Is Job Security a Myth

November 3rd, 2020 by admin Leave a reply »

If you are like most people raised in our modern society, you have been taught since early childhood that there is a certain order to things. There are assumptions that we have accepted, regarding family and social life, financial security, inalienable rights, ethnic, class and gender roles, etc.

One of the more fundamental notions that society has adopted is that old familiar refrain which has become the default setting for most of us.

Namely: Go to school and study hard so that you can get into a good college. A college education will get you a job. A more expensive education will get you a higher paying job. Your job or chosen field will last you the rest of your working life and make you secure and happy. When it comes time to retire, you pack up and move out to make way for the new workers. Play with your grand kids, travel, open the restaurant you always wanted. Have your kids put you in a retirement home for a few years and then die.

I’m not buying it anymore. In good times it is an easy paradigm to embrace. In challenging times, less so. The most recent economic cycle has made it apparent to many people that the “job” may not be the singular way to go these days.

When you think about it, the secure job, pension and proverbial gold watch really isn’t that secure. You would never do that with your investments, why would you do it with your primary means of financial support? The same people who have told us not to keep all of our eggs in one basket are the same people who encourage us to get that ideal job and progress up the ranks to the top. That kind of logic tends to unravel at a certain point.

It’s time to start thinking about diversity; multiple sources of income, not only in your stock portfolio, but in your life as well. What skills do you have that you can exploit? What interests have you wanted to pursue?

“Ben, I just want to say one word to you. Just one word. Are you listening?”

“Yes I am.”

“Plastics”

OK. I’m betraying my age. Let me explain my arcane little reference. In the movie The Graduate, Dustin Hoffman is pulled aside by his girlfriend’s father at a party, and given some very timely career advice (for 1967). It was an iconic scene, once upon a time. Plastics: the cutting edge career.

If I had the chance to be in Mr. McGuire’s position right now, that word would be “diversify”.

Go out and explore multiple sources of income. Make a list of your interests, passions, hobbies and time wasters. Take a good look at them. Is there anything there that may be a source of revenue, even a small one?

I will mention three of mine, just to give you an example. One is working with a game-changing biotechnology breakthrough for which I have developed a tremendous passion. The second is as an amanuensis of sorts; helping people get their thoughts on paper. The third, and most promising, is taking advantage of the depressed real estate markets that are popping up in various areas of the country.

Of course, yours may be completely different from mine, but it is definitely worth taking a look at what you may already have in your back pocket. One word of caution, though. Not everything that you have an interest in is a potential moneymaker. Some interests are better left as hobbies.

Take the list and start exploring which ones may be viable business ventures. Find the most promising ones and do some research. Find stories of people that have done it. As you narrow it down to the most practical ones, start doing internet research, look at industry trades, and find mentors that have done what you want to do.

When you have got it, don’t do it yourself. People love to be mentors and experts. Find a successful person that you would like to learn from and be bold enough to approach him or her with the prospect of a mentor relationship. Start out with even a half hour phone call a month. Be prepared and serious because you don’t want to waste their time. You might surprise yourself with some of the relationships that you can cultivate.

There are also many personal coaching programs out there that can be had for a price. The bad ones will take your money and leave you to your own devices, but the right one could be worth every dime you spend. It’s worth some serious consideration and research.

There is a brave new world out there with online entrepreneurship. Goods and services are going cyber. It is now possible (and practical) to develop and run a successful company from your computer. Home based opportunities used to be limited to medical transcription or stuffing envelopes. Right now, in this environment, the sky is the limit and everything is up for grabs, from on-line auctions to professional consulting.

There is an organization that I discovered several years ago, called SCORE. It’s the Service Corps of Retired Executives. When I found them, they had locations in well populated areas, but now (like most things) they can be found on-line. SCORE is a resource of people that volunteer their time and experience to help promote successful new business ventures. I’m not talking about angels or venture capitalists, but basic business fundamentals to help you get a good start.

Steven Covey told a great story of an employer who brought his key people into a meeting and directed them to start looking for a job. Not because they were going to be fired, but to instill a sense of confidence and increased professional self-worth. His reasoning was that if they knew that they could get a good job somewhere, and that they were marketable, they would stay on with their current position for the right reasons. They may even leave, but the ones he kept would have a solid reason for staying there.

Take a good look at your current situation and consider some diversity. If nothing else, it may bolster your self-image and enhance your self-esteem. It could also increase your financial stability and even help you sleep better at night. And a good night’s sleep is one of life’s most underrated blessings.

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