In my LinkedIn feed recently was this post that says we should always have an eye open for our next job move. The hunt for the next job is never over. I was tired just thinking about that to be honest. It feels like a full time job looking for a job and trying finagle them in between meetings at your job without anyone knowing what you’re doing is just maddening! The post made me realize just how unsettled we are in our jobs to require this constant shopping for a new one to be needed.
I think most of us are not interested in constant job changes. Me personally I want some comfortable job I like doing, pays me well, offers decent benefits and takes care of me and our family. I’d like to feel that my job is making a difference to someone and that it matters what I’m doing to make the world a little bit better too. If the job didn’t dominate all my time, attention and energy and actually provided good solid work-life balance that would be perfect! Does that even exist though? I know I can’t remember the last time I took a vacation where there wasn’t a work call, meeting or need to bring along my work laptop as part of my luggage.
Instead of growing up to do something we love we find ourselves in this never ending job search to keep paychecks coming in. Granted we may stay in the same industry as I have for more than 30 years now but the ability to say I love it has been discolored because of the stress of this job changing condition. We search for companies with better benefits, a chance at a promotion or maybe even some stability that lasts more than a couple years if we are lucky. All of these things are important but ultimately are surface level factors in actually providing the very reason we go to work. I’m not certain how you build a secure future for your family if you’re always having to be concerned with when the bottom will fall out of your current job.
As a result of all this we have become our own entrepreneur in the job market. We must brand, sell and represent our own best interests in each of these situations. It is for us to look out for ourselves always because the days of counting on a company to provide that security doesn’t exist. As a result we are free agents who must be savvy negotiators, mediators for problems and marketing agents to promote ourselves. It is not just finding a job anymore but rather being our own self-service of functions to stay relevant, top of mind and in the front to get the best opportunities.
As I embark on a new job search myself I see the patchwork quilt of multiple jobs I’ve had and probably many more before I retire. It is not the long happy career I thought I would have when I started out and feels more like a burden of just trying to survive the latest wave of changes that result in resume updating. Sure at times I have moved into better jobs along the way but more often than not it was a series of ups and downs, good and bad bosses, worry and uncertainty. None of those things to me provide the nostalgia of what I would call a stellar career when I look back at it.
The answer is always to keep looking for that gold nugget of a job though. That’s what all the recruiters will tell you. It feels like we should have frequent shopper discount cards each time we have to go through this process. After so many punches to our card our 10th resume update is free or something. The simple answer may be to keep looking but that does not correlate to living naturally well for most of us. The stress, anxiety, uncertainty and strain this puts on us and our family is nothing but simple.
If we are going to be constantly selling ourselves for jobs why not turn that into building our own identity and business instead? If the average job lasts only 2 years then the risk of having your own business built with some stability in that time is possible so that next time maybe you don’t need just another job. Since most of us are trained to be employees rather than entrepreneurs using the time of a job we’re in to learn what we need to do, build our business and stabilize it is entirely possible than the litany of window shopping for another job in that same time. This way too you walk out with something of your own that does provide the sense of comfort and security we all deserve from the work we perform.
This has been my strategy to offsetting the need to continually keep looking for my next job. It has given me a greater piece of mind and purpose to what I am actually seeking when I apply for another job. Eventually too, I won’t need anymore of those jobs because I will have something of my own that does actually provide my family and I that level of security we need and deserve. It also provides me the satisfaction of work well done that does help others and gives me a sense of pride for what I do.
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