Let others lead small lives, but not you. Let others argue over small things, but not you. Let others cry over small hurts, but not you. Let others leave their future in someone else’s hands, but not you.  – Jim Rohn

I love the last line of this quote, we should not leave our future in someone else’s hands. It reminds me of a meeting I attended when an executive posed an interesting perspective about the concept of job security.  He stated that job security is dependent on either the employer or the employee. Either one feels his/her employment prospects are tied to the health, and sometimes whims, of one’s current employer or one believes he/she has marketable skills and thus can find work outside of one’s current situation.

If one feels that his/her job security rests with the employer – then the employer has all the power in the relationship. The employee is subject to the development opportunities provided by the employer, raises given by the employer, the advancement options offered by the employer – one’s career options are dictated by the opportunities presented by the employer.

If one feels that his/her job security rests within one’s own control – one is talented and has developed the requisite skills and network of contacts to take his/her talents to another organization – the power rests in the hands of the employee.  If an employee experiences an inability for advancement due to a personnel logjam or management issues, he can opt to take another job at another organization. If an employee experiences dissatisfaction at development opportunities or compensation, she can opt to leave the current organization and find a new opportunity.

Believing your job security rests within your own control is a very powerful stance to assume when managing your career.  To truly have the power in the relationship, you have to be confident in your abilities and be willing to leave if a better opportunity presents itself.  I have witnessed several individuals where the power of job security rests within their control – two common traits among these individuals are an understanding and ability to communicate who they are (their brand) and being entrepreneurial in nature (willing to take a new path when presented). While they may not run their own businesses, they approach their careers as if they were launching a business by trying to find a niche that they can meet for a client.  In a sense, they themselves are the business in which is being launched and thus they need to develop a strong brand that will communicate who they are and what they can offer potential employers.

Food for thought – are your job prospects bound by your employer or by you?  If it is the latter,then you need to take charge of owning your career.  This means you are responsible of your development. You are responsible for your advancement. You are responsible for developing a network that will allow you to grow and act upon opportunities as they arise.


Kevin Monahan is the Associate Director of the Notre Dame Career Center.  In this role, he leads the center’s  employer relations efforts in addition to coaching young professionals in career management and career change capacities. He combines career consulting services with employer outreach to help find opportunities for both constituencies.  He is the author of the Career Seeker’s Guide blog.