In the corporate world of yesteryear, there was an unwritten assumption that a job was for life and, moreover, that it was a good thing to have a job that was for life.
Now, I get it, for those of you reading this in countries where jobs offer security through healthcare benefits and so on, I completely understand why having a job for life would be seen as desirable. However, that's not necessarily how employers see things anymore, so rather than being under a misapprehension about how secure your position is, perhaps you should be realistic about it instead. Plus, there's more than one way to achieve that kind of security and good planning will help you get that if you decide to leave the safety net of an employer you've had for a long time.
Portfolio careers, where people move - purposefully - through a series of jobs in related (or even unrelated) fields, have become much more popular for all generations in the last decade and with this shift, we've also seen more people starting their own businesses and going freelance. A recent survey found that 43% of those currently working full-time as independents report that they feel more secure working independently, up from 33% in 2011 (MBO Partners, 2015).
All of this flexibility gives us options for a successful, happy career in whatever we choose, working in ways that meet the needs we might have outside of our working life, whether that be with family commitments, work that is aligned to our values, opportunities to travel or with the ability to take time for ourselves.
In an interview for a full time employed position, it might well be inappropriate to say to the interviewer that you are only looking for a role for one to three years. The mindset of most companies that are recruiting for permanent positions is that you'll be there for life (demonstrating your loyalty along the way) and that they do not want to invest in you with training, development, etc. for what they might call "the short term".
The reality, though, is somewhat different. If your goals are aligned to the needs of an employer for a focused period of time that suits both of you, then there should be no reason why you don't work successfully together for that time and then you part company on good terms knowing that you can always return, refer other customers/employees or act as a contract resource in the future.
I like to look at it like a series of cogs in a fine watch. In such an analogue timepiece, one cog is used to turn another, which then turns another. At some point in this process, cogs are in play and then stop being in play when their purpose is met. Sure enough, in any given period of time, any such cog could then come back into play, but for the time being, the cog has completed the process and added the value that was required of it at that time.
Let's be honest, too, in that all the time you are working for an employer, they are assessing how well you are doing and whether you should stick around. Well beyond the probabtionary period - if there is one - there's a daily assessment of your capability and commitment to the business that may be unspoken and may, indeed, be at the unconscious level of your manager or department lead.
This gives rise to an implied permission for you to do the same. Now, most people don't constantly review whether their employer is giving them what they need and whether they should remain at that company. When I've met with clients, they tend to make an assumption that their job is a difficult part of their life to change and most people don't turn the tables on their employer and review whether the employer is meeting their needs. Instead, they might go on autopilot and only consciously evaluate their employer's suitability against their needs and requirements at the end of the year when new year resolutions are being made or when the company initiates a mandatory performance review process and forces the employee to think about their progress across that period, along with targets and development goals for the next period.
I would suggest that you need to make a conscious choice, each day, that going into work is the right thing for you. Now, I understand that having a bad day can throw off such a thought process and if you work to deadlines or in projects, there could be a number of days over any given period of time where you might have a series of tough days and you don't want to re-commit to your employer. But, on balance across each week, month or other period that you are empowered to define yourself, you should feel like your employer is serving your needs just as much as you are serving theirs. It is, after all, a two way street.
So, take away from this the right to evaluate whether your company is giving you what you want. If it isn't, maybe you should ask for some more of those things or, perhaps, you'll come to the realization that you can't get what you want from your current employer. Either way, you'll win; you'll either value the new outcomes or you'll be empowered to find a new way to get what's truly important to you. And that, my friends, has to be critical to you if you want to make your life amazing.
Rob Whitfield is the CEO and Founder of One Brit, No Bull, a coaching and corporate training company based in Los Angeles and operating worldwide. Rob can be contacted here or on (+1) 518 9NO BULL.
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As well as being an experienced management consultant and energetic public speaker, Rob Whitfield is a certified Trainer of Neuro-Linguistic Programming, a certified Master Coach and a certified Master Practitioner of Hypnotherapy and Time Line Therapy. No Bull.