Should We Rest on our Laurels??

I recently read a posting on a mailing list I frequent from a person that said that:

“I have a stable full time job in a corporation, so I don't
really need to worry about being competitive.”

This comment struck me as kind of odd because I recall just a couple of years ago how so many people were freaked out about job security. The dotcom bust really put a scare in many an IT professional and the glut of talent on the street when all of these companies folded must've made the busiest job site on the web. I too was affected by the dotcom boom as I was unemployed for almost a year. Its an experience that I'd never gone through and never plan on going through again.

So when I read that comment, I honestly had to wonder if:

1) The industry has truly become so revitalized that we don't have to worry anymore about our skills?


2) Have we been lulled into a false sense of security because things are getting better?

Personally, I feel its the latter.

I've seen a resurgence in IT positions over the last year and recruiters have definitely be proactively calling to try and place candidates. This is a big contrast from a couple of years ago where even the recruiters were hurting for business. I've also seen salaries go up a bit (nowhere near the dotcom craze) which is also a good indication that things are getting better.

These factors, in my opinion, are making people complacent and letting them rest on their laurels. I feel that you need to stay competitive and refresh your skills frequently. While the job market appears to have perked up, I've experienced being laid off and having to fight with people with similar skills for the same menial position. Its not something that I'm willing to do again and the only way to avoid that is to keep your skills up. Whether its .Net, Ajax, Flex, Ruby or project management, I honestly feel that we should never allow ourselves to get too comfortable and forget what happened just a couple of years ago.

People tend to forget the bad times when things are going good and I for one won't let myself fall into that. If anything, my mentality will be a benefit to any client that hires me because they'll know that I take my career seriously.

Maybe I'm wrong though. Maybe I'm being overly paranoid and should just feel comfortable in the fact that CFML will be around forever and that it will be the only skill that I need. Hmmm, I think I'll err on the side of caution and continue learning Ajax, just in case.

I look forward to your comments.