Career Cushioning Is the Latest Workplace Trend. What Should You Do?

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Layoffs, especially in the tech industry, have disrupted many employees’ career plans and personal finance. The difficulty of finding work and the prospect of a recession has forced some workers to worry about job security and create a “Plan B” to protect themselves.

Unlike “quiet quitting,” career cushioning means hope and struggle. 

The term “quiet quitting” refers to employees who put no more effort into their jobs than absolutely necessary. The term can be traced to the “lying flat” phenomenon that has become popular in Chinese workplaces in recent years.

50% of American workers who may qualify as quiet quitters, probably more, according to Gallup. These people are not particularly devoted to their work, but only do the basics of the job well. On social media, many people identified themselves as quiet quitters.

Because of unprecedented inflation, people’s lives are becoming more and more difficult, let alone promotions and salary increases. Employees don’t want to believe that every effort will bring more rewards. Instead, they pay more and more attention to their mental relaxation and physical health. Because the pandemic has made people pay more attention to their lives and their spirits.

It reflects people’s pessimism about the workplace, while career cushioning represents people’s hope. Employees start looking for other jobs while holding their current roles. Some spend free time browsing job postings on the web and learning new skills, while others are actively applying for new roles.

Quiet quitting hasn’t gone, but career cushioning is the latest trend.

At present, some employees still insist on quiet quitting, which represents their feeling of exhaustion from work. But that doesn’t mean they don’t work hard. Everyone yearns for a free and happy life, and career cushioning is a manifestation of people’s constant pursuit of happiness.

Layoffs from tech giants like Twitter, Meta, Amazon and others have filled the headlines, leaving many people concerned about their job security. CouponBirds found that freelance platform traffic grew at an average monthly growth rate of greater than 40% in 2022, which shows that people are looking for side hustle opportunities to create a sense of professional security.

In 2022, 46% of employed males and 35% of employed females are having a side hustle. People usually choose a side hustle related to their interests or their current work, which only needs a computer to complete. For example, writing blog posts, copywriting, proofreading, video editing, podcasting, photography, etc. 

Some people have a wealth of professional knowledge in their jobs, and they will choose consultants, writing resumes, writing books, selling courses and other side jobs.

This may suggest that people are not bringing out their strengths in the jobs they are in because their employers are not offering jobs where they can use their hidden talents. So people are looking for side hustles on freelance platforms, selling their free time and extra value, exploring opportunities beyond fixed income.

Quiet quitting is a strategy for coping with boring, energy-draining work and conserving energy to find new outlets for creating a better life. The 2 different phenomena seem to be contradictory, but they are actually the wisdom of modern people in order to cope with the ever-changing world.

Just like some animals hibernate in winter and forage in other seasons. Different ways support each other, and long-term benefits can only be obtained by not putting all eggs in one basket.

Here are some ways to cushion your career.

Keep networking and job board scanning. No need to feel guilty. “A lot of people feel that looking for another job while already employed is cheating on a company, which I find insane,” said career strategist Abbie Martin. Martin recommends being ethical and checking other job postings after duty or during your lunch break.

Develop new skills. Another way to career cushion is to continuously develop new skills and knowledge that are in demand in your industry. This can make you more competitive in the job market and increase your job security.

Build up a financial cushion. One of the most effective ways to career cushion is to build up a financial cushion by saving money and reducing debt. This can help provide a financial safety net in the event of a job loss or career setback.

Network and make connections. Building a strong network of professional contacts can also help career cushion, as these connections may be able to provide valuable advice and potential job opportunities.

Consider alternative career paths. It can also be helpful to consider alternative career paths or industries that may be more stable or resilient in the face of economic downturns.

Stay up to date with industry developments. Finally, stay up to date with industry developments and trends, as this can help you anticipate potential changes in the job market and take proactive steps to protect your career.

Grow your strong suit. Don’t give up on dreams and hobbies, they are priceless. Keep thinking and develop your hobby into a freelance career. It will probably be slow and you won’t even make any money, but you will have fun.

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