Dealing with job insecurity: 5 ways to be proactive about it

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Job insecurity or instability is the “overall concern about the continued existence of your job in the future” (OSH Wiki). This could be because of the nature of one’s employment. Those who are working seasonal, temporary and part-time jobs, as well as contractual and freelance workers may feel job insecurity more strongly than those who have full-time, permanent jobs.

It could also be due to many other things – a shifting economy, a changing market, or what we are experiencing right now: an ongoing pandemic. We’re hearing about layoffs, downsizing, outsourcing, or even company closures right now, in industries we never thought would be unstable.

This means that anyone can be faced with job insecurity. If you’re scared that you might be losing your job any time soon, here are a few tips for managing stress and staying on top of the situation.

How to deal with job insecurity

  1. Sustain your health

    Coping with uncertainty can weigh heavily on your mental and physical health. It is important to look after yourself during this period. Here are some strategies to stay positive and optimistic:

    • Surround yourself with positive people. The worst you can do is to keep your worries bottled up. Talk to family and friends who can provide unbiased and realistic advice as well as encouragement.
    • See a professional – You don’t have to be on the brink of a breakdown to seek the help from a counsellor. You can also consult a career coach. These services are free to permanent residents in Manitoba. Check the following agencies:
    • Build healthy habits – Don’t minimize the power of good nutrition and mental hygiene. The food that we eat and the thoughts that we cultivate give us strength. They also influence our moods and decision-making skills. Start maintaining a balanced diet or better yet, consult your doctor for advice on proper nutrition and stress-relieving strategies. Activities like regular exercise, meditation, yoga, or prayer can help you immensely. Read Emotional hygiene: 5 ways to keep your mind clean and healthy for more tips to develop a resilient mind.
  2. Demonstrate your value

    Demotivation can creep up on you when you’re in this situation. But resist the urge to slack off. This will give your boss more reason to fire you. Do your best work at all times. If you are in a term or probationary position, a good track record can convince your employer to extend your contract or perhaps, offer you a permanent position. If you’re a contractual employee or a freelancer, this can lead to more projects or referrals in the future. Even if you do get terminated, remember that you will need a recommendation to get a new job. Having achieved something of note looks great on a recommendation letter and in your resume. Best of all, you can leave the company with your head held high when your term ends.

  3. Make a new plan

    Job insecurity is stressful because it feels like the situation is out of your control. Making a clear and time-bound action plan will help you take back your power to manage your life. Watch this video from to learn how to develop a SMART career plan:

  4. Keep boosting your knowledge and skills

    Follow your plan and keep learning. Empower yourself by continuously improving and upgrading your knowledge and skills. Don’t forget to improve your English continuously. Communication skills are important in any job. No one should be complacent in their position even if it is a stable one. The only way to stay on your feet is to be flexible, adaptable and competent.

  5. Be open to opportunities

    Explore job opportunities within the organization you’re working for. See if there are other departments that can use your skills. If there are no internal opportunities, conduct a regular job search on your free time or during weekends. Actively network by attending job fairs, lectures and symposia. Keep your LinkedIn profile and resume up-to-date. Keep your resume ready at all times so you can quickly apply should an opportunity present itself.

  6. Save money

    Maintain an emergency fund to keep you afloat should you suddenly lose your job. Having enough money to pay for rent, food and other basic necessities while looking for a job will be a big chunk off of your worries. Read Do I really need an emergency fund? to get an idea of how much to save.

  7. Know your worth

    Stop thinking negative thoughts and don’t put yourself down. No one will benefit from this, especially not you. Use your time on activities that will help strengthen your mind. You are not your job (even if it sometimes feels like it) and there is more to life than work. You know that you are capable of so much more. Your time will come too, just stay positive.

Article updated March 28, 2023.
Sources: Living with a lack of job security, MindTools; Job insecurity stress, educba; and The perpetual anxiety of never knowing if my job will be abolished: How I deal with job insecurity, SonyaG, Offbeat home and life. Accessed September 12, 2019.

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