Job Security is a Farce

by Cam

keep calm and make teaRecently I sat down with a client I worked with two years ago for tea and to catch up. It was a Saturday afternoon, the day before spent moving into the new Kingpin Social workspace. Throughout the day I was definitely excited to catch-up with him. His bootcamp back in the day taught me a lot. He was the first student I worked with who was 40+.

Prior to taking the bootcamp, my student had been married for twelve years and only recently divorced. Needless to say, he is much more experienced in the long-term dating scene than I am. And that’s one of the first things I told him on bootcamp: “You were married for twelve years. You know much more about relationships than I do, but I know I will be able to see where you are at and the issues you’ve been having and help you out.”

That’s exactly what happened. Over the course of the next three days we worked through his issues, and he left with a newfound energy towards meeting people. Working with my first client 40+ is an experience I will never forget.

Sitting down for tea with my client made my day. He walked into Starbucks on 15th avenue downtown glowing. We took our seats and I immediately asked him to tell me everything that’s been going on. The first thing out of his mouth is:

Well, I got laid off my job…” In my head I’m thinking, “ohhh fuck”, until he finishes his sentence “…best fucking thing that’s ever happened to me.” Phew! Being an entrepreneur myself, I obviously have a significant interest in the journey of other entrepreneurs and the struggles we all face at the beginning. Deciding to quit your job and go off on your own brings forth many inner demons that you need to face head on or risk resorting to plan bs and other silly gimmicks that lead you to second guess and be filled with self-doubt.

If you’ve been following this blog, you know that I was blessed with a father who is also an entrepreneur. From the moment I was born I have been taught to be independent and to work my ass off if I want to be successful. My Father is a great example of someone who came from little to become successful by working harder than the next guy. Throughout my whole life he has taught me to follow in his footsteps and work my balls off.

The day before moving into the new Kingpin Social workspace, Mikey B, one of my new roommates and I got into a discussion about work ethic and how, inspired by my Father, I am determined to work even harder in this new house. Every time I sign a new lease for a property, I view it as the beginning of a new chapter in my life, and set new goals and ambitions accordingly. Work ethic is without a doubt one of the qualities I will be working on that much harder for the next year, as I progress through the lease I just signed.

During Mikey B and I’s conversation, I went on to tell him a story my uncle told me about my Father, and how he would get up at 4am to be at work for 4:30am, to get in an extra hour or two before the rest of his co-workers show up. My uncle told me that the reason my Dad is successful is because he works harder than everybody else. It’s that simple. Hearing this story, I could see a fire light up in Mikey B. The following day he posted this on his status:

“What makes you successful is not just how hard you work but how long you can keep that hard work up more than the next guy in line. If your co-workers are at work for 10am, be there for 8 or 9.”

The status had received a few comments, so I scrolled down to read them.

Guy: Join a union. Then it doesn’t make a difference if the next guy in line is Jesus Christ himself.

Mikey B: That depends on your definition of successful.

Guy: I define successful as a well paying job with a high level of job security and good benefits.

alice in wonderlandMy jaw dropped. I couldn’t believe this guys comments. Join a union? I’m good. What an idiot. Job security? What job security? Frustrated I closed Facebook down and went on with my day. Later that day I was sitting down for tea with my client, who had just finished telling me how he got laid off and it was the best thing that’s ever happened to him. Naturally the conversation turns to job security as I relay the story from earlier to my client. We had a great time discussing this topic.

Job Security is an Illusion

Job security doesn’t exist. It’s a state of mind. At the end of the day, the only person you can depend on for security of any kind is yourself. There are countless horror stories you can find online, of employees with twenty or more years with a company being laid off and losing everything.

Remember: Jobs are owned by the company, you own your career! ~ E. Nightingale

Sure, someone could argue that being a part of a Union gives you job security, in which case, maybe you’re right. But what’s the price you put on yourself? Your time? Your effort? Should you earn the same amount as the next person… even if you work harder OR work better? Do you really not think a major issue with today’s Education system is having a teachers union? Does being a part of a union motivate you to do quality work? Remember I’m saying this as a teacher myself. There’s absolutely no way I could see myself, as a teacher, doing a quality job if I had absolute security that no matter the quality of work I put forth, I would be paid the same as the next guy and it would be incredibly difficult for me to lose my job. Ya right.

job security

How You Actually Get Job Security

Instead of focusing on joining a union, trading your worth for “security”, you should work on relevant skills. Having relevant skillsets in your arsenal means you will never run out of work. Think about it like this: Do you think as someone who teaches Social Dynamics I am concerned about losing my job? Not at all as long as I do a good job. I am employed by the people, not the system. Social skills will never go out of business. They will always be necessary.

Let me ask you a question: In the past two thousand years, how much has technology changed? Quite a bit, wouldn’t you agree? Ok, what about people? In the last two thousand years, how much have people changed? Wouldn’t you agree that answer: is not much? Throughout all the years, people haven’t changed much at all. So if you are able to develop relevant skills that people need and have always needed, there’s the job security you are looking for.

