5 Survival Strategies for a Post-Job-Security World

Last Updated Oct 14, 2010 2:52 PM EDT

Job security is a thing of the past and employee loyalty is dead according to pundits, so where does that leave ambitious young people who want a career, but don't want to suffer stress-related ulcers by the age of 30? The new realities demand new strategies for how to weather storms and sail into your professional future on an even keel.

You can't rely on a company to take care of you, so what should you bank on? According to U.S. News & World Report's Alpha Consumer blog, bank on yourself. In the post author Kimberly Palmer offers five tips to ensure that, in a world without job security, you can still have financial security:

  • Invest in yourself. Professional coaching can turn you into the star podcaster you've dreamed of becoming, or it can teach you how to be a better leader. Sometimes a career coach or development course can help you get "unstuck" from a career rut. Talk about your goals for the session ahead of time to make sure you get what you want out of it. (The price of one-on-one coaching typically starts at around $200 an hour.) Less formal advice can come from meeting with more experienced colleagues and mentors over lunch or coffee.
  • Raise your rates. Chances are you're not getting paid as much as you're worth. Do some research on salary comparison websites, such as salary.com or payscale.com. If the estimates seem way off base -- which they can be, especially if you have an unusual job -- then dig deeper. If you're close to a coworker, then ask that person what he or she thinks the pay range should be for a variety of jobs at your workplace to get a sense of how you stack up. If more than a year has passed since your last pay increase -- or if you discover that you are underpaid compared to your peers -- then it's time to make your case.
  • Get a second (or third) job. Diversifying your income is the best way to create job stability. Could you start selling your crafty inventions on etsy.com? Or do you have an unusual skill, such as woodworking, that you could advertise on Craigslist.org? Make a list of all of the ways that you could earn money outside of your current job. Then, pick an item on your list and get started, perhaps with a small step such as purchasing a domain name.
  • Fly solo. When Tim Bradley, 29, and his wife, Anne Morrison Bradley, 27, started brainstorming about the kind of business they could start, they thought about what they love. They settled on two things: their dogs, and design. They hired a graphic designer, formed a company, and built their website, for a total start-up cost of around $5,000. By the end of the first month, The Premium Pet had already made its first $1,000 of sales revenue. While both Tim and Anne are holding onto their day jobs for now, they now have a backup plan -- and a dream for one day making it their full-time job.
  • Free up your time and energy by outsourcing chores. Think of money spent on a cleaning service or getting your groceries delivered as investments in your career, because they free up more time (and energy) for you to focus on your day (or night) job. Instead of vacuuming the living room, consider scheduling a creativity session: block out an hour to dedicate to exposing your mind to new ideas.
(Photo courtesy of Flickr user 29cm, CC 2.0)
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    Jessica lives in London where she works as a freelance writer with interests in green business and tech, management, and marketing.