Clients will frequently tell me they want a job with stability. I caution that this goal might not be realistic or good for their careers. In a time of random layoffs and cost cutting, a job can end at any time. I’ve had clients whose bosses convinced them that the operation was stable only to have a company or division shut down six months later. There is no reason to expect any position to be stable.
Nor should you want it to be. Generally speaking, people who stay in the same job five years or more start to go flat or negative in salary. During a time when raises are low or non-existent, the best way to get ahead is look for new opportunity. Why should you stay at a job a year, if another employer will give you a better deal? Loyalty? Few employers have shown any loyalty over the last three decades. When workers can be cut, they are let go without any mercy. Employees need to take the same attitude. For most people, the only way to get a decent raise is to find a new employer.
Politicians of both parties are beginning to preach a new meme: “good jobs.” They are aware that our country’s economy has produced new jobs, many of which are low wage. I agree with the politicians that low wage jobs are a problem. However, neither party has proposed a real solution to this problem.
What can you do as an individual in a low wage economy? Practice smart career management. Executives have done this for years. They have no loyalty to their employer. They study their industry, network, and change jobs whenever a good deal comes along. No politician will save you in a time of shrinking salaries. You need to know your value, find ways to increase your value, and look for employers who will pay you what you’re worth.
Hanging on to the job you have may give you a sense of security. It also might be a good way to fall behind financially. Take care of yourself – look for the best deal. That’s what the big boys do.