With the economy in the sorry state it is in, these are questions we all ask ourselves far too often. Between news stories of big companies doing massive layoffs, outsourcing of jobs, and new technology making some jobs obsolete, it is enough to leave you in a constant whirlwind of anxiety and worry for your financial future.
There is a lot of information available about how to obtain a job, all of the way from filling out applications to interviewing skills, and even how to network. But there is almost no material available about how to keep your job when you get it!
That topic is what I am going to discuss with you.
There is one skill that will enable you stop asking the dreadful question "How secure is my employment" once and for all.
The secret of being immune to layoffs all starts with understanding one word:
In today's world, everyone knows something about everything, but very few people know everything about something. To survive in the world today, you really do need a working understanding of many different things, and all successful people dabble in all kinds of various topics.
But being a jack of all trades and a master of none means you are a lot like everyone else, and do you know what being like everyone else makes you?
To be successful and stable in today's world you need to become a specialist.
Have you ever had a problem at work and you knew the only person who could fix it?
Or have you ever had a question and you immediately knew who to call at work that could answer it?
Do you think that these people that came to mind are going to be laid off anytime soon?
These people are the specialists that I am talking about. They know so much about a topic that they have made themselves indispensable. If these people aren't at work and something goes wrong in their specialty area, no one else knows how to fix it. The system stops working. Do you think employers are going to let that happen?
These people are the gatekeepers of knowledge and skill in their specific area. How likely do you think it is that a company is going to fire the only person who has the key to the gate?
These are also the people that even when an entire company goes under, they have another job offer waiting almost instantly.
The reason for this is that these people fill an important need.
Employers notice specialists.
Specialists are extremely rare, and provide skills and knowledge that are otherwise unavailable, so employers tend to take care of them.
To secure your financial future you need to become a specialist in some area of your field. You must become the go-to guy for some specific area of expertise at your workplace.
There are 3 steps to becoming a specialist:
1) Take a look at your job field as a whole.
Regardless of what your job or career is, there are specialties that need to be filled. Find out what specialties are in high demand. Do your research and ask around, there is no point in specializing in a field that is highly competitive unless it is your passion.
There is an abundance of research and information available online in regards to schooling and specialty career paths. Take advantage of it and learn as much as you can about your options.
2) Take a look at your specific workplace
What are the available specialty positions at your workplace? Which of these are in high demand? Do your research on a local level. Ask your supervisors, coworkers and look around at other local companies similar to yours to find out what specialty fields are available and in need in your area.
Spend time talking to some of the people that are already in these positions to get an idea of the realistic job expectations.
3) Start mastering your specialty.
Using all of the information that you gathered from the first two steps, pick a specialty that interests you in your field and start gaining as much knowledge about your area as possible. Make sure the specialty interests you in some way, otherwise you will never keep interest long enough to to gain the knowledge you need to be an expert. Its all pointless if you get bored and quit learning about your specialty area, so find something that interests you.
Realize that it isn't always going to be clear cut what the specialties in your field are.
For example, in my line of work as a police officer, specialties aren't as clearly defined as in some careers. But even at my department we have officers that specialize in individual areas such as traffic, firearms, drugs, and crime scenes. There are also numerous detectives that each have their own specialty.
If your field does not have very clearly defined specialties then you need to pick the part of your work that interests you the most and pour yourself into it. Even if you don't end up specializing in this area at work, you will come to be known as an expert in this area, and it will make you much less expendable.
Employers are extremely reluctant to let go of people who are experts in a specific area that fills a need of the business. As I mentioned before, even in the unlikely event of the layoff, people with specialties are much better suited to regain employment because they have such little competition in their respective area of expertise.
The secret to being immune to layoffs is specialization, so find your area and start becoming an expert!
What do you think about the power of specialization?
|David Goettsch is a full time police officer in Ohio. He has a passion for personal development and is the creator of the self improvement blog: Personal Growth Project,. You can contact him through his website, his Facebook page, or his Twitter|
Photo Credit: Paul Nicholson