There is no such thing as a job security. You can trust my word on this, because I worked for one of the most stable employers in the world, the U.S. federal government, during 2007–2008, and had seen a lot of bright software engineers, analysts, technical writers, quality assurance engineers, and project managers let go due to the market downturn and budget cuts. Startups and private corporations are even more brutal. They won’t even give you a two-week notice! I know of a company that fired its lead software engineer with just ONE hour of notice… poor fellow didn’t expect it at all when he was coming to work in the morning just to go back home for the rest of the day right away!
Are you sure your job is secure and that you will be able to continue to provide for your kids? Anything can happen, even if you do a great job and your boss is happy. For example, a competitor might move into a space and disrupt your employer’s revenues. Or someone way up in the company chain-of-command could decide to close your project for political reasons. Sadly, rank and file employees are just pawns. But there’s a way to turn that around!
Oh, and if you’ve read your employment contract carefully, most companies can fire you without stating any reason. It’s called employment at will.
However, there’s a secret trick that you can pull out of your sleeves. Only a select circle of people know and use it… and it’s not working long hours or playing company politics!
I have talked with many employers, and this is one of the ugliest secrets of Silicon Valley: Everyone wants an A player/ninja/guru/superhero! I think there’s a place for all levels of expertise, but sadly, business culture dictates this hire-only-the-best-fire-the-rest trend both to startups and large companies. But you can make it work in your favor. :-)
Here’s “the secret” to never worry about job security again (which is not really a secret because it’s so obvious that we ignore it). The advice I want to give you is to become a thought leader in your niche, because this will make you “a hot commodity” and you will have more employment options than ever before. It might even happen that, in the “unfortunate” event that you’re let go, the new gig will be more lucrative, and offer more perks and free time!
The best way to become an expert and a thought leader is to thoroughly research a topic and then publish a book on it. Since I published my first book, recruiters from Twitter, Google, Facebook, Amazon, and other great companies try to lure me into interviewing with them… and my experience is not an exception! I’m sure that authors like Alex MacCaw, or Reg “Raganwald” Braithwaite have found their dream jobs (Stripe and GitHub respectively)… and no shortage in even better job offers!
The great thing about writing a book is that you don’t have to risk anything! All you need is a few hours of writing per week and in a few months you can have your own book that you can sell, give away at conferences, and prominently feature on your resume!
The way I approached writing and publishing of seven (7!!!) books is disclosed in my latest book ProgWriter [programmer + writer]. It’s the collection of all my secrets and lessons learned on my path from ordinary developer to writer of multiple programming books—that sell (a few became Amazon.com best sellers!). So, don’t wait any longer. Arm yourself with my tips and tricks on publishing and how to write a book to make yours and your family’s future more predictable!