About 18 months ago I got a new job. I left a large, established technology company, for a small start-up in the same field. There was a certain amount of trepidation involved in leaving a solid company for a tiny one with only a few months of cash in the bank. Last week my decision was vindicated, in the most nasty of ways. My former company eliminated my old position. In fact, they eliminated the entire team that I ran.
OK. I admit it. That wasn't even close to my losing my job. Still those cuts hit close to home. Some good friends of mine lost their jobs, in what is a very nasty job market.
I believe that I would have kept my job, had I stayed with the company. I had very good relationships with my management and I believe that they would have found a new role for me in some sort of a re-org scenario, but I can't help but feel that I made the right decision to take a risk and move to my current position.
There are a couple of lessons to be had here. First, no job is safe in today's corporate culture. Next time you have any feelings of loyalty or warmth towards your employer, remember that those feelings only go in one direction. If the need arises, your company will let you go in the blink of an eye. I am not saying this in a pejorative way. In fact, just a few weeks ago I had to let someone go in my company. However, what I am trying to say is that "every man for himself" is the reality in today's business climate, and I don't know that it was ever different.
Second, job security is a very ephemeral thing. Some of the financially strongest companies in the world are laying people off, left and right. Some small businesses and companies are retaining their employees and are even hiring. Big business is such an impersonal thing. You could be doing a phenomenal job, but if someone at the top decides to lop-off a business unit, you would lose your livelihood just as the slacker in the next cube would.
At the end of the day job security exists no-where in corporate america today. I believe that a new term is needed: Career Security. It's not about keeping your current job, it's about making sure that if you do lose your job your long term earning prospects are not diminished. Career security is about recovery and resiliency more than it is about maintaining a specific employer.
I think there's a book in there somewhere.
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