I don’t know about you, but if you’re the typical professional out there in the field, you’ve faced some uncertainty about your job security. It’s about finding the best job and keeping it, right? So here’s a great game plan for you when it comes to your career and to find that best job.
Look, your identity can’t be all about the company you work for. Some day, one of these events is going to happen: 1) you’re going to quit; or, 2) you’re going to get laid off or fired; or, 3) you’re going to die. Who you are as a professional will most likely stop being connected with that company once that day happens.
So does that mean that you don’t exist anymore? With the exception of the “death” part, which does have a little bit of finality when it comes to working, you’re still around, right? But if everyone only knows you as “ABC Company Worker,” you’ve got a problem. But you had a problem going into this event and you probably didn’t know it.
The problem is that you think you work for “ABC.” And you do. The problem is that you don’t know your identity. You signed up for the idea that your whole professional identity was “ABC Company.” Sorry, you’re wrong. Slavery was outlawed in the United States a long time ago.
You are the President/CEO of a corporation. It is you.
I may have lost you on that last sentence, but stay with me. You own who you are and you own what you do. Additionally, you also own what you’ve done and what you’re going to do as a professional. Also, you offer your products and services to companies. Think about it: you’re the sales manager, the operations manager and the HR manager – all rolled into one. Then you make the investments of cash and time. You acquire the resources and you spend them. Whether you spend your free time working on improving your skills or watching trash TV, you receive the fruits of your labor. How you do it is up to you.
You decide where you want to work and how you want to do it.
You also decide what you want to present to employers who you think will want to hire you. And all of this process is about building a compelling argument to some company that you’re going to be the best resource for an opportunity they have open.
You’re not a whole lot different than a vendor or especially an independent contractor. The IRS may see it differently, but that HR professional at the company you’re thinking about isn’t seeing you a whole lot differently than other resources he or she is looking for. They need to fill needs and keep the corporate machine running smoothly, so they’re all about finding the best solutions.
That’s not to say that you can’t work for some company. Everyone works for someone or something. But what I’m saying is that you need to own who you are and what you’re doing. Be intentional about everything you do. Think about what your future holds. Make intentional plans to grow your opportunities. Look at what resources you have and
It’s all about risk. You focus on reducing risk by increasing value.
There’s a joke among business owners about banks. It goes like this. When you need a loan from the bank, they won’t give you one. When you don’t need a loan from the bank, they ask you to open one. Ask any successful entrepreneur and they’ll tell you it’s true.
When their corporations are flush with cash, they approach these people and ask them if they want to take out a loan. In most cases, the corporations don’t need a loan – they have all the cash they need. The bank, however, sees it differently. The reason is that the bank is all concerned about “managing risk.”Think of it this way from the bank’s perspective. You don’t have money? They’re looking at a big risk. You’re got a lot of money? Not a problem.
I think this also applies to romantic relationships. I call it the “boyfriend/girlfriend dilemma.” Think about it. When you were really looking for a relationship, you probably had a hard time finding one. Once you found one, you probably noticed that the “available” people you were considering for a relationship and didn’t give you the time of day were now showing interest in you.
You can’t find a date? You’re a big risk. People like you and you’re attractive in all kinds of ways? You’re a small risk which makes you even more desirable.
All of these points apply to your career.
When you need a job, you generally don’t get picked for the one you really want. When you don’t need a job and you’re in the best job for you, someone wants to hire you. Especially if you’re in a specialized area, you’ve got HR people and recruiters coming after you from all directions. Ask the best and most talented professionals and they’ll tell you that it’s a whole lot easier to find a new job when you’re secure in your current one, rather than when you just lost the last one.
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t like the company you work for, or that you shouldn’t identify yourself as part of that company. What you need to keep in mind is to consistently maintain your responsibility for your career and reducing your risk. Keep working to find that best job. And if you happen to be thinking about starting your own business or improving it, take these points to the next level.