In this article, we are going to tell you 10 best tips to cope with job insecurities and focus on goals to achieve success in life.
These days it seems like jobs are getting increasingly stressful with an environment that oozes competition — survival of the fittest is perhaps the best way to describe it. Jobs pose demands and demands change constantly. Indeed, the same sense of job security that the generations before us had is longer around. But it’s not just at the workplace that one feels insecure. Insecurities can affect us in most areas of our lives.
Most of us are inevitably our own worst critics, and sometimes to a servile degree. Maybe work is going really great but your love life is DOA and vice versa. The issue is that, more often than not, it is really hard to compartmentalise. So, insecurities about one area in your life spills over into other areas that might have otherwise been going well.
I know that I have had my fair share of insecurities in countless different areas of my life. The most recent experience that I recall was at a job I had as a research fellow for an environmental organisation. Everyday, and I mean every single day, I felt progressively worse about myself. I constantly doubted by capabilities, my affability, my humour…
It took me years to build my self- confidence in all of the above but how could this one experience shatter that so easily? Well, for multiple reasons. Most importantly, I doubted myself and never spoke up. All you need to know is that I felt very seriously insecure at that place of work and I blamed myself without real reason — this is something I will never do again. Eventually, my mental health deteriorated and I became stuck in a an unhealthy mindset.
I left that job but it wasn’t for another year that I fully realised what had happened. I was capable, certainly capable of learning at least. But I let my insecurities get the best of me. The environment at that office was strange and I was excluded from almost everything — both work related and social. That was not my fault, and I should never have self-sabotaged myself as a result. I wasn’t incompetent and I deserved to be acknowledged, only in retrospect did I see that. There are a few major things that ring annoyingly in your ear when you experience insecurity, things I try to be more aware of.
- You are not capable.
- You don’t know what you’re doing.
- No one likes you.
- You are not as good as everyone else.
- You will never be as smart as everyone else.
- No one thinks you are intelligent and deserve to be here.
- You will never be successful.
- No one appreciates you.
- You will never be able to cope with pressure.
- Your work is not valuable.
- You should just quit.
- Just keep working and working and working.
- No one is going to hire you.
- When will you get a real job?
- I cannot get everything done.
- You’re lazy.
There are so many more thoughts that swarm one’s mind when in the throws of insecurity. Nip them in the butt while you can. By this I do not mean ignore them. Rather, acknowledge them and figure out why you are feeling this way. Use these emotions to your advantage. Most of us feel insecure because our present self is not who we want to be. This has a snow ball effect, leading us to criticise ourselves to unnecessary degrees, making futile comparisons that serve no purpose.
How to Cope With Job Insecurity
Many work places foster an environment that breeds insecurity, driving you to constantly perform. To survive you have to look within yourself, catch that disempowering self-image by the balls and throw it out. Of course, it’s easier said than done. However, it is not impossible.
Workers today have enough reason to feel anxious about their job prospects. An article in The New York Times states, ‘” ‘Job stability isn’t the same as job security,” said Jacob S. Hacker, a professor of political science at Yale and author of “The Great Risk Shift” (Oxford University Press). The consequences of losing a job are far more severe today than they were in previous generations, as laid-off employees tend to see their compensation and benefits fall sharply when they find new employment. As a result, ‘people are more likely today to worry about what will happen if they lose their job,’ Professor Hacker said.”
The article is further filled with numerous statistics about the reduction in tenure over past decades. The reason that I mentioned this excerpt is to point that you are not alone. People everywhere experience job insecurity all the time. I don’t know if that thought comforts any of you but I know that it gives me a sense of belonging — like I’m not crazy, or that I’m not doing enough, or any of the other thoughts I mentioned above. So, here are a few tips that will hopefully help you cope with any insecurities you are facing at your job.
The first step to coping with job insecurity is acceptance. When you hear the critic within surfacing, don’t let it put you down. Rather, become aware of how you are feeling and think about what is in your control that you could change. Use your insecurity to drive you, to push you forwards. Vocalise your negative thoughts and stand up to long-held beliefs and insecurities about yourself. You can write down rational and realistic statements about how you really are. Respond to your attacks the way you would to a friend, with compassion and kindness. One way to accept how you are feeling is to just get it out and get to the bottom of it.
Remember that your insecurity is not a reflection of your strengths, capabilities, intelligence or your happiness. Most people around you that seem successful, like they have it all under control, are likely dealing with their own insecurities. You don’t have to be unhappy on account of your insecurities — you can merely become more aware of them and prevent them from negatively effecting your life.
