Earlier this week I started a long term post series to cover the topic of Career Security. Today I would like to explore my definition of Career Security in more detail. The definition I previously used (which I expect to refine over time) is:
You have career security if you feel that should you lose your job you will be able to secure a similar or better one within a reasonable amount of time, without loss of income and without unreasonable personal discomfort.
Let me me discuss each of these four elements in more detail:
Similar or Better Job - obviously, this is a matter of personal judgement and opinion. I am not satisfied with a job that simply pays the bills. I want to do something that allows me to use what I consider my skills and talents. For example, while some would consider there to be a minor difference between business development and sales, I would not be happy if I could only land a sales position in the event I lost my business development job. Many people love salesbut I am not one of them, and therefore being able to get such a position would not address my needs for career security. For others, such similarity between the two roles would satisfy the conditions for career security.
Reasonable Amount of Time - time is a critical factor in career security. Most of us would be unwilling and, more importantly, would be economically unable, to wait five years to land our dream job. The amount of time one must spend job hunting varies greatly between industries, between position types, and of course tends to increase with the seniority of the position which you are trying to land. Obviously, the economic environment at the time of your job search is also a critical factor in the amount of time you must spend to land a job. You only have career security if you can land another job that meets your criteria within the time you can afford to spend searching.
Without Loss of Income - at the end of the day, we all work to get paid. Being able to trade your job for one that pays you less would not be adequate from a career security perspective. Having career security means that if you happen to lose your job you can reasonably expect to move "sideways" or "up" in the next position you line up. Being forced to take a demotion due to job loss means that you do not have career security.
Without Unreasonable Personal Discomfort - once again, a subjective judgment call. For me, having career security means that if I lost my job, I could find another one in Northern California. Yes, I am sure I could find a job somewhere in the world, but I don't want to relocate my family. For others moving to a different state or continent is no big deal, but being required to constantly travel on business in not acceptable. Your own criteria for unreasonable personal discomfort may vary. Having career security means that you can easily find another position that suits your personal requirements.
In my next post on the topic of career security, I will examine the various reasons that job security in the US has virtually disappeared. These can provide important clues about one can achieve career security. Stay tuned.
Enjoyed this post? Please consider subscribing to Money and Such by free RSS Feed or by email. You can also follow me on Twitter.