Work-Life 8/31/2016

Job Security And Job Satisfaction: What's The Difference?

By Leslie Juvin-Acker

What is more important: Job Security or job satisfaction?

This is a very subjective question as some people believe job security is more important while others believe job satisfaction is more important. I’m going to approach it from a different way.

It doesn’t take an expert to tell you that nobody in the United States is offering job security anymore. No matter what kind of education you have whether it be engineering, accounting, journalism, nursing, history, or anthropology everyone is responsible for their own career development and depending on the economic environment, your job - even if you’re an excellent performer - is at risk.

Job Security Is Now About Bouncing Back From Job Loss

Retired pharmaceutical experts have admitted to me that getting a job right out of college, let alone with a degree and work experience, is not as simple as it was forty years ago. This doesn’t have to be scary. We just have to look at it in a different way. In this new way of looking at job security your ability to market yourself and get back to work as fast as possible is key.

It will behoove you to have skills that you can take regardless of industry such as accounting, writing, researching, analytical skills, negotiating in addition to job related skills whether you’re an computer engineer, auditor, editor, doctor, graphic designer, and so forth. Additionally, you must learn how to create results and share them with others in a concise manner. Then, don’t be a jerk at work and be someone people can rely on for good work. If you can do these basic things, if you get laid off or fired, you’ll be able to bounce back more quickly as opposed to someone who is unreliable, unmotivated, and lacks self awareness about their professional capabilities and contributions.

Choosing A Degree For Job Security? Not so fast.

If you’re asking me if you should get a degree in something you don’t like for the prospects of making a lot of money, then I’m concerned for you. There are a lot of people out there who get medical and law degrees for financial security, thinking little of the consequences their choices will bring. Sure, they may make bank, but not all of them are satisfied with the nature of their work.

If you get a degree as a part of a goal like my husband who got a bachelors and masters in materials engineering with a lamination/plastic expertise so that he could someday make snowboards and bindings as he did at one point in his career, then you may very well  need a degree you might not necessarily enjoy right now. A degree is not the end all, it’s simply a small part of who you are as a professional and it certainly does not define the ability to have job satisfaction.

Confusing Job Security and Financial Security

Even if you have a job you like, nobody can be satisfied if they believe they’re going to be laid off or if they can’t make money to make ends meet. We’re responsible for our ability to bounce back in the event of job loss and we’re most certainly responsible for the satisfaction we get by producing good results, building good relationships, and being a part of something bigger that we can enjoy.

If you’re confusing job security with financial security, then I suggest you talk with a financial adviser and get your finances in order. If you can live below your means and save cash, then you won’t need to worry about impending lay-off dooms. Today, people who enjoy their careers the most have developed the capacity to generate multiple income streams and have a great professional track record that invites people to come to them for collaboration or job opportunities.

Financial security, loosely translated, means financial freedom. How you choose to make money, rather than how you feel forced to make it helps in how you feel about your job and financial security. It helps to pursue what you enjoy and have the self-discipline to make difficult choices even when the nature of the job doesn't always seem enjoyable, fun, or safe.


Will A Job Make You Happy?

Will having a safe job or an enjoyable job make you happy? Not necessarily. I believe happy lives are a result of happy people.

You’re responsible for your own job security just as much as you are for your own job satisfaction. Can bad managers make life a living hell? Most certainly. Can digging ditches wear you out? Of course. Will your career ever be free of frustrations, anxieties, or worry? I highly doubt that. If we can accept that negative things will happen such as crappy managers, getting laid off, poor communication,  or doing boring jobs, then we can be more aware of how we respond to such situations by turning the negative into something positive.

Whatever is important to you, focus on it wholeheartedly. Don’t be afraid to look at you career from different perspectives as you creative a sense of security and satisfaction that’s right for you.