We all have a core desire to keep ourselves and those we love safe and secure. We yearn for consistency. Stability. A guarantee. We’d like to avoid suffering the pain of injury or loss. We want to know that everything’s going to be alright.
Career choices are not immune to this drive. In fact, a large element of our careers is the level of security they provide.
For example, some industries are evergreen, with consistently solid job prospects. Other types of work face boom and bust cycles. Then there’s the type of employment you pursue- full-time employee, contractor, freelance worker, or entrepreneur. Each type of employment has a varying level of stability.
Some of us may consciously choose a career path because of the element of security it provides. Others may neglect to consider the security factor at all and only later recognize the repercussions of their choices.
The more I sat with this idea of security, the more I realized that there are two contradictory things that I know for sure about security and careers.
The first is that no career path can provide you with security. No job is guaranteed. A steady paycheck will not ward off all calamities. Additionally, it’s possible to feel insecure anywhere, even in a ‘secure’ job.
The second thing I know is that our careers can provide us with security. They can be a means by which we store up reserves in case of a rainy day. They can give us health insurance and retirement plans. Careers can be a place for us to grow into more confident and capable versions of ourselves, increasing our self assurance.
Sometimes in our dogged pursuit of security and staying safe we can forget that this is life- that it is meant to be lived. We perceive danger that may be nothing more than our own imagination. We forget that the sky will not fall when we step away from our familiar comforts.
And sometimes in our fervent desire for freedom or passion we can neglect the kindness of taking care of ourselves. We might feel frightened about losing control or settling. But we begin to yearn for more predictability and for greater financial freedom.
Each of us is dancing with an element of security in our careers. Is your current level of security too small, too large, or just right? The trick is to find a level that works for you.
Have you ever thought about the level of security in your career? Do you make career choices based on this element? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!
You make an excellent point about that fine balance between enough security and enough freedom. I definitely get.caught up in that!
I’m slowly working toward a degree while working full time at a job I don’t love, but that has many benefits. Sometimes I feel stifled but I know that some time in the future, I’ll be able to change directions. In the meantime, I’m funding my retirement and my life! :). I guess for me the key is that I can see the reasons to be where I am at this moment.
Thanks for your thoughtful comment Sue! I’m sure your story will resonate with a lot of people.
Taylor Brione says
I don’t think a career can keep you safe. And I’m learning first hand right now that a job is only a job. You can be gainfully employed and in the unemployment line the next. It is important to save your money and also always have a side gig that you are good at, whether it be photography or logo design, those little gigs can come in handy. Thanks for sharing
Great point about having savings and a plan B! Thanks for stopping by and sharing your perspective Taylor.