As a medical recruiter, writing a blog about the importance of saving money to help build a strong career was something I would have never imagined doing years ago. Times have changed.
Clearly, having cash set aside to last through a period of unemployment has always been important. Until recently the medical industry was a strong growth market, and periods of unemployment were typically relatively short. Jobs were plentiful and if someone was a strong performer they could expect to land a similar position within a few months.
Unfortunately, today's job market is not forgiving. We are all aware of the extreme consolidation in the pharmaceutical industry - with more to come - but the medical device industry is consolidating, as well. It seems as though everyday there is news of a merger, a venture capital firm cutting back on - or eliminating - health care related investing, companies closing their doors, or eliminating less profitable divisions. There are no safe harbors.
At present, there doesn't seem to be an end in sight to job losses in the medical industry. To prepare for a protracted job search, having cash on hand to cover nine months of expenses is recommended. Pursuing high income positions, which are smaller in number, may require funds for longer periods of time.
You may ask, "but why is this important for my career?". Without enough cash to wait for the right opportunity to come your way, you may take a lesser position to pay the bills. This alone is a downgrade for your career. But, additional risk comes from not being satisfied in your new position, and leaving that position too soon.
Now you are on your third job in less than two years. If your new position doesn't work out - perhaps no fault of your own - your career is starting to crumble. Finding the next opportunity will be even more difficult.
This type of downward career spiral has been going on for generations, and will certainly continue in the future - be prepared. After a strong track record, your best assurance to avoid a downward spiral is your bank account.