Our job skills are now the products we sell to our employers. Our performance on the job dictates our opportunities. And corporations are not on our side.

Here's what I believe about careers:

All jobs end. 

It is just a question of time as to when you outgrow, out perform, get bored -- or the company lays you off in a New York minute. Often without much notice.

Preparing for that ending is important.

There is no corporate loyalty, though corporations desperately try to make you believe there is.

There may be personal loyalty, but when push comes to shove and a decision is made to cut you loose in a layoff, personal loyalty won't save your job.

You are competing with the entire planet when it comes to your work. 

With outsourcing, remote work, global consolidations - everyone is your competitor for your work. You must continually prove your value to achieve business objective.

In order to succeed in today's corporate world, you need to become a Cubicle Warrior.

Being a Cubicle Warrior means you have mastered the Employment Security hierarchy. You know as well as I do there is no job security. But to protect our family and income, we need something else -- something that will give us the ability to move positions within a company -- or be the preferred person to help achieve a hiring manager's business goals in a different company.

In my view, you need employment security, not job security. To become a Cubicle Warrior, these are the skills needed to achieve employment security.

Job Skills

job skills are at the base of the employment security hierarchy. Without job skills, there is no chance you can perform the work or succeed in the job. They are the currency of the job marketplace. 

In addition, you must continually add to your job skills, either in additional job skills or added depth to existing job skills. 

Job skills are the base of the hierarchy, but they are not enough to succeed, much less become a Cubicle Warrior.

Job Performance

Just because you have skills doesn't mean you'll succeed. Instead, your job performance will drive your success and provide you with opportunities to advance your career. Without excellent job performance, there is no opportunity.

Since we sell our job skills to our hiring managers to achieve business goals, your job performance matters. Poor performance doesn't help your hiring manager, great performance does -- perhaps, even, to the detriment of your job satisfaction.

I have a formula for this: Job Skills + Job Performance = Opportunities.

Opportunities means adding to your job skills by taking on special projects. Or supporting something critical to the department, gaining you more varied experience. Or promotions. Or opportunities to work in other departments -- or companies. 

Job performance is highly underated by many people. They think job skills are enough. They are not.

Business Networking

Moving on up the hierarchy is Business Networking. Having a robust business network is key for several reasons:

  • You learn about what is happening in the job market
  • You can support people you know in their work
  • You can help people find new positions
  • You can find new positions

This is true: who you know makes a big difference in your ability to find a new position. To be clear: if you don't have the job skills and you don't have the job performance, your business network won't help you. No one will put their reputation on the line to help an incompetent, poorly performing person find a job. But if you have both skills and performance, you will get help.

This is also true: in my (long) career, outside of my first position coming out of college, all of my positions were done through people I know. Every one. 

Job Search Skills

Next up on the employment security hierarchy is job search skills. These are the skills related to finding a job, building resumes, doing phone and video interviews, face-to-face interviews, and negotiating a position.

Most of us suck at this. The reason is simple: we so rarely use these skills and the way this works changes over time. By the time we use the skills again, the marketplace has changed and our skills are outdated.

Just think of how much we now depend on video for our meetings. Zoom was nothing a few years ago and now has hundreds of millions of meetings every day. All that also translates to doing job interviews now. 

Mastering job search skills is a significant competitive advantage going in for any position.

Financial security

At the top of the employment security hierarchy is finances. From a career perspective, you don't have to be a master stock trader, know how commodities work, or understand short selling or any of that stuff.

Financial security in my viewpoint is this: if you lose your job, having a 6-month to a year's worth of take home pay in the bank keeps desperation at bay. And, trust me, recruiters and hiring managers can smell desperation a mile away when you're doing an interview. And they won't hire you. 

Achieving this level of savings is not easy, I know. That's why it's at the top of the hierarchy. 

This level of savings, outside of keeping desperation at bay, also provides something else of significance: Choice. You don't have to necessarily take the first position offered to you if it is not right for you. Choice is not a small thing in the scheme of both your job satisfaction as well as your overall happiness.  

Cube Rules helps you land a job, have job success, and build employment security

This site is dedicated to helping you become a Cubicle Warrior. My sole focus is to help you gain employment security in a time when job security is fleeting and the world of employment is continually changing. I can help you gain the confidence and skills needed to deal with career transitions. And the everyday working from the (work from home) cubicle.

Won't you join me?