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How safe do you need to feel?

Updated: Nov 17, 2022

Or, how 'being realistic' may be a dangerous strategy

For way too long I held on to this notion of needing to feel safe. And safe for me meant having a permanent job, having security, having a pension.

Until I was made redundant. And two years later it started happening again...

Safety is one of the more basic needs you have.

Safety is about keeping you out of harm.

You also want to feel safe in your work.

Safe in the knowledge that you have a job. Safe in having a job that pays the bills and that you enjoy. Safe in knowing what the ‘rules’ are - what your employer expects from you and what you expect from your employer.

So what happens when that safety is shattered?

What happens when your employer does no longer keep their end of the bargain? What if you were being made redundant?

Everyone has a different level of risk appetite.

We all know at least one person who one day chucked in their job and set up on their own. And we all looked at them with a mix of awe and envy. If only we had the guts to do the same!

But we stay where we are and feel that we’re stuck - a mortgage, rent, kids, bills to pay. Or so we think. Because, if you think about it, are we really? Stuck I mean.

Is it not worth testing how much safety you really need?

After I was made redundant almost twice in two years (I say almost as I quit before the second redundancy) I realised that the permanent job that I thought I had wasn’t permanent at all! I decided that instead of pursuing yet another ‘permanent’ job, I needed to have a good look inside myself and consider my need for security.

And found something really interesting.

My need for safety and security … wasn’t mine!

It was something that was instilled in me from childhood. Nothing to do with me! And certainly not something that I had to hold onto if it was holding me back rather than allowing me to progress!

This gave me such a sense of freedom and gave me the boost I needed to start looking at different ways of making a living.

So, what did I learn?

1. Beliefs that are instilled in you from a young age might at one point become a hindrance rather than a help.

Of course you have a need to be safe and your parents will have instilled this in you from an early age. But these are their rules, stemming from their need to keep you safe as a child. Perfectly understandable at the time. But no longer required now.

So, your need for safety and security is not set in stone. Examine it, hold it against the light, understand where it comes from and then determine if you still need that same level of security. Your need for safety is just something you believe you need. If this belief is no longer serving you, then change it!

2. A permanent job is never permanent.

When organisational changes are being made, your job might not be as safe as you think. Be prepared for this to happen, especially in times of economic turmoil.

3. You are your own boss first.

You are responsible for your own career. And you are therefore in charge of determining how that career evolves. Don't become a victim! Don't become stuck! There are opportunities out there if only you are willing to look.

Are you ready to test your need for safety?


Tineke Tammes is an ICF credentialed Career Coach, who supports professional women in making successful transitions to careers of Freedom, Flexibility and Fulfilment! Besides that she is also a lifelong feminist, part-time portrait artist, never-only-read-one-book-at-any-time reader, and obsessive doodler. Oh, and she knows a bit about change management too.

Join her now in Pick 'n Mix - the FREE community for creative, multi-passionate women or sign up to the newsletter.

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