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Job Insecurity

May 26, 2017

I’m having  somewhat sudden anxiety about job security.

It isn’t totally unfounded, but there isn’t a reason for it to crop up right now, nor any real actions I should be taking in terms of contingency planning. The logical side of me thinks it is mostly unfounded, but the emotional side of me is sort of freaking out.

While I only spent a year in consulting, I’ve always worked on project-based jobs within organizations. My projects tend to be big  (100+ people) and long (2-5 years), and you can generally see the timeline clearly and plan accordingly.  Within a larger organization, there is more buffer within the organization when your specific project ends, since there are generally more projects. I’m  currently at a small organization.  Things could change in 6 – 12 months, but there isn’t any buffer at my organization right now (it is the opposite).  My project and even my role has a good timeline, but the nature of my specific role is somewhat less stable and dependent on some things I can’t control.

The most important thing for me to do is continue to add value, do good work, and ensure people like working with me. I am refraining from seeking assurance from my boss right now, because part of my job is to make his job easier. We have a pretty good working relationship, but it is not his job to deal with my anxiety. I’m sure there is a mutually beneficial and professional way to discuss future plans, but I haven’t figured it out yet.

I can also do some minor contingency planning to help me feel a bit more secure. I skim local job openings and convince myself I could come up with a plan B job if needed. It would be inappropriate to apply for a new job, because there is essentially no job that I would trade my current one for – even with the instability considered – as long as my current job exists. I don’t really have a “next step” in my career that I’m gunning for. I look at our income/budget/spending and note that we can handle it.  We may start keeping a bit more liquidity/cash instead of mortgage pre-payments (beyond our yearly goal) or extra retirement savings – but even this is probably not needed. We have created our own safety net, and have an appropriate amount of cash to be covered in a variety of scenarios.

What do you do when you worry about your job? Or do you not worry until it is a real issue?

4 Comments leave one →
  1. May 26, 2017 1:24 pm

    My job is really stable and so far I really like it. But DH’s company looks like it is on its last legs. That has me doing lots of money checks and scanning what’s available in terms of jobs etc. Even though we have plenty of money for him to not work so long as we stay here and don’t move to Paradise.

    He, on the other hand, is super calm about this and figures he’ll figure things out when he has all the information. (Knowing that we have enough money to handle extended perhaps indefinite unemployment on his part.)

    This is just how our two personalities work. I freak out about missing him (and now also the kids) before I leave for a trip but once I’m gone I look forward to the return. He doesn’t worry about it until I’m actually gone and doesn’t stop missing me until I’m back.

    • May 26, 2017 4:10 pm

      Yes, we have similar personality differences!

      I admire his calmness, but I also know that my planning benefits us. (My worrying doesn’t really help anything, but in other aspects of life, it really is useful planning.) Life is full of situations where you have incomplete information and still need to make plans and decisions, and that is something I’m pretty good at doing.

      We sometimes discuss finding a lower cost of living place. With my career of choice, there aren’t really any locations that would be super stable in the very long run, so I’m hesitant to initiate a family move that would provide ~3 years of stability and the potential for a bad cycle. He has the option for a stable career in many select locations, but salaries vary widely, as will working conditions/reputations. It’s not off the table, but there are a lot of factors that keep us here.

  2. May 30, 2017 9:00 pm

    I do what you do – I stockpile cash 🙂 The problem happens when the insecurity never goes away…

    • May 31, 2017 7:55 am

      I usually eventually reach a point where I can feel “if this job goes away, I’ll figure out what is next”. It all seems more at an emotional level instead of directly tied to realistic.

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