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7 Principles for Career Security in our Insecure Job Market

40% of Canadian jobs could be lost to automation

– McKinsey, February 2017

38% of US jobs will be lost to robots by 2030

– Daily Mail, March 2017

Jobs have been the focus in recent headlines. This attention to jobs lost and gained is not new; it has gained the attention of media for several decades. When it comes to career stability today, jobs are the wrong thing to focus on.


Jobs are not a naturally occurring phenomenon. The ‘job’ is a social artifact dating back to the Industrial Revolution. It was a way to package work in the growing factories and bureaucracies of the industrializing world.

In today's connected, transforming world, automation, software and robotics are displacing full-time jobs. Soon enough Artificial Intelligence will replace even more jobs. Imagine what driverless trucks and ships with no crew, along with automated loading docks will do the jobs in the transportation industry.

Work is being unbundled and contracted out to increase flexibility and reduce costs. The very nature of work has changed from fixed hours at a static location to anytime – anywhere.

Gainful employment is not a fundamental birthright. No one owes us a living. Unless we are born into wealth, we all need to work to fund the lives we want to live. Learning to thrive and capitalize on this instability is essential for everyone. If you are starting on your career path, navigating your mid-career years or trying to squeeze in a few more years before you cut back, everyone needs to work to make ends meet.

What follows are 7 Principles for Career Security in our Insecure Job Market. Think of them as guidelines for your career planning:


1.      You are in Business for Yourself

We are all on our own when it comes to managing our careers. No one has our best interest at heart more than ourselves – not your current boss or organization.

So, if we are in business for ourselves, think about managing your career as if it was a business. Use basic management practices to keep your career viable. Practices like understanding your marketplace, who your customers are, what needs and wants those customers have, and how you can articulate your skills and abilities to meet your customers' needs.


2.     You Must Have Something Compelling to Offer

When you think about your career existing in a marketplace, you must have something significant to offer. Consider this your unique product or service. Can you articulate your product or service in under 20 seconds?

Your marketplace can be an organization, industry, community or region. It is anywhere you can exchange what you have to offer for what you need to live the life you desire.

Align what you have to offer with your true inner nature. Say you are an easy-going people person who is good at solving people-related problems. You will find it stressful and unfulfilling to sit alone with a computer solving technical problems.


Retailers cut tens of thousands of jobs. Again

 – CNN April 2017


3.     You Must Bring in More Value Than You Take Out

There is a universal economic law guiding career security. Any marketplace will bring you in and keep you around when you add more value than you cost.

You must have an accurate, objective understanding of what value you bring to the table based on what else is available in that marketplace.

You must understand your cost to the marketplace. This is much more than your take-home pay. Training, benefits, equipment, space, admin support etc. all add up to a significant cost.

It is important for you to clearly understand the cost for the organization to replace the value of the work you do. If it is cheaper to eliminate your work or outsource it to someone on a contract, the organization is probably considering that option.



4.     Everything is Contingent on Your Ability to Deliver Results

Your career will be very secure when you can clearly and consistently yield results the organization values.

Rare is the organization or marketplace that pays for activity. Showing up is never enough.

The results you yield must help the organization move toward achieving its strategic outcomes.


5.     Don’t Look for a Job. Look for Work that Needs Doing

Find problems where your unique skills and abilities are valuable. Focus on opportunities where a specific want or need has not been resolved or has just surfaced.

Many of these opportunities will not present themselves as a long-term secure full-time job. They show up as possible projects, assignments or contracts.


Economy adds 35,300 jobs in October yet unemployment rate up

– Canadian Press, November 2017


6.     Doing Something You Love Beats Doing Something for Money – Every Time

Life is far too short to work for wages, benefits and a retirement plan.

More than ever before it seems people find value in remembering Joseph Campbell’s words of wisdom – “Follow Your Bliss”. Walking away from the challenges and headaches of high pressure, unfulfilling jobs and doing work they want to do is a choice many people are making at every stage of there career.


7.     Buckle Up – Your Career Path Will be a Twisty, often Bumpy Journey

Gone are the days of one job for your entire career. We are all likely to have 3 – 5 career paths consisting of many jobs in each one. They may be in completely different industries or sectors of the economy.

We need to find a level of calmness and security in this very fluid, dynamic world of work. We must fine-tune our ability to live with constant change. Security and comfort are found in this chaotic environment by discovering and capitalizing on the patterns and flows of work you love to do.


We are in another turbulent period between great ages. The fading familiarity of the Industrial Age is rapidly being displaced with a new reality taking shape must faster than many of us are ready for.

These 7 Principles represent some guidelines for managing your career in today's stormy, turbulent environment. Pay attention to those that make sense, wherever you are on your own career path.

Good luck on your journey.


Copyright 2017 Chris Edgelow, Sundance Consulting Inc.

Chris Edgelow