Job Security in America Today

Job Security in America Today

Right now there seems to be a feeling of desperation and hopelessness hanging in the air in America.  Some experts say that the recession is improving and that the economic outlook is better than it was a year or two ago, but many are still feeling the impact of the recession.  And some are just beginning to feel the impact as they worry about whether their jobs will still be there when they get to work.  As Michelle Poe of the country music band Burns and Poe puts it, “the American Dream, it seems, has been reduced to just making enough money to pay for gas to get to your job and hope it’s still there when you arrive.”(1)
With unemployment becoming a very real possibility for more and more people, it can be hard to figure out what to do to protect your own job security.  Here are some answers to some of the questions often pondered during times like this.  Whether you are currently employed and want to stay that way or you are on the hunt for a new job, these are definitely things to consider.
What are some things that you can do to better yourself in your field of interest?
If you currently have a job that you really love, or at the very least do not want to lose, try hanging onto it by making yourself an employee that cannot afford to be lost.  Meaning, take the time to do the little things that make a big difference by making sure you are always prompt or maybe even a little early to work, stay later if needed, help others that may be in need, and be willing to go above and beyond your job description.  Also, be willing to keep yourself up to date on the latest skills and education advances in your chosen field by attending classes or seminars when necessary.  Lastly, do not be afraid to have a heart to heart chat with your boss about what your strengths and weaknesses are. (2) You do not have to wait for employee evaluations to gain some input.  This proves to your boss that you take your job seriously and want to do the best you can.
How do you get into your field of interest when you have to start over or move to a new career field?
Sometimes one of the best ways to ensure job security is to switch careers.  Maybe you want to move to a career field with more opportunities for advancement, maybe you want a career that is in high demand so that job security is more probable, or maybe you are just bored with the one you have.  Either way, it can be a scary thing to do.  That said, there are a few things you can do to make the transition easier on yourself.
According to Career Know-How (3), there are at least five things you can do to make a career change more successful.  First, do enough planning ahead of time to be sure that you are choosing a new career that fits your needs.  There may be more options available to you than you realize.  Also, be sure to speak with others that have changed careers recently to get their perspective on what it was like before and after the change.  Even take time to speak with those who made a change many years ago to see what they might have to say on how a career change affected them.
Changing careers affects everyone differently.  Some people see their career as part of their personal identity and, for these folks, changing careers may be more difficult.  However, others define themselves by things like personality, family, and interests.  No matter how you define yourself, consider the implications of identity when switching careers.  Ask yourself the financial questions like whether or not a chosen career field will meet your financial needs and goals, but also ask the questions that appeal to other parts of your life.  Remember, quality of life is more than maintaining a certain life style.  Does this new career choice meet any emotional needs you may have to be happy at work or to feel like you have chosen a rewarding career?  Does this new career keep you feeling challenged if you need to be?  If you do not take the time to consider questions like these you may find yourself rushing head first into a new career that you later do not like.
What are the top jobs with the most job security and why?
Before choosing a new career field, you might want to research which jobs have the highest job security rates and why.  From there, you can choose which jobs meet the other needs that are discussed above.  According to the U.S. Department of Labor (4), the medical fields hold the jobs with the most security because there has always been a shortage in areas like nursing, but also because there are constantly medical advances being made that open up new job opportunities.  Next, on the list of top jobs are the technical ones such as computer technicians.  These jobs are also in high demand due to the constant advances.  But, if these areas of expertise are not for you veterinarians, financial advisors, and lawyers are also included in the top ten careers with job security.
How is unemployment affecting job security?
Many people assume that job security is high because it is harder to find a job right now, but the truth is that job security is not necessarily guaranteed and, if anything, it is less guaranteed than before.  Job security is the likelihood that your job will be there for an indefinite length of time and that you might even expect to advance in your company through a series of promotions and/or pay raises.  However, companies and employees are not as loyal to each other as they used to be and that is largely due to the ease of finding new jobs and new employees.   
The reason it is becoming harder to obtain a job is because the unemployment rate is high enough that there is a lot more competition than there would normally be.  For that very reason, employers are not as reluctant to let someone go that may not be performing as well as they expect.  They may even let some workers go that are making more money just to trim expenses because it is not hard to find an employee to take the place of a lost worker right now.
How do you feel about changing careers right now?
In conclusion, what are your thoughts on changing careers during these tough economic times?  Has it been something that has crossed your mind or are you content with the job you have?  Also, how secure is your job? Do you feel that it might be in danger?  Share some of your concerns, thoughts, or advice with us.  We want to know.

  1. http://countrymusicnotes.blogspot.com/2011/09/burns-and-poe-capture-public-sentiment.html
  2. http://jobsearch.about.com/od/careerdevelopment/a/careertips.htm
  3. http://www.careerknowhow.com/guidance/newcareer.htm
  4. http://jobs.aol.com/articles/2010/11/16/top-10-most-secure-jobs-in-2011/?icid=main|aim|dl4|sec1_lnk1|185055