The fallacy of the "safe job."

A comment in a recent Facebook thread lauded the author of the update on a new job he'd just landed. While sharing excitement and congrats over someone's landing a new position is always gracious, the actual message gave me pause:

"Way to go! Finally, a safe job! An 8-to-5 gig with benefits, vacation time, the whole nine yards!"

A safe job. What exactly is that in today's wobbly, slow-to-recover economy?

It's a fallacy.

What's more? That proverbial safe job is not coming back. Not in our lifetimes, probably not ever.

Our parents and grandparents? They had ladders they could climb, often at one company. Their jobs came with neat little gifts and acknowledgements with each milestone. They came with benefits and vacation time. They came with loyalty on the parts of their employers.

They came with safety.

But you know what? Many of these jobs also required a serious amount of ass kissing to the person or people who controlled that worker's career path. Some required working in extremely monotonous spots, for years on end, in the name of safety.

And unfortunately, remaining plopped in one little safe job for decades sometimes resulted in a slow, yet incredibly debilitating, atrophy of skills and personal growth.

Today, the only "safe" bet for every working human is this:

  1. Keep your skills strong and current
  2. Understand that your network MUST be strong, and you MUST leverage it throughout your career
  3. Use your career transitions, forced or voluntary, as means to become more adaptable, well-rounded and resilient
  4. Manage your money - And this means, "live WELL within your means"
  5. Strive to land an amazing, meaningful and fulfilling job, not a "safe" one
  6. Take radical responsibility for your own career and career fulfillment. Do not hand this over to anyone, not ever.

If you accept and embrace the fallacy of the safe job, you will be best prepared to strategize your career path, weather rocky patches as it unfolds, and enjoy the exhiliration that comes from creating your own map.