shutterstock_203140399SINCE I AM WRITING THIS ON THE FOURTH OF JULY I GOT TO THINKING ABOUT THE WHOLE CONCEPT OF INDEPENDENCE, and specifically, about the true meaning behind our country’s Independence Day. It’s not just about the cookouts or the fireworks displays. Nor is it about having another long weekend. Rather, in essence, it’s about how our fledgling country, in 1776, finally said NO MORE! to having its destiny so tightly controlled by others and therefore declared its independence.

Not to put too fine a point on it, or to draw unrealistic or overblown parallels and analogies, that got me to thinking about the millions of currently employed people who say, in major survey after major survey, that they have a high level of dissatisfaction with their current job and would jump at the chance of getting a new, more fulfilling, more rewarding position. Apparently, given the opportunity, many of these men and women may ultimately decide to declare their own special type of “independence”—their career independence!

Maybe you can count yourself among this group.

Most people are willing to work together as a group to accomplish common goals—as long as they feel they retain at least some control over their own destiny. The workplace offers a prime example of where this is true. But, if and when it becomes abundantly clear that they have little or no genuine control over their own lives, and in the case of the workplace, their own careers, then the time certainly can become ripe for another type of “revolution,” a time when employees finally say NO MORE! and begin to search out other career opportunities.


During the Great Recession, when layoffs and downsizings were occurring with frightening regularity and chilling frequency, if you were fortunate enough to keep your job, you quite probably kept your head down, your nose clean and definitely to the grindstone. Were most companies grateful for their employees’ dedication and commitment during these trying times? Well, not exactly.

Here was the usual “pay-off” to many employees who could count themselves among the “survivors” during the Great Recession:

  • They were consistently and continually reminded of how “lucky” they were to still have a job, when so many of their fellow employees had already lost theirs.
  • Usually, they were called upon to “take up the slack” created by layoffs and outright job losses, which meant they easily could end up doing the job of two (or more) people—all for no additional compensation.
  • Not only did they oftentimes get no respect for their increased contributions and solid commitment to the survival of their employers, many times they actually were dis-respected!

Does any of this accurately describe your recent career experiences? If so, chances are, you may be ready to declare your career independence and start taking full control of your own career. However, you, like many men and women who find themselves in a similar situation, may be unsure about how, exactly, to go about accomplishing that. Read on!


If you were indeed among the “survivors” during the Great Recession, you likely have much more to offer than you may think or realize. And this, of course, is what you must specify, quantify and then sell to potential employers, in order to advance your stalled career, if that’s indeed how you would describe your career at this point.

Although there definitely may be exceptions, it’s important to keep this in mind: Most companies didn’t retain certain employees during the very trying days of the Great Recession out of the kindness of their hearts, or because they felt “sorry” for these employees! Rather, among other reasons, these employees kept their jobs primarily because they . . .

  • Usually filled key roles/positions that were critical to the very survival of the company.
  • Demonstrated that they could categorically and without exception be depended upon to keep the operation running until, it was hoped, better, more prosperous times returned.
  • Had skill sets and invaluable experience that the company realized it absolutely had to retain, in order to stay competitive in a topsy-turvy, increasingly challenging and rapidly changing marketplace.


While the really smart companies, which tended to be the market leaders, did indeed wield the axe during the Great Recession, they typically used a little more finesse and genuine human consideration than many companies. Perhaps you are lucky enough to be associated with one of these companies. If that’s the case, then you may have little if any reason to even consider declaring career independence because you may believe you were (and are!) treated fairly and that’s GREAT!

On the other hand, if your experience with your current (or former) employer during the hard times has essentially eroded your confidence and trust, then it may indeed be time for you to declare your career independence. You obviously have seen—and experienced first hand—what the end result usually is when you allow someone other than yourself or some company to control and dictate the direction and progress of your career.

As always, the choice you ultimately make is entirely up to you! Just be sure you choose carefully and wisely.


This post is based in part on career management information and advice featured in Career Stalled? How to Get YOUR Career Back in HIGH Gear and Land the Job You Deserve—Your DREAM Job!, professional “headhunter” and bestselling job-hunting book author Skip Freeman’s NEW book in the “Headhunter” Hiring Secrets Series of Career Development & Management Publications.


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