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Your employer is not your friend. Here’s what you need to know

Even if you do find a job that offers a degree of permanence, career advisors warn that it isn’t wise to grow complacent

In an era of developing world outsourcing, competitively-timed budget cuts and redundancies, it makes sense to keep in mind that your employer is not your friend.

You have probably heard it said that the days of the job for life are over. Career change statistics say that the average worker in the 21st century is likely to have 5-7 careers and at least 10 jobs before they get to the age of 42. It is difficult to find the same levels of job security your grandparents could guarantee, even when it comes to public sector employment.

Think of yourself as a resource

That’s the way your company sees you anyway. Although you would like to believe that you were hired for more than enhancing the company’s bottom-line, it doesn’t take much to learn otherwise. One way to verify this is to note the difference between the notice period you must give to leave your job and that of your employer. Many employers reserve the right to terminate your employment immediately under certain conditions.

Another place to look if you are still in doubt about your status as human capital is at your company’s Human Resources department. When you get to the bottom as to why they exist and who they actually protect, you will discover that HR manages employees to protect the company from unwanted lawsuits, additional costs and issues that would undermine productivity.

Once you are clear that, as an employee, you exist as a resource for the company you work for, use this to your advantage.

Keep your skills up-to-date and continually nurture new career prospects.

Employees who ensure that they have another employment option in their “back pockets” are more satisfied on the job, say career specialists. Knowing that your skills are in demand makes you unafraid to express yourself and happier in general.

Even if you are in a new role, it still makes sense to have other prospects. Probation periods and the informal rule of job cuts, that the last one in is the first one out, make this consideration sensible rather than paranoid.

Build a professional network that makes it easy to stay abreast of new opportunities.

Your old colleagues are more than just an opportunity for a good catch-up and a night out. Create symbiotic relationships which mean that you are as valuable to your network as they are to you.

When your job is a choice rather than a necessity, you do what you can to resolve conflict at work, and draw a line underneath what is unacceptable. Fine-tuning your resourcefulness and maintaining your professional reputation gives you reliable control over your long-term career success.

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