But that’s not all. As you focus on obtaining relevant skills, you should also focus on expanding your social network. Having a social network will also keep you employed. “It’s not what you know it’s who you know.” If you know people who know people, finding a job won’t be very difficult. Maybe that can even be your job. You just know a bunch of people and can refer your network amongst each other, grabbing referral cuts along the way.

“Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work.” -Aristotle

What do you think? Do you agree? Are you currently focusing on developing relevant skills and your social network? Are you passionate about your job? Let me know in the comments below. Let’s talk about this. It’s too important of a topic to stand on the sidelines.

About Cam
Cam Adair is a Motivational Speaker who dares you to live a life you're proud of. Watch his TEDx talks on Escaping Video Game Addiction and The Surprising Truth About Rejection. Follow him on Instagram. He is the Founder of Game Quitters, a support community for those who struggle with a gaming problem.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Sergey Raiter November 5, 2011 at 10:36 am

Hey Cam,

Just wanted to add. Most of the Canadians have no savings, that makes them virtually broke with any given salary. A lot of them will never quit their job, cause government pension is 1200$ at most and a lot of them used to live on more. I actually met a guy, who was looking for a job at age 71, cause he finished his savings in 6 years of retirement.
It all just shows how fucked up that mindset is. People are taught to look for safety, but they do not understand that the moment you stop improving yourself, you are done.

Cam November 5, 2011 at 5:41 pm

Hey Sergey! Thanks for commenting. I couldn’t agree more. I love your comment about how “the moment you stop improving yourself, you are done.” Great insight bro!

Michael Siarkowski November 7, 2011 at 6:52 pm

Hey Cam,

Have you considered the parallels between jobs and relationships? When you mentioned working on relative skills in terms of establishing and at least maintaining one’s position during employment, a connection I made in my mind was with relationships. From my experience, I feel that if you are always working on improving yourself and finding pathways in which you can bring value to a relationship (eg learning to sing, playing an instrument, taking dance classes with your partner, etc.), the other person in the relationship would (theoretically) never have a reason to leave the relationship as you are a purveyor and source of many kinds and combinations of unique value. I would like to add that this is just a theory or model to better understand “relationship/job security”, and I am not intending to convey any normative statements.

What are your thoughts on this?

Cam November 7, 2011 at 9:53 pm

Yo Michaellllllllllllll.

Yep that is definitely something I have considered greatly. It is my belief that by studying the most relevant skill out there (Social Dynamics), it will greatly increase the percentage chance you have of having a successful relationship, including to the degree of a healthy successful marriage.

I remember talking to Kevin on the phone one day and somehow I went into a rant about how everybody always says that (one of the reasons) relationships/marriages end is because “people change” causing people to grow apart. And I agree. But I don’t think it’s necessarily that they have grown apart and changed, causing the two people to no longer be able to be together. Well, that is actually true, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

I don’t think it’s necessarily that people change, it’s that their perception of value changes. As you grow, your perception of value changes. I think it’s less that people have changed/grown apart, and instead grown in different directions. As your perception of value changes, so does your life. The two are tied together greatly, at the hip, more than maybe we should talk about. (Think about this: If Life = Relationships, this means that you are a product of your relationships. Your relationships forms your environment, and the most important relationship of all is the one you have with yourself. Perception of value is what you use to determine the relationships you have (with yourself and with others), which forms your environment, which forms your Life, Life = Relationships.)

That’s why it’s my belief that if you study and successfully apply Social Dynamics, which dictates that you not only understand how to build relationships with anything, but also how to bring out the BEST in that thing as well, you have the best chance of having a happy marriage, and a happy life. I don’t think people understand that Social Dynamics also incorporates the latter – you understand how to bring out the best in anybody.

Think about this: Take a friend for example. If you understand the fundamental of a healthy relationship: that relationships are an exchange of value, and value is relative to the individual, and that the more value is exchanged, the greater the relationship grows (through the different stages of relationships), than it would only make sense to also assertive yourself in bringing out the BEST in that friend… because the better the person your friend is, the greater amount of value he has to offer – the greater the relationship. Win win win across the board.

I believe that growth happens in two forms: positive and negative. There’s growth that brings good, and growth that brings bad. So in theory, in a marriage for example, if you are both growing in the same direction (positive growth), than people changing would only be for the better. Your individual perception of value grows in positive ways, and so does your ability to understand the other persons perception of value. If a healthy relationship is an exchange of value, than taking into consideration everything I’ve just said, you two growing in the same positive direction only makes your relationship that much stronger, and making it successful.

To play devil’s advocate: I do believe in some cases two people would grow in the same direction but the relationship would still end.. In my best estimation, this would be a good thing for both people. It wouldn’t be that the relationship ends and now they never speak again. They merely go to a different level of relationship, such as from marriage to best friend for example.

Myke Macapinlac November 8, 2011 at 7:14 pm

Yo Brotato,
Just wanted to say it’s a SOLID article! This will be passed around <3
See you at the crib!

Cam November 8, 2011 at 9:49 pm

Thanks bro. I appreciate that dogg

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