July 6, 2015

The Real Definition of Job Security

(One from the archives. Written 25th February 2005. I think it still stands.)

While talking to a few of my co-workers, I mentioned my personal definition of job security and they liked it so much that I thought that I'd share it here as well, in the hope that it can equip someone else to be prepared for unexpected unemployment. The real definition of:

Job security is being able to get another job tomorrow, not still having the same job tomorrow.

It is an unfortunate fact that companies have an uncanny knack to get themselves in a pickle and then turn around and release workers to ease the cashflow. There's nothing we can do about their tendencies, but we certainly can prepare for such a scenario. I feel that each of us bears a responsibility to be prepared for such an occasion.

As a geek, I take time (lots of time, actually) to keep my skills up to date with the latest and greatest techniques, platforms and programming languages. It doesn't matter to me if the current instance of my Benevolent Employer doesn't like technology A or programming language B. If I feel that they are worthwhile and that knowledge of it will benefit me, then I'm going to learn it. I did it with Java back in the 1.0 days, Struts in the 1.0 days and now I'm doing it with Ruby and Rails. None of these decisions have been guided by the ol' Benevolent Employer, but they're not responsible for my career anyway. I am responsible for my career, so I'll choose what to learn and the timetable that I want to learn it in.

This is the price I choose to pay to be very good at what I do and, as a very useful by-product of that, to be very employable. I have no idea how many evenings I've stayed up late after the Queen of All She Surveys and the little princesses have gone to bed, or gotten up early on a Saturday morning when I'd much rather have enjoyed sleeping in, to learn new technologies. As a friend of mine used to say, "Do you want to be better or bitter?" I choose to seek to be better.

Tags: Software