With competition, mergers and acquisitions, position eliminations, downsizing and increasing corporate costs the thought of retiring after 40 years of employment with one company is almost asas the dodo bird.
Since there is no such thing as job security anymore, the UAW's expectations are totally unrealistic. What are they thinking? Even if GM wanted to grant this, they are hardly in a financial position to do so, especially right now. Employers these days compete in a global economy, subject to worldwide market forces and far-reaching economic considerations. Companies have been forced to become more efficient, to automate, to eliminate unnecessary jobs, all the while combating escalating raw material costs, skilled labor scarcity and health-care expenses rising at 25-30% per year.
So what is the solution? Dan suggests that workers rethink their desires. Instead of looking for JOB security, they should seek FINANCIAL security which has more to do with employee's efforts and forward thinking than it does with the employer.
As an almost 20 year employee of Pearle Vision I survived 10 presidents, three mergers and multiple "black Mondays" where realignments resulted in mass position elimination.
Why did I survive? I would often struggle with that question as dear friends would be handed their walking papers and I was not. I wasn't smarter, I certainly didn't have more college education, and in fact I had less. What was the secret to my success?
The COO once took me aside after a particularly bloody Monday and said that it was my unquestioning willingness to accept change. She told me that there had been times when my position was going to be eliminated but due to my ability to be flexible, positive, and adaptable and accepting of change they would either keep my job or find me a new one. That explains why the last five years with the company I held so many different position within a different reporting structure.
Were there times when I wanted to cry out "WHY?" Were there times when I wanted to say "the way we USED to do it was better." Sure. But I wasn't in a position of power. So I embraced the changes the minute they occurred – OUTWARDLY – until I could embrace the change inwardly. Fake it until you make it.
I told my employees in retail you have to be flexible like Gumby. You have to bend in the wind like a willow – holding firm to your morale beliefs – but going with the flow.
In business, unless you are the ultimate decision maker for the bottom line profits – you can't afford to be unbendable.
Eventually, in good time, I would offer suggestions that may have blossomed from the seeds of how we used to do things. However, I also learned that the new ways also had positive merits.
The answer to job security lies in your attitude and approach to the position. No longer can we expect to be handed a job for life. I agree with Dan when he says:
The best way for an individual to guarantee their financial security is to forget about job security and other entitlements and begin thinking about investing in their own financial security. They must learn, learn, learn; becoming an expert in a given particular field, becoming utterly invaluable to an employer or an industry.
A salesperson, for instance, with such knowledge and skills will soon become a critically important resource in her industry, always in demand and generating a handsome living. It's all about financial security, not job security. Learn to: Adapt. Adjust. Change. Listen. Stretch. Learn. Apply.
What do you think? Is job security extinct?
Deborah Chaddock Brown