The real meaning of job security is for us to keep working in our jobs until we choose to retire or call it quits on our own terms. We have the freedom to remain in employment while being employable, job-ready, and future-ready. To do this, we must anticipate and plan for the future of work; we must future-proof ourselves. This prepares us for the potential negative impacts of automation, demographic changes, and income equality.
To keep working on our own terms (rather than being dictated by our employers), we must secure our jobs now.
That’s why it is called “job security.”
Job security is a state where you know that your job with an employer is secure and that you can remain in gainful employment in the future, unlikely to be dismissed or made redundant.
To secure something requires action. It requires work on our part. We really cannot hope and pray that things will be secured without any work.
When you feel secure in your job or at work, you do not worry about the future. There’s peace. You don’t need to constantly look back and worry about your employer’s actions. You don’t worry about being terminated, being made redundant, or restructured out of the organization for whatever reason.
Some people would say that there is no such thing as job security. In some sense, this is true because we cannot predict the future. We are at the mercy of our employers who can terminate our services at any time. These are uncontrollable circumstances.
Here’s the thing:
There are some things that we can control that will help us influence positive outcomes for ourselves.
When we do acquire employable skills that employers will die for, we can easily find another job at any time regardless of what happens to us.
You have marketable job skills that will truly enable you to gain any employment anywhere, without any problems whatsoever.
The key for you to have job security is to ensure that you have employable skills that will be in demand in the future. It’s about positioning yourself as irreplaceable.
In terms of skill sets, it’s not about what’s currently hot right now, but what will be hot in five to ten years from now. It’s about preparing for the future, rather than the present. It’s about being irreplaceable. Granted, you may need to maintain or up-skill yourself in your current job, but your focus from a job-security perspective is to acquire future skills now that will get you future-ready and job-ready.
This process will take time as you enroll yourself in part-time or night classes, especially if you are currently working a 9-to-5 job. You may need to devote some free time to your personal study and development.
When we future-proof ourselves with future-ready employable skills, we remain employable on our own terms. We will have job security and will feel secure.
Note that complacency does kill jobs. If we hope and pray and do nothing to upgrade our current skills to meet future demand and employer expectations, then we will naturally feel insecure in our jobs. There’s no job security for us.
Employers don’t need our outdated skills. Using a wine analogy, if the wine is not preserved, it will turn into vinegar and has to be thrown away. Likewise, if our skills are not preserved over time (i.e. upgraded or improved), then we truly become useless to our employers. The likelihood of termination will grow. When that time comes, we will not have our jobs. In this situation, we don’t have job security.
It’s not a question of if, but when it comes. No one plans to fail, really. Instead, we just fail to plan for the future. We just fail to future-proof ourselves with employable job skills that will be in demand in the future. Sometimes, we fail to anticipate what the future of work will look like based on available information and signs that are already written on the wall.
No one is going to future-proof your job for you. No one. “Hope and pray” is not a strategy that you can adopt if you want job security. You really have to take the initiative to think about the future and consider whether your job will still exist based on the information we know today.
What we know now is that automation will kill off many jobs. It will also create and transform many jobs. The net positive or negative effect of automation will depend on where you live, your industry, and your profession. If we do not prepare ourselves for these likely changes, we will be left behind. We will then wonder what happened. For some people, this will be too late.
So, how do we know what job skills will be in demand in the future? It’s about focusing on jobs that machines, artificial intelligence, and automation cannot do or do well. It boils down to doing things where we have the competitive advantage over robots. The idea here is not to compete with robots to see who wins.
These in-demand jobs are usually non-routine and require human cognitive abilities and interaction. They cannot be easily replaced or substituted – yet.
Skills related to these jobs will be in high demand in the future. Jobs requiring these skills will be secure. Do watch out for sudden disrupters that may appear from left-field to take your job. The challenge for you is to continuously upgrade your skills through micro-learning opportunities in anticipation of future changes that may impact the future of work.
It’s about investing in your knowledge, reading, and researching the predicted changes of the future.
Reading the articles on my blog is one good way of keeping abreast of the latest developments in this area.
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