The Continuing Myth of Job Security

job securityAt one time in America, there was job security. Back in the 1950s, smaller companies and a more unionized work force meant that there were more labor protections as well as a better relationship between management and workers. Today, however, that simply is no longer the case. Much worse, it looks as though job security is never returning to America again, as the percentage of the work force which is unionized continues to decline and more companies rely upon independent contractors to get work done.

Younger workers usually realize the truth quickly upon entering the corporate workforce. For many older workers, however, the myth is too strong to let go of so easily. So they’re inevitably shocked when the company eventually lays them off to cut labor expenses or replaces them by offshoring their duties overseas. It is a hard lesson to learn, and one that is often learned far too late in life.

Perhaps the reason why the job security myth is still perpetuated in the corporate world is that it promotes loyalty from workers to the company. Yet all that an employee has to do is open their eyes to see that this loyalty is a one way street to disaster. The simple fact is that when an economy or sector faces a downturn, companies are much more eager to cut expenses than to work harder to increase revenue. Workers are inevitably the target for such cost cutting, as labor costs make up a large percentage of a company’s spending.

So with the lack of job security, what is the average worker supposed to do to cope in this type of environment? Well, one thing is to always keep your resume polished and updated. Next, you should be open to pursuing greater opportunities, without fearing to jump ship if it leads to greater rewards for yourself and your career. Freeing yourself from this misguided belief that loyalty leads to greater success within the corporate structure will be one of the best moves of your career.

Jobs at corporations have certain duties which have to be fulfilled in order for a worker to stay employed. Once these duties are no longer required, however, the worker either has to be promoted, demoted, re-assigned, or laid off. Big business, no matter how much you’ve been taught to think so, doesn’t care about the needs of workers. This isn’t a cynical viewpoint, but simply a rational one. The management is beholden to shareholders, with the duty of maximizing shareholder returns by utilizing all strategies and avenues within the bounds of law. Understanding this will at least help for you to not develop strong emotional ties to your work, that will lead to negative feelings should you be laid off. It isn’t personal, after all. It’s just business.

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