About Employment and Employability

A basic set of rules regarding employability.


NOTE 1: for people outside Brazil, CLT is an acronym which means Working Regulation Laws. It is a set of largely outdated laws from 1949 which still defines the relation between employer and employee.

NOTE 2: INSS could be translated to National Institute of Social Security.

A lot of people have asked me about the changes in CLT, how to act, what to expect. I always think a person is responsible for their own career. Common Questions:

  • Will outsourcing make me lose my job?
  • And my guarantees?
  • What will I do if I do not work with CLT?
  • What will stop the market from exploring me?

Well… There is no answer to those questions. So let’s check some things that everyone should know but  don’t, either because they were not taught or they have forgotten.

There is no such a thing as a stable job.

The CLT can, theoretically, protect yourself. It can grant you rights and duties. BUT, if the company goes bankrupt and your employer pays for everything you have as a right and file bankruptcy, you are as unemployed as any other person fired.

Curiously, there are employees within companies who buckle against “owner enrichment.” Look: Before seeing the accumulated fortune fade out, a business owner in a non-profit situation may choose to pay everyone’s rights and dismiss everyone.

So, what does one do with CLT?

Even state-run jobs are subject to risk as a government ends up in debt and no longer has the chance to wring even more money out of the population. Look at Rio de Janeiro state and Rio Grande do Sul state: these are bankrupt states that delay payments and bad luck for the civil service and the interest these people pay on their bills.

It is your Employability that grants you a job.

Note 3: There is a type of public services employee that pass throgh a series of public exams called "consursados" (from the word "concurso", meaning "contest". But it should be more accurately translated as "Exams-Proof". Being exam-proof grants a stable job, no matter how inefficient one becamos. All judges, cops, public teachers and so on in Brazil are exam-proofed.

Then one person passes an exam for public job and stay there for about 10 years without thinking about career and networking (the biggest proof: how many Petrobras exam-proof employess do you interact in Linkedin?). Then the state begins to delay compensation. What happens? This person starts to have some interest charged on their bills and start to think about changing jobs. Problem is that this person has spent years without studying new things and hardly would get approved on another public job exam.

Maybe we can evaluate another profile. The one that joined a massive multinational company and had an stable job until being subject to some “restructuring”. Just that person that was there for 10 years… Well, now he/she is fired. How to get another (or better) job?

  • Being attractive to the market (professional update, understanding what happens around the world)
  • Networking (Those who are seen, are also remembered)
  • A good track record of successes (knowing what and what worked)
  • An accurate notion of one’s own value (how much one’s work costs)
  • What one’s will add as value (to justify the company’s investment)

3. CLT only covers those already employed.

You do not have 13°, paid vacations with 1/3 salary bonus when you are paid through public unemployment insurance.
Note 4: Brazil has yearly mandatory extra salary called 13° (you may read “décimo terceiro”).

4. INSS will only serve for those who spent their life employed.

With or without reform.

And if you believe in INSS, you should hope that in the future INSS will have enough taxpayers to pay for your retirement.

You may want to read this.

5. The Government does not guarantee you a job.

I repeat: the government can not guarantee your job.

Even though it might try to employ everyone, at some point there must be production. The government may even try to manufacture something (or try to manufacture everything, according to the Socialist model), but to ensure its revenues, the more things the government manufactures, the more government stuff you are forced to consume.

It’s a matter of ideology.

But in private enterprise, which is the majority of jobs today, the government can not guarantee you anything.

6. Your salary depends on your Rarity and how much what you do is needed.

From this month’s comic strip:

  • Required + Rare = High Wage
    • Example: good executives.
  • Required + Abundant = Low Salary
    • Example: teachers.
  • Unnecessary + Rare = Highly Variable Salary
    • Example: any extremely specific function (Cobol programmers, rare disease doctors …) *
  • Unnecessary + Abundant = Salary None.
    • Example: lazy people.

This has nothing to do with your background, dedication, interest and so on. If salary is important to someone, it is recommended that this person choose, the things that this person likes to do, something that is necessary and has few people doing.

But finding this is not easy …

(* In the comic strip, the term used was useless, but utility depends very much on the perception of each one)

7. Your training and graduation can make you rare.

And if this happens in a much needed function, you will have a nice paying job.

Given that in Brazil we rarely make technology useful to most advanced scientific studies we do, a doctorate degree aims more likely to teach in universities than to earn more money in a company. If it makes you rare but lacks to also increase your demand, it won’t help you to increase your earnings.

Maybe it might help hold some job in the university, for a very specific position…

The industry in Brazil is comprised of technology followers in most markets.

8. Earnings are proportional to risk. It’s the same with a career.

No pain, no gain. Salary increases according to risk:

  • No Risk: You are an individual contributor on auxiliary functions.
  • Risk of losing job with error: technicians.
  • Risk of losing the job by decision or action: Managers.
  • Risk of losing equity: Directors
  • Risk of being the devil, exploiter of workers and bankrupt, if things go wrong, “for life”: entrepreneurs.

9. Work and employment are not the same thing.

An entrepreneur is not employed. But he / she is usually overworked. An employee is employed and may be out of a job to do.

To work is to perform an activity for some purpose with some result. I know people who go to the workplace and have coffee all day, gossiping, and, in the face of any difficulty, runs away from work. I believe that many of these should be complaining about the loss of guarantees provided by CLT.

The best job guarantee is to work. A LOT.

The question is: do you work at your job or do you work?

About rftafas 183 Articles
Ricardo F. Tafas Jr graduated in Electrical Engineering at UFRGS with focus on Digital Systems and achieved his Masters also in Electrical Engineering on Telecomunications Network Management. He also author of "Autodesenvolvimento para Desenvolvedores (Self-development for developers). Ricardo has +10 years experience on R&D Management and +13 years on Embedded Eystem Development. His interest lay on Applied Strategic HR, Innovation Management and Embedded Technology as a differentiator and also on High Performance Digital Systems and FPGAs. Actually, he is editor and writer for “Repositório” blog (, editorial board member at Embarcados (https://embarcados.com.br) and he is Management and Innovation Specialist at Repo Dinâmica - Aceleradora de Produtos.
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments