Is there job security in the 21st century?
In the 20th century, job security looked like this…
A corner office looked like job security, until your company merged with another with corner offices in taller buildings, and the game of musical chairs began.
A great backlog of work looked like job security. Then management found a faster, cheaper way to meet the business requirement.
A degree from a prestigious university looked like job security, as long as the skills behind that degree were needed. But then technologies changed, and the business shifted focus to different things, done different ways.
What it looks like now…
Job security now seems to be an illusion.1
When change is constant, there simply is no job security. No matter how stable your company seems, how much you have learned, and how much you are needed, something can change. Markets change, technologies change, priorities change, and people move on.
Change can work for you
Change favors those who manage their careers. That’s what has replaced job security.2 Career management means networking to keep involved, while keeping a pulse on change. Most opportunities are discovered, shared, and awarded through networking.3
But what is networking?
“Neworking” is overused and has a bad image. There’s the bad image of endless happy hour receptions, with resume in hand. Then there’s getting to work a little early, to pour that first cup of coffee with the District Manager.
Networking can, but does not have to be, choreographed meetings and a ready smile. It only has to be one thing: helping other people. If, at that happy hour, your resume is what a recruiter needs, you’ve helped the recruiter and a new opportunity is about to knock. If you have some skills that District Manager needs desperately, now, be ready for a bigger desk and more work!
If you help people through social media, sharing benefit of your skills and knowledge, the change and benefit to you may take longer. That process of continually sharing, also known as engaging, is how networking works online. As you engage, have a personal brand. Find and continually refine your career as a unique combination of skills and abilities. Like any brand, your career brand will succeed when it is skillfully and continually marketed.
Job security was enjoyed for generations. Changing jobs was unusual, and changing careers was almost never done. Today, a few will find job security, but your long term success will more likely be the result of sharing a one-of-a-kind skill set. You can think of it as marketing a career brand. Or you can think of it as being helpful, engaging with what you have.