Sorry to tell you this, but there’s a good chance you’re going to lose a job in the future. And quite likely it’s going to be something outside your direct control.
Fine. So what have we learned from the last few years? After all, a lot of us have had our lives totally upended through our own job loss, or those close to us. It would be great if the next time didn’t cause quite so much heartbreak.
Your immediate response might be to have no emotional attachment to your employer, your job, your boss, or co-workers. I think that’s a mistake. That’s like entering into a marriage already planning for the divorce.
But it makes sense to have a prenuptial agreement, perhaps. Like creating a will, it’s good to spend a little unemotional and logical time up front so you can then put your full energy and passion into living your life.
For your career, the equivalent is to do some thinking OUTSIDE work to figure out what other alternatives exist, your personal long-term priorities, and how to achieve the right balance between contributing in your current job and developing for the next one.
There’s a couple of powerful reasons why you should do this outside work:
- You’re a much larger person than just what you contribute in your current job. You have a family life, personal goals and dreams, other untapped skills – and your present employer may not reward you for any of that. It’s not really fair to ask them to.
- You need the clarity of being away from job pressures, which will let you look at the big picture without the day-to-day pressures of the job.
Ultimately, doing this internal work will help you to be more present to your existing job, to jump in with courage and energy. It helps to reduce those nagging fears of job loss that suck the life out of enjoying your current situation.
What’s the result of this thinking?
- You create interesting alternatives. If you were out of a job tomorrow, where would you put your energies? If your existing career path halted, what else would you do?
- You incorporate the rest of your family into your thinking. If you were incapacitated for a year, how would your family survive? What would happen if you wanted to move to a different location? What’s the right balance between your career ambitions and bringing up capable and happy children?
- You remove anxiety from the process of changing jobs, because you’ve thought it through beforehand. Like an athlete who plays out courses of action in their mind, you develop a useful map of what to do when you lose your job – or voluntarily leave it.
In the end, reducing your fears of losing your job will help you to contribute your full passions in your existing work, AND prepare for inevitable change.
by Carl Dierschow