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It's November 2022, You’re doing really well at work, you recently got a promotion, your boss loves you and your team can’t live without you! You've been at your company for 9 years and you can't imagine yourself anywhere else, after all, you started your career here at Facebook right out of university. Suddenly, you and many more of your co-workers lose their jobs......

Cushion or pillow talk?

Thank you, next! (Not the Ariana Grande song). In our last two blogs, we spoke about ‘Toxic Work Culture’, and ‘Quiet Quitting’. Now, we're totally obsessed with a new term known as ‘Career Cushioning’ (First introduced by Catherine Fisher in a viral LinkedIn post). Catherine writes: “taking actions to keep your options open and cushioning for whatever comes next in the economy and job market.”

Fisher points out multiple ways to cushion your career. 40% of companies on LinkedIn heavily rely on a varied skillset when searching for the right candidate. She writes that it’s important to take accountability for your existing skills and work on building any missing competencies that you would need to land your next great job.

What’s the cushion all about?

'Career Cushioning' is all about keeping your options open in the job market in the current economy. It’s time to be adaptive to whatever situation comes your way. For example, diversifying you investments in case you suddenly find yourself unemployed, then at least, you have a backup plan for survival. The myth that if you work hard, you can't get fired, is delusional! It's a traditional misconception invented by corporate culture. Economists have been predicting a recession for quite a while (Forbes), in-light of these talks, People around the world have started to rethink their professional career prospects. The best way to safeguard yourself is by having a ‘Plan B’. People are starting to search for new jobs in advance irrespective of actual needs or triggers.

'It's about keeping a backup plan and being career savvy’ (Ben Safra). We discovered that ‘Career Cushioning’ correlates to the theory of Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs. It all stems from the need for finding a sense of belonging, a purpose, and meaning in life. We feel that building a professional career goes way beyond the monetary aspect, it's also about having a certain quality of life, family support, convenience, and much more. Keeping in mind that we end up spending more than half of our lives at work.

'Plan A' is usually the traditional thought of: get a job, progress, grow professionally, and gain more. We rarely think about a ‘Plan B’ if we’re happy with our jobs and are satisfied with our work environment.

Cush your tush...

In conversation with several colleagues, we came across a very interesting opinion. One colleague mentioned that he considers career cushioning like a dating experience. You go out on a few dates you start liking the person, getting closer, and

building more rapport with them whilst having a great experience. But, things take an unexpected turn and you end up separating, quite similar to losing a job that you love. Breadcrumbing is another intriguing concept that we came across which has similarities between real-life dating and the workplace. You’re dating someone, everything is going great, he or she keeps promising to marry you, yet still no ring on your finger. Similarly at work, your boss keeps praising you and promising you a promotion, yet no "ink on the paper". 🚩

Our experience manager Sihem mentions that another obsessive reason for Career Cushioning can be the cost-of-living crisis, people might search for new jobs in the pursuit of living a better quality of life. My (the writer) feeling, is that not everyone gets a choice to choose their dream job and live the dream. Sometimes we compromise on our values to earn a good amount of money for a better life. I believe life is all about the choices we make, be it jobs, relationships, and more.

Our founder Ben says: “Given the massive layoffs, the uncertain economic environment, and the rising number of unsatisfied employees, it's imperative to be ready for any situation”.

Finding a job is half the battle, you need to be prepared for the main battle, the interview!

Ben’s points for a successful interview:

1. Send personalised/ professional notes to recruiters, and senior managers

2. Always be prepared, educate yourself about the company and person you are about to meet, be able to construct narratives out of the material you present

3. Practice articulating your experiences

4. Even though some extraordinarily lucky people make it seem effortless, remember that interviewing is a skill, the more you practice, the more competent you will become

In the end, 'Career Cushioning' is about realising that your present position might not remain permanent, so plan, be career-savvy and who knows, the next career move might be the best one yet!

Now it’s your turn to control your life and choose your kind of happy!

Written by Melanie D'silva & Ben Safra


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