As managers we have to clearly recognize – if we don’t already know it, that we are living in very changing and challenging times and that the rate of change is continually accelerating. Security and comfort in our management roles is now a thing of the past. In today’s knowledge era we must be totally focused on enhancing our own capability and market worth. This means we need a highly polished and prized set of up-to- date skills. Nowadays we never know when we might find ourselves in the wrong place at the wrong time. At the time of writing this book, a debate is taking place in economic and management circles as to whether j ob insecurity is any greater in the new millennium than it was ten years ago. Some commentators argue that it is not and that the job insecurity issue has been exaggerated. They argue that the so-called ‘psychological contract’ whereby employers and employees buy into the notion of fair pay and rewards for a fair day’s work is alive and well. But, be it a hostile takeover or major downturn in market activity, I would argue that no one is safe in corporate life and that the traditional contract is now void. The fact is that organizations always have and always will pursue their own aims and objectives, and in the majority of instances this necessitates individual needs taking a back seat. No matter how successful or secure an organization is you can never be sure that some other organization will not acquire you, dramatically enter and destabilize your market or simply innovate you out of existence. We therefore need to think not so much about our job security but rather our employability.
So, I would argue that we have actually reached the stage where loyalty is an almost, if not already, outmoded concept for organizational and corporate life. There are no longer great prizes for staying with one employer for any great length of time as you leave yourself open to sudden changes which can catch you off guard. Moving from one employer to another used to be described as job hopping but today it is seen as a sign of someone who is taking care of their development. Of course there is nothing wrong with staying with one employer for a long time provided that you are growing and developing your skills and experience. The time to begin questioning this approach is when you sense that you are not developing.
So being selfish and managing your skill set and employability is a prerequisite of survival in today’s corporate environment. The corporate world has never been a bigger jungle than it is today and taking action so as not to become another corporate victim is essential. If you ignore the need to develop your skill set, then you have only yourself to blame if events catch you out. The fact is we all need to get selfish and start thinking about our personal development in a big way. Remember, losing your job is no longer a capability issue – anyone can now find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time. However, this is not meant to frighten but rather to alert people and provide a call to action. Although I suspect that for many people simply discussing this issue is deeply uncomfortable. But rather than avoid the issue we need to begin to get used to it and start to think about our skills and development as a long-term investment – after all it is our own research and development base and if we neglect it our overall value and worth falls.