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October 2006
How Do I Build Career Stability?

by Susan Reynolds

How Do You Build Career Stability?

Most professionals wish for a stable career. They want to know that their family’s livelihood is predictable and protected. They often measure this stability in having a full time salaried position with “benefits”. They allow themselves to think that this is less risky than being self employed or being in an incentive compensation program, such as commission sales. This month I’d like to put forth some thoughts of what actually defines a stable career. I wonder if some of my readers will be surprised that I don’t always think a “corporate” position is the most stable option. Run through a checklist for yourself…

How instrumental are you to your organization’s success? (Are you superfluous or would it be hard to do without your function? Are you specifically hard to replace because you contribute some sort of unique value to the organization?) Do you actually know your own value?

Where do you fit politically within the organization? Are your contributions recognized? Work to document your accomplishments. Make a file where you can note significant achievements. Put any accolades in it, and don’t forget to save any negative feedback there too. All this will be instrumental at performance appraisal time. Maintain appropriate relationships within the organization that could be key to your success.

Now let’s get into some of the elements that you may or may not be able to influence or control…
How reliable is the industry in which your employer operates? What about the management team: Are they on top of their game? Do they themselves seem to effectively contribute to the industry or are they an “also ran” amongst their competitors? How vulnerable is the organization to abrupt changes in the business world? How vulnerable is the organization to acquisition? Would your position survive an acquisition or would you become redundant? Would you personally be able to show value to the acquiring organization or would you struggle to form new relationships? Would you be perceived as “old guard / old school”: unwilling to learn to work with and show loyalty to a new management team?

As you evaluate your career you may discover that your best success, your best income, and your best contribution does not come from a traditional salaried job with a corporation because the industry, the economy, the management, or your actual position is inherently unstable and vulnerable. You can be too easily caught in a downsizing or disruption. This would then need to prompt you to make a strategic career move. Your security probably lies best right in between your own two ears, with the career results you’ve built for yourself and the contributions you can make.

Susan Reynolds is a senior partner at Newmarket Careers in Santa Clarita, a job search and career strategy firm geared toward managerial, executive, and senior level professional careers. She can be reached at sreynolds@newmarketcareers.com or 661-755-3308.

Other Job and Career Success Related Articles:
Dressing for Success is No Joke!

How Employers Lose Their Best People...

Moving Upor Moving Out: What's the Status of Your Career?

Are You Serious About Your Career?

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