Why Employment Security, not job security, matters even in a good economy

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My family’s economic future has been entirely upended over the last couple of weeks. You wouldn’t think that would happen in an economy that’s producing jobs better than the year 2000. And you especially wouldn’t think so given that we live in a town with the lowest unemployment rate in the state we live in. But, upended it is.

Last year, after many years of consulting, I was hired as an FTE off of my consulting role. I was a happy camper — it was a 2.5 year interview and I found a group of great people, a good manager, and a good culture. In my head, I was settled and looked forward to a few years of not worrying about where I would find the next gig.

Then my company got bought out

Then in December of last year, my company was bought. And the first thing that happened was all the budgets were essentially frozen at zero growth and all projects, except for a few ongoing ones, were put on hold or cancelled.  This makes sense — make some numbers. But, if you’re a Project Manager by trade, having all of the projects be put on hold or cancelled takes the lifeblood out of your work because there isn’t any work to do. Your accomplishments too — the same ones needed for your review or the next hiring manager.

And – I took my own advice. When the new year started, I figured out how long my job will now last, how long it now takes to find a new job and gave myself until June to see if the work would come back or not. It didn’t.

I had job security…and then I didn’t. It’s one of the main reasons why job security is not the answer, only employment security can carry the day when working for corporations.

So my two weeks notice went in last Friday. And yes, I found another job I’m going to be happy with. It’s a great opportunity.

Then my wife’s division got bought out at her company

Yesterday, my wife, Kate, texts me and tells me there is a mandatory meeting at 1 PM in the afternoon. At that meeting, all of the employees of her division were informed that the division they work for had been sold to a group of investors from out of state effective immediately. And since it is a private company, immediately means immediately – no shareholder approval, SEC review and all that other stuff. And no protections either — on July 1st her health insurance triples, paid time off is reduced and, oh-by-the-way, all the employees get to go through a background check.

For me on the outside looking in, it’s incredibly insulting. Perhaps logical from a new company viewpoint, but insulting never the less.

The kicker? Kate loses her current manager as she will stay with the unsold part of company. Her manager rocks. Her new manager is about 1500 miles away. So we will look at what we’re getting into here and figure out what is next in store with the changes.

But one thing is for sure: the job security of Monday was gone by Tuesday.

Even in good times, there is no job security. There is only employment security.

  • Wow! All these while I have been talking about job security and never considered employment security. Thanks for pointing this out anyway.

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