build our job skills, know what motivates us to do the work, and know what type of team we want to work with to get a great corporate experience for our work. It also means we need to build our business network and know how to answer interview questions.

Companies won’t help you become more self-reliant in your quest for employment security and stability. I can help, of course, but the first step we all need to take is recognize that our goal is employment security and all that implies. Not security from a job that comes from a company that doesn’t care about who we are or what we do.

  • […] to prevent bad things happening to us? Nope. We can't have job security. We can only achieve employment security. And the only way to get to some level of employment security is if we don't continue to play the […]

  • Rick Saia says:

    Nice post Scot! I wholeheartedly agree that workers need to take a more active role in managing their careers; that is, knowing what they have and being able to align and articulate that with what a company needs. Unfortunately, as we stumble toward an economic recovery, there are many workers who may be banking – rightly or wrongly – on their employers for job security. It reminds me of the post-World War II mindset that emerged from the depths of the Great Depression. I addressed this issue recently, if you don't mind my sharing it here. (http://www.pongoresume.com/blogPosts/495/has-th…)

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