You don’t deserve a job

By Scot Herrick | Job Search

May 10

Those working a job search can get frustrated and upset with this attitude about work: I deserve a job.

That framing in your job search discounts the immense changes in the workplace that have occurred over the past couple of years, the quickening of some longer term trends in the workplace.

Instead of thinking you deserve a job, think about this reality instead:

You compete with everyone on the planet

It’s not just manufacturing. Doctors used to think their work couldn’t be outsourced until their x-rays were being read by medical professionals in India. Attorneys thought their work couldn’t be outsourced until people across the planet started working on the discovery process for their trials.

The range of work that has already been outsourced is amazing, scary, and not thought about enough by people working in the country they are working in. Want to work for IBM installing software on laptops? They only do that now in one place on the planet.

You compete with technology

Technology continually gets better (and worse, depending on your perspective). It used to be the only way to open a checking and savings account was go to your local banking institution, sit down with a person and open the accounts.

Last week I closed two checking accounts and a savings account with one bank and opened a checking and savings account at another…and talked to no one. I did all of it through a web site. A former employer of mine, mere months after creating the option of opening checking accounts online, was opening 1,000 checking accounts per day, more than a typical branch does in a year.

And those people working on the legal discovery process? Technology is working real hard to discover stuff about a case by using technology to sift through e-mails in the electron world to support their position trying to eliminate the work of mere mortals.

Fewer jobs means more employment competition

While there were great job numbers in the first quarter, we’re nowhere near getting back the 8 million or so jobs that were lost in the Great Recession. There are reasonable arguments that we won’t ever get back the eight million jobs lost, or at least anytime soon. Outsourcing, technology and a platform of running a business lean are lessons learned from this recession; excess is not an option.

It means more personal competition for you when jobs open up . The unemployment rate went up this month, not because more jobs were lost, but because more people started looking for jobs again after giving up earlier. So did the number of people working part time. That means more competition for your job search.

This isn’t meant to make you fear for your income. Or maybe it is.

I’m a big proponent of being responsible for your income. Bad things happen to people with layoffs, pay and benefit freezes and all sorts of other things working for companies. Part of being responsible is knowing how the workplace is currently operating. Right now, you don’t deserve a job. Even if you think you do, companies don’t believe you do and companies are the ones that are hiring and firing.

What you can do is take responsibility for your work. Make sure you know what your goals are for your work. Not the company goals, but your goals. Make sure your company is meeting your goals. Solve problems at work, don’t just complain about work. Build results from your work to ensure your employability, not just having a job, in a world of permanent temps.

Instead of thinking you deserve a job, flip that and determine if a company deserves your work. If a company does, go for it. If it doesn’t, why aren’t you looking for a different place to work? After all, you don’t deserve a job.