By Julia Richardson – Once upon a time, it was one person and one job. You graduated, found a job, worked happily ever after until it was time for retirement. There was upward mobility, job security, and retirement security. But those days are gone. Dealing with job insecurity is a proactive exercise most of us would rather do without. But ignoring your frustrations can make getting a job even more difficult than it already is.
While some people may only have one or two jobs in their lifetime, most of us will switch careers more than a few times. In many cases this is a good thing for us, and it’s of our choosing. Some even find it to be advantageous, making it easier to move up faster than ever. All is well and good, as long as leaving is our choice.
Sometimes, however, the choice isn’t ours at all.
Since 1980, the opportunity for teens to enter the workforce has been in a state of decline. Fast forward to now, when part time and contract work is on the rise. As employment opportunities have declined from the bottom up, people entering the workforce don’t expect to stay at one place forever and employers don’t expect loyalty.
All of this equals an expectation of doom that undermines productivity. Add in financial insecurity and economic down turn and it can be a scary place.
Maybe even the best jobs have a degree of insecurity, but sometimes the threat feels more real. So, how do you deal with job insecurity? Should you simply accept it as the new normal? Should you try and change the system?
Here are three things you can do to manage the symptoms of job security and plan for your future.
Reduce Your Stress
Job insecurity can be stressful. As you get older and your responsibilities grow, the stress only compounds. So breathe and be present. Know that the only person you can control is yourself. Stress can have serious health consequences—increasing your risk of heart attack, stroke, and obesity, among other things. Once you calm down you’ll better be able to assess the situation
It’s natural to be stressed out about work and life, but if job security has above and beyond normal stress levels you need to actively work to reduce your stress. Take up a hobby, join a gym, start running, practice yoga—find some outlet for your stress. Psychology Today has some great tips.
Focus on You
Once you’ve tackled the problem of stress, focus on you. Work on your resume. Keep up to date on market trends. Work on keeping your skill set fresh. Do everything you can to make sure you give yourself the best possible odds of success if you find yourself “on the market” again.
Don’t sit around and wait for something bad to happen. Instead, take control of yourself and focus on you. Think about all the things you have to offer and what separates you from the rest of the market. Visualize it. Believe it. Think of your current situation as a stepping-stone to a bigger, better you.
Save, Save, Save
An Australian study recently found that almost half of workers had less than $5,000 stashed away in savings. This happens for many reasons. Sometimes, saving is hard. Other times, it can seem impossible.
Cut your costs wherever you can and if needed, perform odd jobs on the side. You could even get creative and find a way to turn that hobby you love into cash. Whatever you do, put money aside for “tomorrow” whenever you can—no matter how big or small the amount may be, every little bit counts.
Ultimately, you can’t control others, but you can control yourself and how you react to others. Whether or not job insecurity is a modern-day fixture or simply a trend that will come and go remains to be seen.
Don’t let job insecurity dictate who you are. Empower yourself and breathe. Feel confident in yourself and your future.
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