This issue’s topic: THE KEY TO JOB SECURITY – IN GOOD TIMES AND BAD
Most of us want secure jobs we can count on next month and next year. Unfortunately, a lot 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 all the articles and books that say there is no security in today’s job market, many people still think that hanging on is more secure than moving, especially in today’s tight economy.
Trusting in a company or job is the wrong focus for job security. Today, the key to security is your reputation. The old adage is still true even now: it’s not what you know or who you know that counts, it’s who knows you.
Randy worked in a small company his entire career. After being hired as a sales rep, his buoyant personality, intelligence, and zest for life helped him excel.
The first time the company was purchased, his job was largely unchanged, and his success continued. After the second buyout, however, new management cut sales support staff, and Randy absorbed mounds of administrative tasks. It was supposed to be a short-term arrangement. Randy quickly caught on to the accounting and administrative procedures, and he did a credible job. He didn’t like the change, but being an upbeat person, he smiled and did good work.
Though he was horribly bored and missed the client contact, his friends and his business associates cautioned him against leaving. “You have a good, stable job. It’s secure! Don’t even consider going somewhere else.” So Randy made the best of it, almost convincing himself that they were right.
Even corporate giants like Enron, Arthur Andersen, and WorldCom collapse and Fortune 500 companies are devoured in buyouts. Randy acted as if his tiny company was the rock of Gibraltar even though it had changed ownership twice in five years. He was oblivious to the fact that his company and job could disappear tomorrow.
He finally made an appointment with a career counselor. The counselor noticed the joy in his face as he talked about sales, then saw weariness replace it as he discussed his present situation. Excitement, punctuated by doubt, returned to his face as he spoke about some career possibilities he’d considered back in college.
Randy realized that his death grip on a job that didn’t fit him has costs in addition to his boredom:
- He is also losing money. His people skills will earn far more in unencumbered sales for another company, or in any number of sales-related work.
- As important, Randy’s “soul” is hurting. He derives no joy from the work because he’s not an administrator at heart. The deadening effect of doing an unsatisfying job spills over into the rest of his life, including his friendships and his marriage.
It’s not advisable that Randy quit his job tomorrow, especially in a tight economy. But here’s what he can do:
- Get active in associations related to his work;
- Join networking groups like S.W.A.P. (Salespeople With a Purpose);
- Try negotiating with his present employer to change the job and regain the people contact;
- Set a goal for three to six “get acquainted” meetings with hiring decision makers in sales and related fields.
By increasing his visibility and credibility as a super salesperson, Randy will build on the only career security that counts: a solid reputation. What are you doing to improve your career security? To assess your career situation, consider a CAP session.
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