2) Give Money and Prestige Less Importance
Money is certainly important but not if it costs you your health. Taking a job for a fancy office and excellent pay might be a good short-term strategy. But if it starts to interfere with your mental health, then it’s best to chose your health. By choosing happiness, you make decisions to be around certain things and not others. People who prioritise meaning in life over solely monetary benefits are usually happier and more secure in themselves.
3) Be Objective/Don’t Spiral
Okay, given your credentials, are you likely to never find a job again? If your fear is getting fired, then figure out what the outcome would actually mean. Even in the unlikely event that you do get fired, make sure that you take charge of your own life. You are likely to find another job but you are less likely to actually get fired. Become aware of that overwhelming feeling and take necessary, objective, steps towards bettering it.
4) Look After Your Body
No matter how many times someone gives you this advice, it will never lose its importance. Start an exercise regime, prioritise eating healthy and get enough sleep! You may feel tempted to turn to temporary fixes, like getting drunk or binge eating junk food. But if you are really facing insecurity issues, looking after your body is the best thing you can do for future you. Just because you feel bad doesn’t mean you throw yourself into an even worse situation, making it harder for you to get out. Stay disciplined and take care your body.
5) Do Things/Experiment
Don’t become sedentary, allowing insecurity to weigh you down. It won’t change your situation and you’ll only end up feeling worse. Keep your mind open to different opportunities, think about what skills you can transfer to another job. Find someone you can trust and talk to, make use of all the resources available to you.
Commitment is important, but it is also important to remain flexible. So go an do some intelligent experimentation. Try new things, try hard things. Keep challenging yourself and avoid that feeling of being locked in.
6) Understand Your Work Environment
Look if you need to play the game to stay secure, play the game. But of course not at any serious personal or moral cost. Recognise if your firm’s culture feeds on insecurity to drive excellence. Your current insecurities will be replaced by a new set if you are promoted. You need to figure out how your work place operates and use it to drive you.
Comparing yourself with others all the time doesn’t work because it is debilitating. I did it and it got me nowhere. In fact, because I compared myself to other people I remained stuck in one place. Know your own insecurities and only use yourself as a measure of growth. Combating fear while continuously working hard is not easy. So, give yourself time to avoid giving up and giving in to your insecurity
7) Stay Current
Stay on top of things and keep your skills as updated as possible. This will not only help your own mental state but it will also add value to your overall skill set. If you have marketable skills, then you have a lot to offer other potential employers if you get laid off. So keep your skills relevant and up-to-date. Make sure you’re up to date on your industry’s certifications and trends, using professional websites and social media outlets, so that you know what’s going on in your field. In today’s job market, the technical skills you need can change quickly. So, develop your interpersonal skills too. Think about learning new skills that would benefit your role in any company. Some of these skills include effective time management, leadership techniques, and personal organisation. These will help you in your life in the long run as well.
8) Talk About What’s Happening
Talk to others at work, at home and in your social networks. They might be able to help you on multiple different fronts. For instance, they could help you brainstorm your next steps and remind you that you are not alone in this. If they’ve been through something similar, which most people have, they can help prevent your negative thoughts from escalating. Don’t hide away because you feel bad. Bottling it all up never helps in the long run. Talking to someone also constitutes using the resources available to you.
9) Save Your Money
Given the world that we live in now, it might be inevitable to live with job insecurity. Most of the panic that follows comes from financial insecurity. This alone can convince people to accept the first job offer they receive, even if it’s not the right match. If possible, try to save at least three to six months’ worth of living expenses. This can help you to take the time you need to find the best opportunity for you. That is if you are laid off. It can also give you the resources to look farther ahead for work outside of your area. Start protecting yourself now to prevent disaster later. I suppose this advice applies to life in general.
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10) Take Care of Your Mental Health
Do things to stay positive, like remembering to have fun. Learn how to find joy in small things, figure out what you enjoy doing and do it. Other things that could help with mental health include — keeping your desk tidy, avoiding distractions, exercising, eating right, sleeping, taking time for yourself, taking regular breaks throughout the day, spending time with people you enjoy being around…You get the idea. Mental health is really important and will remain important throughout your life. I used to take mental health for granted and realised that it only landed me in a pit of insecurities. It is worth taking the time to work on yourself, whatever it is that that entails for you.