Over a third of workers surveyed by a Gallop poll in 2013 were fearful of losing their jobs. This number is even more pronounced when social media is factored into the equation, whereby news of company-wide layoffs perpetuates this anxiety.
The effects are self-fulfilling, unfortunately. It has been studied and scientifically proven that fear and anxiety of losing one’s job causes both physical and mental health issues, increases burnout, reduces job and life satisfaction, and decreases work performance. In fact, it has been shown that most workers will not report injuries, take sick leave, or seek counselling fearing that these activities will bring attention to their inabilities to perform – NY Times
These are the workers that you see doing things that scream “I’m valuable, please don’t fire me!” They are the ones that arrive early, stay late (for no reason), send emails late at night when they could have easily responded during working hours, speak up during meetings without any value to add, make-work projects instigator (ie. in the form of adding more process and red tape), kiss up to superiors (ie. giggled like a teenager at boss’ lame jokes), run around the office in constant panic (ie. looking busy and important), throwing teammates under the bus to protect themselves, etc. Fear of losing one’s job turns employees into attention-seeking but under-performing people with less than desirable traits.
The average worker only stays at their jobs for 4.4 years according to the Bureau of Labor. If fact, Millennials are even less likely to stay at one job for more than 3 years, according to Future Workplace.
Life would be so perfect if leaving a job was on our own terms, but often it isn’t. After 2008, we have seen a large spike in temp workers and contract workers. The corporate world has changed significantly and what previous generations had enjoyed in terms of long-term security is not something we can depend on for our salvation today.
I was on LinkedIn the other day and saw a job posting that was tagged “Full-Time, Permanent.” I had a good chuckle. “Full-time” is true when you are expected to give all your heart and soul to your job, but “Permanent” is never further from fact.
Take matters into your own hands, control your own outcome. Here are a three steps to get started, immediately:
1. Get a Second Life: Your job is not you and not your life. If you love your job, fine, but always have plan B. Look for other ways to add another income stream.
2. Expand Your Knowledge: Instead of lounging and NetFlix & Chill every day after work and on weekends. Look for ways to increase your skills. Whether these skills are within your current industry or new skills that will allow you to expand your market value or even something that will allow you immediate income.
3. Be Relentless: People often give up too early. They give up because it rained, they give up because football is on, they give up because they have to pick up kids – there are always excuses to give up and give in and be totally enslaved to our jobs. Just know that strength is built when you put one foot in front of the other. Small steps, each day, be relentless.
Do these three things and the fear and anxiety of job loss will ease and eventually disappear. You want to be at your job for the right reasons, not because you have to. Live Free.
Neo B. Concio, Author: “The Millionaire Employee: Simple Steps to Freedom”
Image: Designed by Dooder / Freepik