One of my fears was to leave my country and go to another country to learn about human development and technological entrepreneurship. I pointed out that this will imply into losing my current job and will affect my comfort levels (I was in the comfort zone).
From everything above, I’d like to highlight the word “losing” in “losing my job”, because today, 6 years later my immediate feeling when I read this word was not a feeling of loss but a feeling of winning. I might have been a losing situation for my forme employer, but for me, what initially seemed as a loss was indeed a win, but at that time I couldn’t recognize that. And I’m curious to explore why did that happen and happens from time-to-time still today with me and I bet with many other people as well. Why do we say “I’m afraid of losing my job” instead of “I’m afraid my current employers will Lose me”? Why do we have so low self-esteem and we see ourselves highly dependent on our jobs?
I’m not a scientist or an expert on this matter but I have my empirical knowledge that helped me to understand some perspectives or triggers that usually led us to think like that.
The first trigger or constraint to different thinking is without a doubt: Income. If your only source of income is what you get paid as a result of the work you provide to your employer, then you might think that if you can’t provide this work anymore you Lose your income, and that is what makes you state that you’re afraid of losing your job, when in reality you’re afraid of losing your income.
If you think about this topic, the only strong bond that ties you to your employer is your income. If you somehow make you less dependent on that, you’ll start seeing things differently.
Now let’s explore other perspectives that might establish a different mindset.
Companies don’t exist without employees. The levels of dependency might vary, but they’ll depend on your services provided by people in order to exist. So, you’re the most important asset for the company followed by the company’s product, which is also created by the services you provide. Just that should be enough to give you the frame you reference you need to see yourself as key for the organisation and your organisation should see yourself the same way as well. Because we’re now facing more and more shortage of workers, it’s becoming every year more and more clear that if companies don’t start treating people well they’ll lose, and will Lose badly.
Another perspective is that you own the skills you acquired, you worked hard to assimilate them, learn them, put them in practice in order to acquire experience, and this is the value you provide to the company you’re working for. The ability to use what you know to build the company’s vision. You’re renting your services to the company and the company is paying you in exchange for your knowledge. Let’s say the company don’t need or you don’t want to provide your services to this company. That’s a perfectly fine situation, looking just at this perspective, and you should see as a natural evolution of yourself. You’ll now use your skills to help other companies that will still need your services and will pay for it.
There are a few variables that might influence your ability to make these transitions easily. If you are a specialist in an area that it’s not in high demand or it’s a very specific area, you’ll probably won’t have too many companies in that area where you can move to. That becomes a constraint for you that that’s something you should evaluate how to mitigate in order to reduce its influence on your ability to stay dependent on your current company. Another variable would be if you’re entering the market. You might not have too much experience yet, that means your options might be limited as well. Age, industry, your personal situation, all are also variables involved in the equation of employability.
What about low skilled jobs? People should aim to improve their skills. They should not accommodate and don’t improve their skills. Governments should support them to improve either by subsidising training, supporting in career planning, and through better public policies that incentivise professional development alongside social support. And they should own the responsibility to improve themselves as well. Just waiting for a magical solution that will make you more valuable in the market won’t happen.
What can employers do to help? Stop exploring people as resources. We’re not resources anymore. We’re people and we need support to grow and be fairly treated otherwise “You’ll Lose me” because I’ll find a place where I do have such conditions.
What about high skilled jobs? People should not focus only on getting money, but focus on what they really want to do professionally and take advantage of this great situation to create the best version of themselves.
In summary, there’s always a way and something you can do without depending on anyone that will minimize the impact of constraints and potentialize the influence of variables, such as experience, domain knowledge. These actions might increase your chances of having a higher level of work mobility to a point where you can say “I’m afraid this company will Lose me” instead of “I’m afraid of losing my job”. Stop for a while and do some research on how to overcome fears, how to do career planning, how to do goal setting, etc. These tools might help you a lot to adjust your frame of reference around this topic.