This is a guest blog by Gina Covarrubias
According to careertrend.com, job security is defined as “a sense of assurance that you will remain employed for the foreseeable future – or at the very least, until you decide that you are going to move on. Job security means you are confident that your employer will keep you on board, regardless of the forces that affect the business.”
Modern Job Insecurity
Back in the day, long ago, people loyally worked at the same establishment for years at a time. In many industries, climbing the ladder was not required to earn a living wage or a plethora of benefits. Jobs seemed, for the most part, secure.
It is true many jobs and employers have morphed since then, but some employees have not. There are folks out there who believe in the idea of modern job security. Do you believe the route to elevated job security includes hard work, impactful results, and pleasing your management?
If this is you, even a little bit, I am thankful you found this article!
The aforementioned work philosophy, unfortunately, can lead engineering employees down a demoralizing path. Working hard and doing all the things you believe will secure your job only secures one thing: your belief that this work ethic is the ticket to continued employment. Performing duties out of fear, threat, or insecurity is not only a downer, but will likely lead to disengagement and burnout.
In your employer’s eyes, an impeccable work ethic does not necessarily equate to job stability. You see, your employer may be under pressure to consider executive directives, headcount, performance reviews, downsizing, and other mandates we can only imagine. Therefore, the best and brightest engineering workers can be overlooked, depending upon criteria set in motion by the employer.
If you are interested in guaranteed job security, you can become a tenured professor (it’s possible with lots of hard work, right?) or a U.S. Supreme Court justice (possible, but not probable).
So, where does that leave you given today’s modern job insecurities?
It leaves you with the fact that given today’s modern job security, you must always be prepared for unemployment. Of course, nobody wants to think about being unemployed. That, my friends, is part of the problem!
Too many people set themselves up for urgent reaction instead of strategic proaction (yes, I just made up that word). For example, do you regularly network with exemplary contacts in your field? Is your resume consistently up to date? Can you depend on three trustworthy sources should you need letters of reference tomorrow? Would your current boss offer glowing remarks about your performance?
Instead of wondering, “how secure is my job,” let us approach this topic from a different angle. The deeper question is not about job security. Rather, a more insightful and useful question is, “How secure am I?”
Employability assets include your:
- Hard/soft skills
- Critical thinking skills
- Growth mindset
- Transferable skills
Your employability involves being in tune with who you are and knowing yourself inside and out. It also means you can recognize and articulate exactly what you bring to the table.
I challenge you to a self-serving, brainy exercise. Heavily consider every which way that you are employable. Dissect your strengths, assets, and authenticity. Imagine gathering all these components together inside a giant vault — your employability vault. I guarantee that there are more items than you initially realize! Part of my function is to help you dig deep and uncover all the great things for which you do not give yourself credit.
I leave off with a useful expression as you move forward in your career: Employers can never take away the valuables cached inside your employability vault!
Job security comes from within, not from your job.
About the Author
Gina Covarrubias, Certified Life Coach, holds a B.S. in Aeronautical & Astronautical Engineering (Purdue University), and an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering (University of Utah). Her distinctive background blends life coaching expertise with 12+ years engineering/technology experience in the government, academic, and corporate environments, all within the aerospace sector. As an Engineering Life Coach at Deliberate Doing, Gina’s mission is to help STEM professionals defeat career despair. When a blossoming career insidiously turns into discouragement and self-doubt with an unstable future, Gina helps the STEM community align professional goals with personal values. “Deliberate thinking is Deliberate Doing.”
We would love to hear any questions you might have or stories you might share about the things you do to deal with job insecurity in your engineering career.
Please leave your comments, feedback or questions in the section below.
To your success,
Anthony Fasano, PE, LEED AP
Engineering Management Institute
Author of Engineer Your Own Success