Rethinking job security

Job security is a myth.

Your job is no more “secure” working at a 10,000-person company than it is working at a 10-person startup, no matter what anyone says.

Jobs are a function of a company’s financial success and goals. These in turn are a function of the company’s products and services, market category, and defensibility. If a company can’t justify spending money on your position, you’ll be let go—regardless how “stable” that company seems on the outside.

But what if there was something better than job security?

There is.

Let’s call it “career security” instead.

Career security is bigger than job security. It’s about your value in the entire job market, for all companies, in all forms of work. Simply put, you have career security when your skills are in demand.

Whether one company wants you, or 10 others don’t, what you crave and call “job security” is actually career security. The knowledge that, whatever happens, you‘ll be able to find work.

When your skills are valuable to someone, you will find work.

I remember when I started a kitchen job at a local French café.

The owner is an ex-high-fashion photographer; global brands like Vogue and GQ paid him to travel between Paris, New York, and other big cities to shoot models. Then, he married one, and decided to start a restaurant in Scottsdale, AZ. 🤷‍♂️

I’ll never forget what he told me when I started:

“Jérémy, I know you won’t be in this kitchen forever, and I know you’re itching to do far more interesting work. But just remember—everything you learn here, you will always be able to use if you need another job. If you lose everything, you’ll still be able to find work in someone’s kitchen.” 

That hit me, hard. Though I already knew the importance of skills, it forced me to consider the idea that life doesn’t always go according to plan, and that in-demand skills truly are the currency of the workforce.

When your skills are in demand, you will always find work.

And, if your current skill set is automated or outsourced or rendered obsolete for some other reason, you still have your mind to learn, your inner drive to succeed, and a world brimming with things to learn.

So forget about job security. Learn what businesses care most about, what kinds of career paths exist now (and will exist in the future!) and roll up your sleeves, kid.

It’s time to build your own career security.

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