The latest in a long string of work-related catch phrases is the term “career cushioning”. It is actually a fancy term for something that most of us have been advocating for a long time. The term relates to continuing to do a job search and exploring new work opportunities even though you’re currently employed. In other words, a fancy term for “keeping your options open”!
As we enter 2023, concern over high inflation, potential layoffs, and a possible recession have workers checking out the labor market in order to make sure they are all set. If you do the calendar math, the concept has always made sense. Why wait until you are laid off to start your job search? It often takes weeks, if not months, to find new employment. If you are looking for something better than what you currently have, it may even be longer than that. So, it is a good idea to keep your options open in the job market if for no other reason than to provide a career cushion for yourself.
Even if you like your current role and company, there are many economic factors that may place your job in jeopardy. Unfortunately, even if you are well regarded by your current employer, an economic downturn may cause you to be on a list for downsizing. So, in my mind, it is not disloyal for you to attempt to cushion yourself from a job loss. Especially since you will likely not be given advance notice by your employer and your severance may be minimal (if at all) unless you were with the company a long time. Conducting a career cushioning search is your insurance policy in case something tragic occurs in your career and you still have to move forward in your life.
Now this does not automatically then translate to you being a job hopper in your career. The concept of career cushioning is that you are always open to discussion, networking, and browsing the job boards and WNYJOBS.com paper. This way your search is always underway and negates you having to invest the time in getting your process started if the horrible news comes that your job has been lost. The other important item to note is that you don’t have to accept any position that is offered to you. Of course, if it is a “dream” type job, you may want to jump on it, otherwise you may just communicate your regret and keep your search open.
Building a career cushion does not need to take up a lot of your personal time or negatively impact your work performance. Determine how much time you are able to invest in an on-going job search and work your schedule accordingly. After you have done the initial preparatory work of creating a Cover Letter and Resume template, as well as determining what you are seeking in a new position, then you just have the weekly maintenance type work to do on your search.
You can confidentially post your resume online on a recruiting site, such as WNYJOBS.com, and take an hour or two each week to monitor the job boards to determine if there is anything of interest. Mix in, with this work above, some social media or phone networking each week with your contacts and you have a viable career cushioning job search underway.
In this situation, you may want to be a little more discriminatory earlier on if a Recruiter calls you about an opportunity. Since you are already gainfully employed and mainly in an exploratory mode, you can listen most critically to what the Recruiter tells you about the position, your potential manager, and the company. If you are excited by this message, then you can invest more time into it, but if does not stir you, then keep working on your cushion.
A worker needs to take care of themselves, especially in the tumultuous times that we currently find ourselves in. If you are currently employed, it makes sense to build yourself a little career cushion by running a job search simultaneous to your current employment. By doing this, you place yourself in a much better position to quickly find a new job if you become a victim of a position reduction.
As always, the best of luck in your job search.
The following has been prepared for the general information of WNYJobs readers. It is not meant to provide advice with respect to any specific legal or policy matter and should not be acted upon without verification by the reader.
Joe Stein WNY Human Resources Professional
Feel free to contact Joe Stein regarding questions or comments at: Joe Stein