No job is permanent: 20 career-development pundits weigh in

This article is the result of a post I wrote recently, answering the question, “What was the best career advice you received from someone?” Currently, there are close to 84,800 views, more than 850 reactions, and more than 130 comments. I’ve compiled the best comments received from this post.

laid-off

Four years ago I was leading a LinkedIn workshop at a local community college. One of the members arrived early and was quietly working on his laptop. To start a conversation, I asked him why he was taking the workshop.

He responded by saying he was told he had to take it. You see, he really didn’t need it to find a job. Smugly he told me he worked for the City Mayor; he would never have to look for a job. I wasn’t going to debate with him about job security. My workshop was about to begin.

People were entering the room. The young man continued to work on his laptop and ignore what I was teaching.

Months after our conversation, when the City Mayor changed hands, I saw him working at a local coffee shop. I asked him how things were going. He responded by saying that he had lost his job.

What the career-development pundits have to say

“We have insurance for our homes and our cars, but not for our careers. Career development is like career-insurance. It’s having a plan in place, should, heaven forbid, you lose your steady income.Maureen McCann

“There is never job security. The first problem is that people see LinkedIn as just a job search tool. I start off my workshops stressing that LinkedIn is NOT a job search tool, but a career management tool.” Greg Johnson グレッグ ジョンソン

“…A great reason to etworking and helping others on their Journey. Do all of it for the right reasons but also know that strong social currency may be the down payment on your next big opportunity.

“The tough truth is that no job is truly safe, and no one’s employment future is set in stone. With so many variables beyond our purview—I advise clients to control what they can. We should always have a plan B. Period.” Virginia Franco

“And we career professionals aren’t immune either. I too was laid off, but I followed my own advice & got a new job long before my severance ended. It’s a hard lesson to learn though.” Edythe Richards

“One of the best things you can do for yourself—and your career—is to stay prepared, even if you feel comfortable in your job. Research, foster your network, keep your resume updated, and invest in professional development.” Adrienne Tom

“A recent lay-off caused me to face my pretense about “permanent” placement, and I now consider the full range of employment possibilities having let go of the self-importance that formerly kept my options self-limiting.” Justin Birnstihl

The parachute applies in cases especially like this. We should always be developing ourselves for inspiration, professionalism, but also in case we have to make a switch unexpectedly.” Sarah-Joy Kallos

“I’ve said many times that the jobs of the future are entrepreneurial in nature, yet our schools prepare us to be the same kind of employees they always have. With a little sense of business, we can see a layoff coming a mile away and be ready for it, including when it might impact us.” Phil Kasiecki

“I am always prepared to put my best foot forward in the workplace and continue to build my skills but also remember in the back of my mind that the job market is always changing and nothing is entitled to me.” Caitlin Outen

“A career search shouldn’t just be when you want/need a role. It should be part of your ongoing career strategy. Things like: ✅ Keeping a record of your career achievements. ✅ Keeping your CV up to date. ✅ Consistently building your networks. ✅ Establishing & maintaining a personal brand ✅ Using LinkedIn regularly for posting, establishing expertise and building connections.” Elaine Weir

“I read recently that 80% of people will lose their job at some point over their careers—and it is rarely ‘a good time.’ As Diana YK Chan, MBA coined, ‘You have to ABC—always be connecting’ and looking for the next opportunity.Sarah Johnston

“The good news is you are in charge of your own career: continually improving your skills and developing yourself, becoming an expert at something, delivering quality work, maintaining a strong reputation, building a solid internal and external network, etc.” Karine S. Touloumjian

“I suggest to any young person that they ought to continually work on developing their skills and adding to their toolkit…Also, work on a side hustle. I see a side hustle as an insurance policy in case the day job disappears. Lastly, networking is your best friend…Those seeds you plant bear good fruit for your soul and career.” Maisel Mazier

“Ideally, yes, where the business and the employee’s goals, aspirations, etc. align, it can be a great thing – but it doesn’t mean it’s forever….making connections, becoming more visible, and promoting your career when you don’t need to is far easier than having to do so when you’ve lost your job.” Barry Braunstein

“A recent lay-off caused me to face my pretense about ‘permanent’ placement, and I now consider the full range of employment possibilities having let go of the self-importance that formerly kept my options self-limiting.” Justin Birnstihl

“Had I not been proactive, this could have caused me great financial hardship. This is why you ALWAYS need to network, no matter how long you have been in a job. You just never know what will happen.” Shelly Piedmont, SPHR SHRM-SCP

“Think not just employment but go even further and envision the possibility of being an employer yourself! All the above can only be achieved with flexibility and open-mindedness.” Everline Griess

“It’s easier to stay ready than to get ready. Always prepare for your next opportunity as if you’ve already thrown your name in the hat for consideration.” Ashley Watkins

“I was laid off back in August and am proud that I had ‘packed a reserve parachute’ by way of savings and several side hustles as a website builder, marketing ghostwriter, and an EMT. It truly is up to the individual these days to write and stamp their own ticket.” James Finn


As a career coach and workshop facilitator, I see many people who tell me that they never saw their layoff coming. At 50-years-old and 30 years at the same company, they thought they would retire from their company. They never saw their layoff coming.

The majority of our career-development pundits say that staying ready while working is key to rebounding after losing one’s job. I like Maureen McCann’s term “Career Insurance” as describing the process of being prepared for the inevitable.

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Photo: Flickr, Martin Sharman