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What is career cushioning and how can IT professionals leverage it?

  • 10th Jan'23

Career cushioning is a new hot topic since many people want to protect their jobs by keeping a plan B alternative available in case they lose their current position for any reason. This is especially true in light of forecasts that recessions would affect certain industries.

The IT sector is constantly changing, not just in terms of new technologies but also in terms of terminology like "silent resignation" and "moonlighting" when people get accustomed to these two most recent terminologies. The phrase "career cushioning" is currently all the rage. But what is career cushioning?

What is career cushioning?

Just what is career cushioning and how can IT professionals leverage it.

Giving yourself a backup plan, a safety net, or another work choice without actively hunting for one is called career cushioning. You can do whatever to get ready for your upcoming duty. You can develop the necessary abilities you think would be valuable in a different profession. Additionally, you can keep a watch on mailing lists, referrals from people in your network, or LinkedIn alerts for positions that match your criteria. Maintaining a CV with a recruiter just in case the ideal opportunity arises is another form of career padding.

For a variety of reasons, people "career cushion." Some people want to be ready in case their business fails, and thus they want to have another employment on the side. Some people tend to look in the wrong direction and think the grass is always greener on the other side.

According to Forbes, the term "to soften your landing" is where the name originated. The concept of career cushioning isn't surprising, considering the recent layoffs in Big Tech. This economic environment can be unsettling and scare some people into worrying about a post-pandemic hiring binge.


The ethical dilemma with career cushioning

Some people contend that career cushioning isn't moral. When you work for one company, they anticipate getting all of your attention, time, and effort through the good times and bad. This argument claims that if you give your job your full attention, the organization is less likely to fail since you are an integral cog in the broader machine of the corporation.

Others contend that career cushioning is morally acceptable because it breaks up your monogamous commitment to your job. Realistically, it is best to be ready for anything, and developing one's talents is a positive step in any career. It is particularly true if one believes their firm is sinking and the end is near. A job is a mutually beneficial partnership that develops your skills, knowledge, and experience while giving you a valuable position on your team.


Career cushioning the right way

The main goal of career cushioning is to prepare for the worst-case scenario so you won't get caught off guard. And there are methods to do that without predicting the worst, skipping work, or experiencing instability. Don't just sit back and claim that you're a commitment-phobe; instead, face your problems head-on with these career-proofing techniques to avoid being trapped by uncertainty.

What is career cushioning and how IT professionals can leverage it?

1. Upskill 

According to a LinkedIn study, more than 40% of businesses worldwide look for candidates based on their skills rather than their academic background. So, pay attention to your skills if you want to be ready for whatever job comes next. At worst, you'll continue working and merely improve. At the very least, you'll be trained for whatever the job market has to offer to you if you get laid off.


2. Define your skills (long-term goals?)

Avoid attempting to find a backup job that meets many of your requirements (or treating your current employment as if it were not your first choice). The bigger issue here is not that you're uncertain of your job route but rather your lack of a more profound understanding of your desire. You can decide if the job you now have is what you want by identifying your values and what is important to you in a role.


3. Apply for interviews

There is no better way to quench your need to create a backup plan than to go out and explore it yourself. Decide to look for a new career, and don't be a couch potato about it. Start applying for jobs and going through the interview process. It might turn out that you get the encouragement you need to leave a job that feels unstable or that you meet someone who values you more than your current employer does.


4. Analyze how secure your current job position/role is 

Career cushioning can also be a fear-based, nervous undertaking rather than a preventative strategy. Do some studying to determine whether you should truly be panicking if you're preoccupied with coming up with a backup plan in case you get fired. Find out from your managers how you're doing and where you can do better. Pay attention to rumors regarding the success or failure of your business and use your research to corroborate the information.


5. Cultivate a side hustle

Developing a side hustle that helps you feel like you have your independence back will offer you a strong sense of strength regardless of your employment position. According to a Zapier survey, 40% of Americans work a full-time job and a side business. Additionally, if you're concerned that you won't be ready for a job loss, having a side business will give you direction, help you develop your abilities, and give you a small income while you recover.


6. Hone your networking skills

Updating your abilities on your CV is crucial, and you should constantly attend in-person events to network with individuals. Your network will grow as a result, and it will also allow you to broaden your horizons.


7. Follow career SWOT

Your career's finer points, such as pay, work-life balance, location, and flexibility, can all be identified by simply focusing on your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT). It will give your career one more boost in the right direction.


8. Stay positive 

Planning may present more of a chance than a threat to help you get the job of your dreams, but it will be simpler if you start while you still have a plan A. Some workers believe that looking into opportunities outside the company or even within it makes them feel like they are "cheating" on their existing supervisor. It’s always good to consider all your options.



What is career cushioning and how IT professionals can leverage it?

According to career strategists, not every working professional needs urgent career padding. Employees in companies with strong balance sheets do not need to worry at all. Only professionals who join unsustainable companies after making dangerous career selections should bother about it.

You might think about career cushioning if you work for a company that is struggling to turn a profit and has only expanded thanks to finance. Due to investors' caution regarding the state of the market, some sectors are experiencing a funding winter. You might lose your work if many loss-making businesses find it difficult to continue operating without reducing expenses.

Career cushioning as a trend is here to stay, layoffs or not. Upskilling will assist one in moving forward in their career in addition to providing a safety net in case something goes wrong. Stay tuned for Critical Nuggets Of Advice For Career Pivots.


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