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The Myth of Job Security

Many articles have been written about the myth of job security. Yet many people today still believe that a permanent full-time job is safe and secure.

Not so - job security is just an illusion.

Kathy Knudson, a career counselor and therapist in San Francisco stated in an article in the New York Times, “There is no such thing as job security – it’s an oxymoron.”

Let’s shoot back to 2008 when everyone was coasting along in their ’secure’ jobs. Unbeknown to the world, the greed and corruption of executives at several major financial and investment companies on Wall Street drove them to manipulate the credit and financial markets in a fraudulent way. The bubble eventually burst, resulting in the catastrophic collapse of companies such as Lehman Brothers, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Merryl Lynch and JP Morgan, with a subsequent knock-on effect across the globe.

Millions lost their jobs, many without much warning.  America was plunged into a recession which rippled across the world. In one fell swoop, the job security carpet was yanked out from under them.

Think it can’t happen again or it won’t happen to you. That’s what all those people who lost their jobs also thought.

The New World

The truth is we no longer live in the world our parents and grandparents lived in – the one where you remain in a job for thirty years. The world has changed. We now live in a fast-paced and ever-changing world. This means the ground is constantly shifting beneath our feet.

The information age and fast-paced world of technology are creating new jobs and causing many others to become redundant.

To be relevant in an evolving job market requires adaptability - keeping up with the trends, learning new skills and expanding your expertise. Those are the people who will continue to put food on their table. Those who do not will be lining up in the unemployment queue.

A Gallup poll found that in August 2013 almost one-third of workers feared being laid off, compared with about half that number in August 2008. This is called perceived job insecurity and studies have shown that the severe anxiety it causes has a negative impact on the sufferer’s physical and mental health.

For many people, instead of adapting to this new world and finding creative and alternative ways to create an income, the fear of losing their job pushes them to work even harder in a desperate attempt to prove that they are indispensable. They hope that in so doing they will avoid being axed when job cuts threaten. Sadly, this ultimately does not work. In a cutthroat corporate system, no one is safe when companies need to cut back. At the end of the day, you will simply be a burnt-out and highly disillusioned ex-employee angrily questioning why it is your hard work meant nothing.

Finding a New Form of Security

Let me start by saying, there is merit in the traditional full-time job. I am not knocking it completely. It is comforting to know a salary hits your bank account every month, and you have access to the benefits of medical insurance and pension funds.

These days, however, many people are in search of a better way to live and this usually means a better way to make money.

In recent years, there has been a dramatic shift in thinking taking place globally. People are tired of the 9-5 and are in search of more freedom, a flexible lifestyle and more control over their lives. Recession, downsizing and layoffs have contributed to people starting to ‘think outside the box’ and find other ways to earn a living rather than precariously rely on someone else for their income.

What are many people opting for? Entrepreneurship!

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The traditional way of working, i.e. working for a boss, is losing ground.

In its place entrepreneurs, consultants, freelancers and small business owners are rapidly changing the employment landscape. Once considered fickle and unstable career options because of the uncertainty of the frequency of work, they are now paving the way forward.

The Intuit 2020 report, which analyzes significant trends and forces affecting consumers and small businesses, predicts that by 2020 more than 40% of the US workforce will be made up of contingent workers (freelancers, temps, part-time workers, contractors and other specialists).

The internet has spurred on this trend by opening up a variety of new jobs and making it possible to start online businesses. Web design, content and SEO writing, blogging, digital marketing and social media are areas of work that twenty years ago never existed.

Those with an entrepreneurial spirit took the gap and never looked back.

These days travel bloggers are living the ultimate ‘location independent’ dream lifestyle – traveling AND making money at the same time.

Writers are no longer at the mercy of publishing houses. They can self-publish and sell e-books online.

A whole new world is at our fingertips!

This does not mean the entrepreneurial road is all sunshine and roses. It requires commitment, dedication and hard work, especially in the beginning when you are trying to get your business off the ground. However, many who took this route and worked hard to succeed say it was the best decision they ever made.

No longer are you tied to some miserable cubicle job. No longer are you at the mercy of a boss for your job, your salary and your time. No longer do you fear losing your job.

You create your future and along with it a better lifestyle and more security than any 9-5 job can ever give you!

Image: Gerd Altmann/Pixabay

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