Question: What is one of the biggest search criteria on the minds of employees and job seekers?
In recent decades, stability was thought to be found in an employer. Employer dimensions including size, market share, revenues, technology and company longevity, in a given market, were all metrics that gave employees and job seekers that “warm and fuzzy” delusion of continuous paychecks and funded pensions.
In more recent years, and for the foreseeable future, stability is no longer found in an employer. While it is true that an employer can and should add to an employee’s skill sets which help drive “employability”, stability is increasingly found in one’s network and “skill set”. I define “skill set” to include factors like work ethic, intelligence, work history, accomplishments, relevancy to a particular market and other factors that encompass a holistic view of an employee. In stability of employment, today’s primary determinant is “employability” and “employability”, simply put, is the ability to quickly be hired by alternate employers or become self-employed.
When considering present employment and whether to switch employers, many people I speak with contemplate company stability in terms of whether a company will be sold or merged. This is fair since M&A often happens with great frequency for successful companies. While most people wouldn’t make a move knowing a change of control in a new employer is imminent, being held hostage to the “what if’s” isn’t the best method of analysis in today’s market.
The correct question is: What does my resume look like WHEN my company is sold in Year1, Year2 and so forth? By resume, I mean potential for new accomplishments, new work content, my new skills gleaned, etc. ASSUME that the sale will occur in this example. What tangible new skills have I acquired? What connections have I made and what doors are opening, as a result? What does the market look like for the new me “X” years from now? Then, compare answers to these questions to your existing resume forecast “X” years from now at your present employer. Present value analysis is used in the valuation of financials. Let’s use it to consider our career paths, as well!
Many entrepreneurs know that, if they are successful, they actually work themselves out of a job. “Unemployment” is the inevitable conclusion to a successful venture. Entrepreneurs also know that, if successful, the sphere of influence and “skill set” they have created will continue to support them through a transition into other opportunities. There is even a term for this type of individual; “serial entrepreneur”.
All employees would do well to consider themselves as entrepreneurs of sorts. Employers are not in charge of how one’s resume looks at any point in time; Employees are.