This Is Not Your Grandfather’s “Job Security”

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.

Image Courtesy of Wikipedia

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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4 thoughts on “This Is Not Your Grandfather’s “Job Security”

  1. Hi Joe,

    My father was an IBM’er and he put in over 35 years there. But, when he was approaching 60, they pretty much forced him to retire. He was one of the best workers they had, but the younger guys were making half his salary. He didn’t plan for such an early retirement, so he wasn’t ready financially and it stung too. I’d say it sent him into a depression.

    So there really is no such thing as job security, especially now as you’ve highlighted so well here. I can’t even imagine what it will be like when my kids enter the workforce. With my youngest I’m focusing on creativity, in many forms, ’cause that’s what he does so well. Who knows exactly how he’ll end up using it.

    There is a huge shift going on at the moment.

    Thanks, Joe

    1. Craig,
      Same here with my kids. I want my daughter especially to focus on her creative talents and expand on what she can do. When she’s older, it will be more “secure” to run your own show that have a “job”. I worry about their futures and hope they’ll be OK. This country seems to be heading in the wrong direction, and I hope it doesn’t take our youth with it.

  2. My father worked for the same company for just shy of 40 years and then retired with a pension. After 20 years or so in the workforce I have worked in a number of different places.

    When I was a bit younger it crushed me to see that I hadn’t put in the years in one place. It took a while to realize and accept that the world had changed.

    It is not an exaggeration to say that I thought I had failed. But then I realized that things were different and I started breathing. But it took a word from my dad to make me stop trying to prove I could do what he did.

    1. I felt bad about having multiple jobs myself. I thought the only way to go was to stick with one position. And I had a few! But the world has changed. Even if you had the desire to stay in one place, most corporations don’t share that idea to keep you around till the retirement years…

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