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Job Security: What you can control and not control.

Posted on: November 19th, 2013 by Pete Agur

ProPilotOne of the best things about being a professional pilot is that you get to fly using other people’s money.  That also means you don’t have total control over your own job security.

I recently received a call from an acquaintance.  He wanted me to find him a job.  He had been released from his most recent corporate flying position.  He told me what had happened.  In doing so, he unwittingly told me why he had been fired.  And why he will probably be fired from his next job, too.  Unless he changes the way he behaves.

When it comes to something as important as your career, consider the lesson of the common prayer:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

The courage to change the things I can,

And the wisdom to know the difference.

Said another way, it is critical for you to know what you cannot change, can influence and must control.

What you cannot change

You cannot change the success or future of the company for whom you work.  So, choose very carefully.  Even that may not be enough.  My wife endured two airline mergers before she pulled the plug on the industry she loved.  Corporate America is rife with company births, growth, mergers, acquisitions and failures.  In business, as in life, nothing is certain.

What you can influence

Professional aviation is a blend of leaders and managers, schedulers, maintainers, and flight crews working together to deliver the end service to its customers.  By being a great teammate you add to the success of the team.  Anything less reduces the team’s performance and raises your employment risks.

What you can control

The value you create as a direct result of your own performance and behaviors is fully within your own control.  If you do your own work well, you are seen as a positive person and help your team and organization succeed you will probably be seen as an invaluable member.

If you weaken the team by doing only the minimum (or less), offer mostly criticism and negative energy or don’t play well with others you will probably be seen as a liability.  For instance, as a business owner, I have had to fire top performers whose behaviors were unacceptable.

Some people mistakenly assume if they endear themselves to the passengers they can protect themselves from the consequences of otherwise poor performance.  But the Eddie Haskell’s of the world (folks who behave ideally when they are among adults but are rascals with their peers) are rarely long term survivors.  After all, time wounds all heels.

 In the end

You can only control you.  Your greatest job security is what you do and how you do it.  If you do your job very well, behave as a true professional, and help others you will have as much job security as you can hope for.  If your job does go away, you probably won’t need me to help you find the next one.


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