With the typical millennial changing careers every three years, the average number of career changes today has risen to eleven. I talk to millennials every day that are gaining great experience as they explore new working environments and learn new things, but most have no idea where they are going.  Many wander aimlessly from one career to another seeking the elusive “perfect job” that has “meaning” and “impact,” though they aren’t quite sure what that means.

On the flip-side, the concept of job security has long departed the typical work environment.  With underemployment and unemployment hovering between 6.2 and 7.1 Million in the US, organizations can afford to be very picky about who they hire…and let go. There is very little loyalty on either side of the equation with employee turnover costing US companies trillions of dollars, where its estimated that the cost of an employee leaving is 1-2X their annual salary. Job security has become an illusion who’s only reality now lies in the mind and actions of the individual employee.

What is job security? Job security is the perception that an individual is creating such a valuable impact in their work environment, that their probability of becoming unemployed is very low.  The illusion is that job security lies in the hands of your company or organization.  The reality is that job security lies in your hands, it’s your responsibility, and belongs to no one else.

So how can you, as individual, create job security? How can you, as an individual, ensure that your probability of unemployment remains very low for the foreseeable future?  The answer lies in personal development and career planning.

What is personal development and career planning?

A Personal Development Plan (PDP) is a plan of action specifically designed to develop your personal goals regarding personal development and career planning. We make plans every day, but do not always write them down. A PDP allows you to set personal goals and find the best way to achieve them. Integrating a career path into your PDP benefits both you and your organization.

The aim of creating a PDP is to document a process of self-analysis, personal reflection, and honest appraisal of your strengths and weaknesses. Relative to your career, this should enable you to evaluate the value of the experiences and training you have received, and to consider your future development options.

Why should you do a Personal Development Plan? Think back on the past year in your life. Do you feel like you made significant progress in life? Can you say that you grew as a person during the last year? Can you say you progressed in your career path? Or, did you catch yourself wasting important time on mindless activities or a career path that lead you nowhere? Do you know where you want to be in the future? Can you answer in detail where you see yourself in one year—or even in five or ten years? If you really want to ensure progress in your career or personal development, then writing a personal growth plan is the #1 thing you can do.

A PDP action plan will help you to visualize where you are going, what you are doing, and keep track of your achievements. To be totally effective, it must be a fluid document that is reviewed at regular intervals to ensure that it is always accurate, relevant, and realistic.

Many people just live life with little or no planning, so it is no surprise when they end up being frustrated or asking themselves “How did I end up here?  That’s why it’s important to prepare a plan in advance.  Most people plan their vacations with better care than they plan their lives or careers. Perhaps that is because escape is easier than change.  If you don’t think and plan in advance, you can easily end up being angry, frustrated, and unsatisfied with your life, and the worst case scenario…unemployed.

Once you start writing down what you want to achieve, you will increase your chances of becoming the person you want to be. The importance of planning is further highlighted by scientific research, which has shown that writing down goals significantly increases your chances of success.

A few things to consider:

  • Do you have a long-term plan for career path development?
  • Does your current job support your long-term plan for career path development?
  • Have you discussed your long-term career path development plans with your current employer?
  • Are there opportunities with your current employer to advance your long-term development plans?

5 Steps to Job Security through Personal Development Planning

  1. Take personal responsibility to work on a Personal Development Plan.
  2. Develop your Personal Development Plan to include a focus on eight areas; Spirit (purpose and meaning), Soul (mental, emotional, and intellectual), Body (physical), Family, Friends, Fun, Finances and Career.
  3. Share your Personal Development Plan with your employer seeking win-win opportunities.
  4. Focus on opportunities associated with advancing your Personal Development Plan.
  5. To maintain balance in life, invest 10% of your time and resources investing in the future and accomplishment of goals in your Personal Development Plan for success in life beyond your career path.

Mike McCausland-Founder-CEO

Mike McCausland

Founder and CEO, Leadership Institute For Entrepreneurs