Questioning Career Cushioning
Career cushioning became a buzzword in the business world around the end of 2021, when economic worries spiked and tech firms started massive layoffs. People started sensing a change in the tide, feeling that companies were regaining control after a period where people had the upper hand in asking for better pay and flexible schedules. This shift prompted many to keep an eye on other opportunities.
This concept became known as career cushioning. Essentially, it’s about having an alternative lined up if your current job doesn’t pan out. The term borrows from dating lingo, where a “cushion” refers to having another potential partner ready in case your current relationship ends.
In a quickly changing job landscape, 68% of professionals are taking initiative to explore new opportunities. They’re not waiting for something to go pear shaped and drain their life force.
According to a survey of 2,500 office workers, low job satisfaction tops the list for career cushioning at 48%. Job insecurity and internal business changes follow at 28% and 16%, respectively. Surprisingly, only 8% say a shaky economy drives their behavior.
So what steps are people taking? Most are actively applying for jobs (67%) and keeping tabs on job listings (54%). Fewer are brushing up their resumes (24%), networking (20%), and investing in new skills (17%). Some even juggle a side hustle (10%) or work with a career coach (9%).
Realizing Our Worth
Interestingly, the process leads many to an eye-opening realization: they’re underpaid. A whopping 68% now believe their pay doesn’t match up with industry norms. Only a quarter of the respondents feel happy with their current earnings.
What if career cushioning leads employees to strive harder and improve networking skills. However, businesses shouldn’t ignore this trend. The experts might say that it is only about pay and benefits. In reality, this is more questioning of who holds our power and why?
Career cushioning is making waves in the professional world, driven more by workplace issues than economic fears. People are taking actions that not only safeguard their current roles but also prepare them for future opportunities. Employers, on the other hand, have a strong cue to evaluate their leadership and environments.
The term may be fresh, but the concept isn’t. Folks have always sought better jobs as long as there’s been a job market. What’s changed is that people are now more open about it, especially in these uncertain times. Is the real issue our fear of the unexpected? Whether it’s relationships or jobs, cushioning might just be a way to stick with the familiar, but on a different track. Maybe the real chance here is to be more open to life’s possibilities.