The Fourth of July: Freedom

The 4th of July is a holiday in the U.S. that celebrates independence and freedom, where we declared independence from England.  From a 30,000 foot perspective, this was about a group of people saying “we don’t like this relationship, and we want to be free from, or independent of, you.”

Loss, pain and bloodshed was a big part of the transition.  People in the U.S. had to decide if they agreed with the declaration to become independent, and not have any ties (or be subordinate) to England.

It is a holiday celebrated with barbecues, fireworks, and late-night parties.  It has become a celebration of family and getting together, and not so much “yeah!  We’re free of those English, who oppressed us!”  There is actually hardly any talk of oppression, or any of that.  There is almost hardly any talk of what it means to be independent.

I want to bring the theme of the day into my theme of career management, which I became impassioned about back in 2006.

Before my layoff, I was dependent on employers. When I got “kicked out” (aka, laid off), I learned that what they had to offer me was temporary, and incomplete.

I am not here to bash on employers, or having a real or full-time job.  I want to bash on my apathetic attitude towards my own career management.  I lived under a “they will take care of me!” attitude.  As long as I did what “they” said, including getting a degree (which has less value now than it did in 1950), and developing a strong work ethic, etc., then I would have job security.

Security was the promise. I just had to show up and do my part.

But the promise was a lie.  We see that now more than in 2006.  No one believes in job security today.  But people still have an apathetic, almost victim mentality, towards career management.

Years ago I declared independence from my beliefs in a job.  I like the idea of a job.  I’m not against it. But no longer will I think that someone else will be responsible for 100% of my income.  I don’t think I can go anywhere and get “job security.”  I believe it is up to me…. I must keep the right skills up, I must align myself with the right companies and industries.  I must figure out my own revenue streams (whether that is one or ten).

Declaring independence back in 1776 didn’t mean you were automatically on the gravy train.  But those citizens cherished freedom and ability to act and think more than they cherished some supposed security.

Declaring independence from “job security” thinking will not be easy.  But I’ve seen, over the last eight years, what happens when people realize that they can be, and are, in control of their own career management.  It’s a beautiful, empowering place to be.

I’m not suggesting, or asking that you quit your job and abhor the idea of a traditional job.  They are there, and they can be great.  What I’m asking is that you change your thoughts on power and control, with regard to your career and money.  Who has that power?  Your boss, or you?  Who has control, your boss, or you?

Declare independence from victim, servant thinking when it comes to your career.  Do things that will give you more control, and eventually, more freedom.   I’m simply suggesting a change in your perspective (or attitude).

Consider the difference in these two thoughts/declarations:

I hate my job, but I can’t do anything about it. I can’t go anywhere.  I hope I don’t lose my job.

I hate my job but I know I can move on anytime I want (I guess I don’t hate it that much, if I’m still here!).  I know I can pay my bills by moving to another company, starting my own company, or __________________.

In the first, you are subservant to the company/circumstance/boss, and it is a dead-end, bleak situation.

In the second, you are still in a crappy situation, but you are not TRAPPED.  Knowing that there are other opportunities, and it’s just a matter of you deciding to take action, is freeing and empowering.

Are you ready to declare independence from bad career thinking?