JOB SECURITY and SATISFACTION UNDER SIEGE
IN TODAY’S high-pressure world of global markets, cutthroat competition, and mass production, many people do not look forward to going to work each day. “I was frightened about the future when our small family business went bankrupt,” confesses Jonathan. “Because of an economic crisis, 20 years of hard work came to nothing. My wife and I started arguing about money. We couldn’t even buy with a credit card, for fear it would not be honored. Unfortunately, this scenario is being played out all too often.
People were made to work, in fact, “THE right to work” is fundamental to all humans, according to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, issued by the United Nations. Statistics show that this is not always guaranteed. Job security is subject to many things — from the health of local economies to the state of the global market. Nevertheless, when employment is lost or threatened, demonstrations, riots, and strikes often follow. I am hard-pressed to think of any country or institution that is immune. Even the word “work,” said one writer, “is, as it has always been, an emotionally charged word.”
Work is important to us for many reasons. Besides providing us with income, it contributes to and protects our mental and emotional well-being. Work satisfies the human desire to be a productive member of society and to have a purpose in life. It also engenders within us a measure of self-respect and when this is threatened or taken away, we can easily lose our emotional balance. Some people have more than enough money to care for their needs or are eligible for retirement prefer to continue working, you’ve spoken to them when you summoned Uber or Lyft, and they will often tell you that they need something to do. Yes, work is so important that the lack of it usually invites serious social problems.
On the other hand, there are those who have a job but face so many pressures at work that they lose their job satisfaction. (see my post “Do You Work with a Devil”) For instance, because of today’s highly competitive market, an increasing number of companies have trimmed their staff in order to cut expenses. This may place additional demands on the remaining employees, who may thus have to carry an extra load. This can be extremely challenging to manage.
High tech is supposed to make life easier and work more efficient, but in many cases may have added to the pressures in the workplace. For example, the Internet has allowed people the option of taking their work home at day’s end, people work 8 hours at the office and when home they VPN into the corporate network and log even more hours thus blurring the line between home and office. Tools monitor when you log in, how productive you are, cell phone usage and on and on… its akin to an electronic leash and collar.
A growing fear that many older people have in our rapidly changing economic and work environment is that of being viewed as obsolete before their time. In this regard, former Human Rights Commissioner Chris Sidoti stated: “There seem to be stereotypes that unless you are under 40, you’re not going to cope with computers and new technology.” Hence, many good workers who would previously have been viewed as being in the prime of life are nowadays deemed too old to be useful. This is terrible!
The work ethic and loyalty to the company have taken a beating in recent years. Corporations will throw people overboard at the slightest blip of the stock market. Corporate loyalty is a thing of the past. A culture of deep selfishness has arisen as people have to work, of course, but they do it for themselves, not for the company.
In spite of these growing issues, the basic human need to work continues. So in these rapidly changing times we find ourselves in, how can we deal with this onslaught and, at the same time, maintain a sense of security and job satisfaction?
Always Take a Pragmatic Approach
Unlike in times past, jobs don’t last forever. There is an expiration date stamped on all of us. Take a “selfie” and imagine yourself separated from your present company and prepare for that inevitable day. Build a solid network, get out and meet people, utilize social networking and to the best of your ability maintain good relations with your present employer, you never know — you may be consulting for them at some point in the future. Avoid the tendency to isolate yourself, people need people. If you’re an introvert, work hard and become good at the process of meeting and getting to know and allowing people to know you.
Live within your means. On an individual level, many are tempted to want the things that their neighbors flaunt. This can be a trap. Maybe the neighbor cannot really afford them either. Why follow someone else in his foolishness and end up in financial trouble? Setting your eyes on lobster and fine wine when all you can afford is dried fish and water can easily lead to financial ruin. Nearly a third of the people in the Philippines and over half of those in India live below the poverty line for Asia, which is about $1.35 (U.S.) per day. When people have such meager income, it is the course of wisdom to focus on the basics. However, even in the USA, the same principle can help keep people out of a lot of financial trouble.
Keep in mind that you’re not the first person to ever suffer a financial reverse, If tragedy strikes, then tragedy strikes it’s not the end of the world. What is done is done, remember, its only money, you lost it but it can be regained as well. Stay positive. Be sure to discuss your situation with your loved ones and keep them abreast as to how you’re doing, be honest and solicit their thoughts if you feel that they can offer meaningful suggestions. Remember, don’t place too much importance on material possessions. Ask for help. Pride has its place, but this is not the time to avoid seeking sound counsel. Learning now to adjust to life’s challenges will serve you well.
While important, our job should not define who we are nor should it shape our identity. It is simply a means to care for ourselves and our loved ones. Continue to face life’s challenges with courage and insight and when you experience a loss of job and security, you won’t lose your mind.