Doing a little career coasting? Not a good idea if a layoff is in the air.

Today, the only true job security is the ability to secure another job, says longtime coach and career guru Nancy Gillespie. The good news is: Once you get good at finding a job, you won’t need to learn that skill. Here, Nancy recommends five ways to be prepared for whatever might happen.

1. Keep your networks fresh. “If your field has a professional organization, join it,” Nancy says. Stay up to date on LinkedIn. “You never know when you’ll have to be out there in the market.”

2. Don’t let yourself coast. “A woman I once coached after a layoff told me, ‘I’ll never again let my skills slip; it was too hard to get a new job,’” Nancy recalls. Coasting can be dangerous, regardless of your tenure.

3. Read good books. “I recommend The Unwritten Rules of the Highly Effective Job Search: The Proven Program Used by the World’s Leading Career Services Company by Orville Pierson,” Nancy says. “He outlines a process for finding a job. How many jobs are there in this market? How far are you willing to travel? It’s numbers-based, which is a smart place to start.”

4. Remember that your next job is just what you’re doing next. “It’s not a lifetime commitment; it’s just the next job,” Nancy explains. “If you have to support your family, then it’s OK that an OK job is your career choice for now. Your dream job can come later.”

5. Always take the job where you’ll learn the most. “This is advice I gave my daughter, who ended up as CEO of a new company: Where will you learn? It’s always easier to change careers within an organization. Try and get a job where you want to be, and learn, and work your way up. Then make a switch.”

Nancy Gillespie

More advice from Nancy: An appreciation and Q&A

Dog photo from Jeff Nissen, Unsplash. Bike Image from


Be Merry and Wise
This is the first in a series of blogs about life and work. My hope is that, as it begins to unfold, this series might inspire reflection or conversation. When you’re in the middle of a life, it can be tricky to see where you are and where you’ll go.—
Alyssa Chase