When it comes to corporate careers in business, there are two types of people; those focused on their ambition and those that seek security (as their dominant focus). At times the two blur depending on what you see in front of you, but broadly this is true.
Then if we cut each of those groups down, there are two subsets of each group; in the security focused group, there is a set that focus on “doing their job” and the other set that focus on doing a “great” job. Equally there is a similar breakdown in the ambitious set; those that create enough value in their roles to progress closer to their goals, and those that think they are.
Within these groups, who is truly secure?
The buzz words of today filter across almost every business I work with; transformation; cost reduction; rationalisation; restructure; redundancy; new management; offshoring; outsourcing… The list goes on.
Each form of change brings and upside and a down side, depending on the perspective you hold. For example, some will see the upside being cost saving and efficiency, with the downside being time and funds invested to deliver the change. Others see the upside a little thinner, perhaps taking the experience of observing such a change as “new”, while seeing the downside as potentially losing their job in the end.
Of course, no matter where you are positioned within an organisation, your role will face scrutiny in line with a business’ lifecycle and changing market dynamics impacting the business. At times, your role will be crucial in the eyes of leadership. At other times, the contribution of your role to business performance may be challenged. In any case your value to the business is defined by the performance and output it requires to provide to stakeholders at any given time. As the world around your business changes, so will the requirements of your role. Here lies the illusion of job security.
Your job will change. It will never be the same over a long period of time. As such, you must change over time. To be in control of the change, you can position your career in a secure way, but it is impossible to hold a “secure job” for a long period of time.
When we think about security, it is best to think of “career security” not “job security”, as no job is secure. Career security is best developed by proactively managing four key areas; Clarity, Networks, Influence and High Performance.
Unfortunately, playing a defensive game in your career is fraught with danger. This is not to say you can’t sustain periods where you just “do your job”, but this will not last for long. I can guarantee, your role will change.
If you would like to know how well you are managing career security, click here to take the Career Health Check.