16 January 2009, by A. Cedilla
Today’s economy is characterized by is a lot of insecurity in the workplace. People are vividly, painfully aware of the fact that job security is now really a thing of the past. Some have replaced job security with the idea of employment security.
Employment security is a concept that states that if you concern yourself with being a valuable person and employee, someone who is of value to an employer, you may not be guaranteed to keep your job but you will most certainly be able to get another one.
To a large extent this will probably hold up in many situations. However it still assumes an employer – employee relationship.
The original relationship between the employer and the employee will probably be around for a long time. However in the future it will not be as commonplace as it is today.
People who used to work in a single department in a single function for most of their professional lives are now getting used to working more on a project by project basis. In most situations they are still on the same company’s payroll, however this is already starting to change.
Many employers are starting to outsource some of the work that was traditionally performed by employees to freelancers and small businesses. The disadvantages of having people on the payroll are starting to weigh in on their hiring decisions. With today’s high speed of technological change the necessary expertise to perform certain functions can literally change from year to year.
In some areas it’s even more extreme. In many of these cases it’s simply easier and cheaper to hire different people on a limited time basis instead of continuously having one employee trying to keep up with all the different tricks of the trade.
This trend will have far-reaching consequences for today’s workforce. Even the more experienced employees will have to stay sharp. They can’t sit on their laurels anymore because they will continuously have to prove their worth in new situations, more now than ever before.
Some consider this a huge threat to their career. The truth is, they probably should. Then again, some seem to be adapting to this phenomenon by looking at the opportunity that this brings them.
More and more people today are starting their own part-time businesses. Many do this while still working on their day job, either full- or part-time.
Scott Adams, author of the famous Dilbert comic, identifies this trend in his book “The Dilbert Future”. He claims this trend will become more prevalent in the years to come. Many of these newborn entrepreneurs start businesses that perform a function that was formerly performed by an employee. Sometimes people even come back to their original employer who has now become their customer.
Everybody knows running your own business can make you more money. There are a number of reasons for this.
Of course you are probably more motivated and more results oriented than you would be working for someone else. You can also control your overhead better. Larger companies are not as efficient as they should be in many areas. Company policy sometimes drives up operating costs significantly.
Certain companies hand out cell phones and laptops to all employees without taking proper notice of the need for such items. Also employees are less aware of many costs and business expenses. The bottom line is simply not a priority for them. If they had to pay for everything out of their own pocket this would probably be very different.
The fact is: when you are in your own business you have to keep a very close eye on your bottom line or you’ll probably be out of business in no time.
This raises questions for many people who currently hold a job as well as the people they work for. Which functions will continue to be performed by employees and which jobs will be outsourced? It would be hard if not impossible to make an easy distinction at this point.
Some companies may choose to retain employees for the same jobs that are outsourced by other companies. Each may have their reasons and who’s to say what’s right. It will depend on many different factors like: the importance of the job for that particular business, the ability to attract the right people and the company’s culture. Nobody could accurately predict what the situation will be ten to fifteen years from today.
One thing is for sure though: for many of us it will be vastly different from our current situation. The question is: Are you ready for it?
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