Most of us want secure jobs we can count on. Unfortunately, many of us think we can find security by hanging onto what seems like a secure job–even when the job doesn’t fit us.
Despite the articles and books warning that there is no security in today’s job market, many people still think that hanging on is more stable than moving.
Trusting in a company or job is the wrong focus for career security. The key to security is your reputation: your skills, contributions, work style, attitude, integrity, and motivations. The old adage is true even now: it’s not so much what or who you know; it’s who knows and believes in you.
♦ ♦ ♦
Trisha worked in a small company her entire career. After being hired as a sales rep, her intelligence, buoyant personality, and zest for life helped her excel.
The first time the company was bought, her job was largely unchanged, and her success continued.
After the second buyout, however, new management cut sales support staff, and Trisha absorbed mounds of administrative tasks. It was supposed to be a short-term arrangement. Trisha quickly caught on to the accounting and administrative procedures, and she did a credible job. She didn’t like the change, but being an upbeat person, she smiled and continued to do good, though uninspired, work.
She was horribly bored and missed the client contact. Her friends and colleagues warned her against leaving. “You have a good, stable job. It’s secure! Don’t even consider looking somewhere else.”
So Trisha made the best of it, almost convincing herself that they were right.
Even established corporate leaders like Lehman Brothers, Borders, and Enron collapse; and Fortune 500 companies are devoured in buyouts and mergers.
Trisha acted as if her company was the Rock of Gibraltar even though it had changed ownership twice in five years. She was oblivious to the fact that her company and job could disappear so quickly.
She finally scheduled a meeting with a career counselor. The counselor noticed the joy in Trisha’s face as she talked about sales; then weariness replaced the joy as she described her current situation. Excitement punctuated by doubt returned to her face as she recalled some career possibilities, she’d considered back in her college days.
Trisha realized that her death grip on a job that didn’t fit her had costs beyond her boredom:
–She was also losing money. Her client skills would earn far more in unencumbered sales for another company or in any number of sales-related jobs.
–As important, Trisha’s soul was suffering. She derived no joy from the work because she’s not an administrator at heart. The deadening effect of doing an unsatisfying job spilled over into the rest of her life, including her friendships and her marriage.
♦ ♦ ♦
It’s not advisable that Trisha quit her job without a plan, especially in a tight economy, but here’s what she CAN do:
1. Get active in associations related to her desired work.
2. Participate in professional blogs, connect with others on LinkedIn, and explore industry-related projects and people.
3. Try negotiating with her present employer to change the job and regain the client contact.
4. Set a goal for three to six “get acquainted” meetings with hiring decision makers in sales and related fields.
By increasing her visibility and credibility as a skilled and enthusiastic salesperson, Trisha will build on the only career security that counts: a solid reputation.
What will you do to shore up your career security?