Peter Gibbons: What if we’re still doin’ this when we’re 50?

Samir: It would be nice to have that kind of job security.

That’s the wrong kind of job security. If what you consider job security is the ability to keep your current job, you’re doing it wrong.

Lots of people at large companies have this mentality about job security. They view layoffs and the potential of losing their jobs as a very big deal. Now, I’m not saying it’s not some kind of deal, it’s just not that big of a deal, if you’ve been building a career and not just working to keep a job. There’s a huge difference between building a career and keeping a job.

Building a career means always learning. It means minimizing the time spent doing things you’ve done before, automating them away if possible. It means always signing up for things that you don’t feel comfortable with. It means doing a lot of reading. It means asking stupid questions of smart people, being told that you’re asking stupid questions, and getting pointed in the right direction. Then working your butt off.

Building a career means not standing still. It means moving with the flows of new technology, of new practices, of new techniques. It means always increasing your efficiency.

Working a job means doing just enough to not get fired.

Peter Gibbons: That’s my only real motivation is not to be hassled, that and the fear of losing my job. But you know, Bob, that will only make someone work just hard enough not to get fired.

I love the movie Office Space. But I want to be building a career, not working a job. I’m not Peter, as much as I may have dreamed of acting like him when I was at Xerox.

In the past, I had wasted time and brain power worrying about keeping a job. That’s stupid. Instead, I should have been building a career.

Now, I am.


06 July 2012