Job security and resilience

With furlough affecting large swathes of the workforce and experts predicting that the worst is to come with business closures and job losses already starting to appear, job security is a hot topic right now.


A lot of my locum colleagues have noticed a significant drop in their work offers as partnerships are cutting down on locums because of loss of their own income from reduced enhanced services etc. Some partnerships which were already precarious financially may struggle with reduced incomes and may soon become non-viable.  Should we panic? What can we do?


This is the title of a book written by Nassim Nicolas Taleb in which he describes systems that thrive rather than collapse when submitted to stress. Of course, apply too much stress to any system and it risks collapsing but while some of this is outside our control, preparedness is not. There are things we can do to minimise the impact on our work and thus improve job security. 


Maintaining our skills is a requirement of revalidation but we should probably strive to go beyond that and develop expertise in one or two clinical (and non-clinical) subjects. This could give us a competitive advantage and more resilience when the times get tough.  Focusing and developing in one or two areas where you can excel will not only give you an edge but may even prove to be fun. Tools like SimplyCPD can help you search for and book CPD courses to develop your skills.


Most financial advisors will advocate that we keep enough savings reserve to allow us to live for three months without working. Having an emergency fund is even more important for locums. Insurance is of course the other cornerstone of financial security be it income protection or sickness cover. What these financial instruments offer us is peace of mind and better resilience at least in the short term. So if you haven’t any of the above, it's never too late to start. 


My last but not least important point in achieving resilience is breaks! None of the above matters if you burn out.  One sure way of ensuring we get our breaks is to actually schedule them. Short breaks during your working day will allow you to be more effective, reduce your risk of human error and make it more likely you’ll have the energy and awareness to shut down at the end of your working day and enjoy a true period of rest at home. Schedule a holiday when you can fully switch off at least once or twice a year if circumstances allow.  

Job security may be an increasing concern but with a little preparedness, we can become more resilient to future changes, be stronger in terms of our team spirit, our skills, our contingency systems, and our own physical and mental health. If we look after these we’re better prepared for whatever the future holds.

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