I can’t remember the last time I had a stunning day at work, but last week I had one of those days.
The stunner was the revelation that three people I had worked with, and come to know over the last five years, lost their jobs. Just like that. In almost “mob hit” style, one minute we were talking, and the next they were gone.
Without a word.
Having been in the job game for a long time now, I was less stunned than a lot of my workmates. But the fact that I felt this way at all showed just how complacent I’ve become.
This is not your grandfather’s world of “job security”. For all but a tiny percentage of workers, there is no longer the 40 year career at one company, leaving to collect a pension into your golden years.
Anyone that believes a corporation is going to “take care of them”, and is going to care about any more other than the concerns of its shareholders, is playing a dangerous game.
If you believe in such a thing as job security, you are doing yourself a disservice.
If you think there is a corporation, a job, that will take care of you more than you can take care of yourself, you’d better think again.
My grandparents’ generation worked in factories, some their entire lives. They worked hard, and their companies rewarded them with a paycheck, a pension and job security.
My own grandparents could have retired from jobs, from working for somebody else. They decided to run their own businesses instead, drawing success from their restaurants and providing for themselves the ultimate job security: As long as the doors were open, and sales were brisk, they could never get “fired”.
I never had a job until I was 35 years old. I worked in the family business, and I would always have that work as long as I wanted it.
There is no such thing as “job security”, no matter what you may tell yourself. If you’re someone younger than me (and lately, that’s looking like everybody :)), look at that fact as an opportunity. It’s a new world, but you can take full advantage if you’re well armed.
One of my close friends made the comment if you have a strong support group, you can worry a little less. I tend to agree with him. The more connections, the more close friends and relatives you have that can cover your back, the better.
If you suddenly find yourself out of work, then let them go to work for you. Friends love helping each other out, right?
It can help if you have other skills beside your job as well. In my past life, I was a bartender in the family business. To make extra cash over the holidays this past year, I was a part time bartender again. It’s a skill that I’ll always have, and that people are willing to pay for.
Whether you realize it or not, you have a skill like that too. It is just up to you to find out what that is.
Speaking of friends, cash in the bank is a big ally too. A cash cushion can keep you relaxed and stress free. It doesn’t have to be huge, but you better have something. You don’t want the situation of losing an income with your savings account dry as a bone.
I have no doubt the friends that I no longer work with will be OK, and land on their feet. They are a talented bunch, and one in particular already had a side business up and running.
But if there’s a lesson they can teach, it’s always be ready. Always be looking over your shoulder. And have your options in place if you ever need them. Chances are you will.
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