15 Jun Until Convenience Do Us Part
Based on an article published in América Economía (Latam) June 15, 2013
I have dedicated the past 20 years of my professional life to helping many people with various levels of experience and standing to find another job, be outplaced as employees, develop their own company or have an active retirement. A large number of them arrived at LHH DBM to be supported in their outplacement processes after leaving their former jobs due to change processes.
A common characteristic among these good professionals was their surprise at the change in their lives. Many were very upset, because most of them had distinguished careers, a first-class education and had worked in good companies. Others were even recognized as the best in their companies. It was hard for them to understand that their performance, their personal relationships or their ethics did not matter: their profile no longer fit in the company to which they had dedicated time, caring and effort.
Many of these professionals thought of their position as their lifetime partner – though it may not have covered all of their needs and expectations – and the breakup threw them deeply off balance. Like a marriage that unexpectedly breaks up, they saw their dream of a lifelong job vanish all of a sudden, and that was hard for them to accept.
Fortunately, nowadays a decreasing number of professionals believe in a lifelong employment relationship. Nevertheless, let’s be honest: even though we have come to terms with the idea that relationships end, we cannot help feeling chagrin at the thought of when and how the employment relationship we have now will end.
We have undoubtedly evolved. Twenty-five years ago, a job position was held almost as private property, and in many cases practically a family inheritance. Today we understand that nobody has a job because they are entitled to it or because they have had it for twenty years, and that the term “forever” is a dream. However, thinking about a breakup… and that the breakup is initiated by the company we work for, is still painful.
We must accept that, no matter how good we are at what we do, one day it will probably be our turn too. The reality of the job market will continue to shatter paradigms and relationships, and we have to be ready to come to grips with change and recover, whether we like it or not.
We should also come to terms with the fact that if a company no longer requires our services, it is not betraying us, but following its business strategy. Business success depends to a large degree on a company’s ability to reinvent itself, restating its positions and objectives. The reality is that we may not necessarily always continue to be a good fit.
So, what is left for us to do? Be concerned with our employability. Reinvent ourselves constantly. Seek personal satisfaction and success concurrently with job satisfaction, and accept that our fear of unemployment should instead be a tool to always be on the lookout for new possibilities for growth. Let’s continue learning, networking, developing our personal brand and keeping up-to-date on new trends. Knowledge, experience and reputation must be a differentiating factor for us.
We should take the fact that jobs are now a two-way relationship as an opportunity. They will continue as long as both parties are satisfied. We will be hired to the extent that we add value, contribute to results, generate concrete achievements (the main reason why we are hired), get along with other associates and especially with the boss, and so long as they need someone with our profile at that moment.
Likewise, we will work for that organization as long as our development there is possible, we find satisfaction and growth in what we do, we make a reasonably good living, and we feel recognized and valued. The relationship, then, will clearly last as long as it is convenient for both parties.
Let’s focus on continuing to raise our level of employability and the value of our personal brand. Let’s face our fears and make them our allies in keeping abreast of changes in the job market. Let’s keep in mind that we are our own service company and that it is our responsibility to work every day to be more valuable and recognized in the job market.