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1966 was a big year for me. I graduated from high school in May. I went to work in a factory the day after my 18th birthday in August, and in October of that year my wife and I were married. Thirty years later at the ripe old age of 47 I took early retirement from that job. Our union had negotiated a 30-and-out retirement package, and I took advantage of it. Of course, at the time I was also pastoring a church and managing a small business so something needed to go.
Not many people entering the workforce today plan to stay at their job 30 years. Some studies suggest that the average person entering the workforce today will have 12 different employers during his or her career. Some of these changes will require a complete career change while others will be doing the same work but for different companies.
Some of those changes will be the result of people seeking new employment, but some of it will involuntary caused by downsizing, companies being bought by competitors, and new technology. All of this is to say that I am a dinosaur. You won’t find many people working for the same company for 30 years in the future.
This also says that there is not such thing as job security any longer. The marketplace is changing too quickly for anyone to think their job is safe. The best any of us can count on today is employment security, and this can only happen if we are so good at what we do that even if we lose our current job another one will open up for us soon.
Employment security comes when we begin to think of ourselves as self-employed. We may work for someone who owns the company for which we work, but we must begin to think of ourselves as self-employed. We are responsible for ensuring that we exceed the expectations others have for us. We are responsible for staying on top of changing trends in our fields. We are responsible for seeking the continuing education opportunities that will make us perform better than the others around us. We are responsible for going the extra mile to ensure our clients are raving fans of our products and services. In short, we are responsible for our careers. Every self-employed person is responsible for his or her career.
You have to own your job. Regardless of what others around you are doing, you have to remain committed to being the best you can be at what you do. If you work for a larger company, you will be surrounded by a lot of slackers. They are there for a paycheck and will do the minimum required of them to remain getting paid. You cannot let them suck you down to their level. Self-employed people have to stay on top of their game.
One young man managed a golf store. A man came in and ordered an expensive set of golf clubs. He managed a nearby business and was a very busy person. When the clubs came in the manager did not call the individual to come and get his clubs; he took the clubs to the man’s business and delivered them. Needless to say, this individual was very impressed. Sometime later the golf store changed owners, and the manager was not pleased with the direction the store was going. To make a long story short, the manager of the nearby business hired him because of the extra effort he gave in delivering the clubs. That is taking a self-employed attitude and making yourself employable regardless of what happens.