Being Insecure about your job means unpredictable employment. After years in unstable jobs, many people may suffer job insecurity. Not everything is awful. Job uncertainty affects your career and the workforce.
Job insecurity happens when a worker believes their job is unstable. Job security is the counterpart of job insecurity. Objective or subjective job insecurity doesn’t matter much. Job uncertainty causes stress, worry, and mental and physical health issues despite job loss.
Seasonal labor may cause insecurities due to the uncertainness. You may obtain a job right before the holidays but it is common that once that rush is over, they lay you off; or you may earn high money as a swim teacher at a resort during the summer, but unless you work in a tropical region, the position may terminate at the end of the season.
Chronic and acute job instability exist. If you think you’ll be laid off in a few weeks, you’re in severe job insecurity. If your firm is performing well, your manager appears content with your performance, and your industry is prone to layoffs, you are feeling chronic job insecurity.
Most Americans operate under the latter kind. Private-sector employees in 49 states and the District of Columbia are at will unless they have a contract. After a probationary period, only Montana requires employers to show “good cause” for firing workers. In most states, employees may be fired without warning or explanation for nearly any cause.
Your employer cannot terminate you for discriminatory reasons, even if you are at-will.
Sex, pregnancy, race, religion, national origin, genetic information, and age are federally protected (40 and older). Your employer cannot fire you to retaliate for a discrimination complaint.
Status loss is another sort of employment uncertainty. Say your firm is reorganizing. You keep your employment but are moved to a less rewarding or goal-aligned department. The new employment may be lower-paying or less-progressive.
Although less financially stressful than leaving your work, job instability may sap job satisfaction and engagement.
Job instability may harm employees’ emotional and physical health. Job instability is linked to heart disease, diabetes, ulcers, migraines, back pain, and sleeplessness. Insecure employees also smoke more.
Even the notion of job uncertainty may harm employees, according to research. Researchers blame a lack of support and coping methods. Thus, if you are laid off, you may know what to do—contact HR, inquire about severance or training, investigate unemployment benefits, etc. If you merely believe your job is vulnerable, you may not know what to do.
Security vs. Insecurity
Job security implies a guaranteed job at the same organization. Some businesses and occupations provide unusual job security for the present workplace. These include government, union, and contract work.
Most private-sector jobs are unstable, meaning they are not guaranteed.
If you work in a declining sector or for a struggling firm, you may feel increased job insecurity. Startups are risky yet rewarding.
Some organizational factors prioritize short-term success above employee permanence.
A rising number of workers may face job instability. Freelancers, contractors, and entrepreneurs may work with clients instead of employers. Depending on customer volume, these self-employed professionals may not be able to scale up or down their firm.
Handling Job Insecurity
Job uncertainty is probable unless you work for the government or a union. It’s better to accept it and plan.
Self-loyalty, not employer: Even if you love your job, team, and corporate goal, realize that few U.S. employees remain at the same firm for many years. Keep your resume, talents, and eyes and ears alert for employment openings and layoff warnings.
Target safer options: Can’t handle uncertainty? Secure your career. Try government, union-backed, or long-term employers.
Research in-demand skills: Add these talents. A popular talent or qualification may not help you maintain a job, but it will help you find a new one.
Job insecurity is a worker’s uncertainty—real or perceived—about their job.
Most private-sector U.S. workers are at-will, meaning their employers may terminate them without warning for nearly any reason.
Be loyal to yourself, not the company, pursue more secure possibilities, and study and acquire in-demand skills to prevent job uncertainty.
With the “great resignation”, job insecurity is at an all time high. For tips on searching for employment during this time read “Job Searching Tips During the Great Resignation”.