It seems appropriate on Labor Day to think about job security. Is it just me or does it seem as though these days the only true job security is when you’re an entrepreneur? I heard several stories in the past few days about people who were laid off or fired from their jobs with no notice, in some cases after being there for over 15 years. I have relatives whose ages range from their late fifties to mid seventies who are not financially secure and who need incomes. One of them just lost their job. Another one’s salary was just cut in half.
When recruiting people into start-ups, sometimes candidates make comments indicating that they’re worried about the “risk” of working for a young company. I’ve asked them whether working for IBM, Motorola, Enron or Arthur Andersen would give them more comfort. At one time or another all of these companies were the paragons of security and prestige with your financial future and retirement all but guaranteed if you worked there. Not any more.
With real unemployment above 9% and the apparent unemployment (if you count the people who are no longer looking or the under employed) much higher, it seems to me there are only two ways to get any peace of mind. The first is to already be independently wealthy and financially secure enough to not have to ever worry about needing an income (or health insurance) ever again. Congratulations if you’re already there.
The second way is to have confidence enough in your instincts and talents to know that so long as we don’t have a nuclear meltdown, you’ll be able to summon your resources and provide products or services that people will need…regardless of the environment. Having this independence–the ability to belief in yourself–to me, is the only true security.
Really well put Neil, the sense of independence gained from a higher perspective, that is a view of the function of a whole not just a small portion, is invaluable. Start-ups provide a unique perspective to see and work with every aspect from marketing and manufacturing to accounting and HR. The harmony of these different fields put together makes a successful company, and the ability to sustainably “provide products or services people will need.” An understanding of this combined with an open-mind allows an individual see opportunities for new business or understand and help any existing business.