I believe you should manage your career like you would invest in the stock market, never putting all your money, energy and time into one job or project, and always have multiple income streams to protect yourself from the uncertainty of the job market. If you lose your job, you become less employable unless you have a side job, project or business that will lead to your next opportunity. Companies can lay you off on a moments notice as their focus is on achieving the greatest revenue at the lowest cost and employees are the highest cost.
Your company could layoff your department after a merger and acquisition, which happens more regularly now as industries are consolidating. If you only have one income source, you are in major trouble especially if you are supporting your family. Getting laid off makes it really hard to find a job because the perception is that you are less valuable because you lost your job “for a reason”.
Let’s say you have a full-time job right now. Outside of work, you have the ability to write a blog, record a podcast, do freelance work based on your strengths or create your own company. By doing one or more of these activities outside of work, you are not only generating more income for yourself but if your company decides to do a layoff, you are protected. You’ll be still employed so it will be easier to get a new job or to take your business to the next level.
On the other hand, if all you have is a full-time job, and you get laid off, you are at the mercy of companies you are applying to. It will take months to get a new job, yet your expenses will still accumulate as you are job searching. The only way to create leverage in the recruiting process is by staying employed, at least part-time.
Think like a consultant with how you handle your career. Consultants have multiple clients not only to make more money, but to create a situation where they are diversified. If they lose a client, their business will still exist through the other clients. By diversifying your career, you will gain more leverage, become more valuable and never have to worry about finding a job again.
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Philip Lederer says
Agree. Careers are changing. Employees lack leverage, we need to have a “Backup plan..”
Joan Axelrod-Contrada says
Cool post, Dan. My mother always told me, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” Sage advice from both Mom and you.