Even the best career planning can go awry. Consider this scenario:

It is your first day back in the office after a great family vacation. It is a couple of weeks before the end of your company’s fiscal year and you are expecting both a bonus and a raise. Life is good.

The plan you created for your security career has really come together well. You had a successful career in government then easily transitioned into a senior security management role in the private sector. The job you are in now is both challenging and rewarding. To top it all off, your boss is a terrific person who you respect and enjoy working for. Two more years and you will be fully vested in your company’s incentive plans. And you are only 56. Life is really good.

You have only had time for one cup of coffee, but just got a call from your boss. You have been asked to join him for a meeting. Well, this is the moment for which you have been waiting. Welcome back! We missed you! Let’s talk about your raise and bonus!

Unless it is not that moment.

The head of HR is also in the room and seems oddly somber. You sit down and hear the words,” We have just finalized an agreement with our foreign competitor, the Super Big Corporation. We are going to merge our operations and form a new, stronger organization. This will provide even greater value to our shareholders.”

The news gets worse. Your position has been eliminated and you will not have a role within the new company. Instead of a conversation about your pay increase and bonus, HR is describing your severance package. You may not have heard everything they were saying. Your mind went to your two children who just started college.

Stories like this are increasingly common. Security practitioners who felt they were in strong, secure positions in their organizations are finding themselves unexpectedly open to new opportunities. This reflects the changing business model and will continue to evolve as merger and acquisition activity rebounds.

The demand for talented security professionals is real. However, the reality is that organizations have a plethora of management roles in comparison to security positions. When companies merge, there likely is room for only one security leader at the top. Despite being a valuable asset to your current corporation, where will you land should your company be acquired?

Given this trend, are you content to wait and see what happens? You can let events like mergers, acquisitions, and downsizing impact your life and shape your career. Or you can take control. You may not be actively looking for another job right now. However, being prepared to execute an effective job search strategy at a moment’s notice should be a backup plan you already have in place.

Next month we will be looking at the best way to create a backup security career plan you can execute should unexpected events occur. Because, no matter how good life is in your current job, time spent considering alternatives will give your career resilience.