Choose to stay employable

Many people are out of work right now because of this pandemic. Some of their employers may not reopen when this is over, and that is causing a lot of stress. I can understand how people feel. Shortly after graduating high school I got fired from a job, and when I went to work in a factory I was laid off twice due to a lack of work. It’s tough being out of work, and it’s even harder not knowing if your job will always be there.

I eventually retired from the job that laid me off twice. I worked there 30 years, and our union contract allowed us to retire after 30 years regardless of our age. I was 47 at the time. While working there I was also the pastor of a small, rural church, plus the last two years before I retired I managed a small business our family owned. When I retired I got a retirement dinner and a gold watch.

Of course, this makes me a dinosaur. Virtually no one works for the same company 30 years any more. Some research indicates that the youngest workers today can expect to work 12-15 different jobs during their working career. Some of these might be lateral moves, but some will require the individual to reinvent himself or herself in order to be employable.

There are a number of reasons for this. In America about 20 million jobs are lost or restructured every year. Robots are replacing many of the more menial jobs. Other jobs are being sent overseas. Processes are streamlined allowing companies to accomplish more with fewer people. As you can see, job security is a myth today. Employment security is what a person must strive to accomplish.

This requires every person to understand that regardless of who signs your paycheck, you work for You, Inc. You are the boss of the company you work for, and you only have one employee. . . you. Every worker is self-employed today. Every worker must think like an entrepreneur.

When I worked in a union factory every shop job was based on seniority. For the majority of you, if you want to advance in your career, and life, you have to earn it. You have to learn new things and be willing and able to do more than you’ve done in the past. If you think your college degree will take you where you want to go, you’re sadly mistaken. Your degree might get you hired, but after that it’s all up to you.

If you’re tired of working a minimum wage job, don’t wait until the government forces a higher wage (which will only cost more jobs). Do whatever you have to do to gain new skills and new knowledge that will qualify you for a better paying career. You, Inc wants to have only the best and most qualified person (you) working for the company. Become so good at what you do that others can’t help but notice. And don’t stop there. Keep growing. Commit yourself to lifelong learning so as the career opportunities change in the future, you’ll be ready.

It’s easy to coast along in a job that isn’t going anywhere. If you want to succeed in life, you have to make the choice to remain employable regardless of what happens.

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