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Career cushioning: 6 tips for coming up with a Plan B for your job

Career cushioning refers to making a Plan B for your career amid an uncertain job market.
Career cushioning refers to making a Plan B for your career amid an uncertain job market.   -   Copyright  Canva

By Suzie Coen

Last year gave rise to a long list of workplace trends, like hybrid work models and remote working, along with catchy buzzwords like “the Great Resignation” and quiet quitting.

This year, a new term has entered the ring: career cushioning.

It refers to the act of preparing a backup employment plan, in case your current job situation doesn’t work out for whatever reason.

Of course, this concept isn’t exactly new, but in a rapidly changing work landscape that’s being impacted by new technologies, geopolitical conflict and a looming recession, career cushioning should be on everyone’s radar.

In fact, according to Google Trends, search terms around career cushioning have increased by 5,000 per cent in the last 12 months.

Are you wondering about the security of your job and if you should be career cushioning? Here's everything you need to know.

Keeping options open

Career cushioning is about keeping your options open when you aren’t happy with your current job.

It’s about preparing for possible layoffs by taking measures like upskilling, searching for jobs in financially stable organisations, or even starting a side hustle.

In a nutshell, it’s Plan B in the face of job loss. But it’s also a way for people to feel in control in a time of economic uncertainty.

Here are six ways to career cushion the right way.

1. Check your values

One of the common reasons people don’t feel happy or fulfilled in their jobs is because their values aren’t aligned with their company’s.

For instance, does your manager expect you to be on email every evening and weekend when your priority is your family?

Or perhaps you’re stuck in a toxic environment, when all you want is a creative organisational culture that supports employees’ mental and physical well-being.

By defining your personal values and what matters to you in a role, you’ll be able to determine whether the job you have now is what you actually want.

2. Take time to self-assess

Upskilling is always a good idea. Ask yourself what areas you need to improve – is it more knowledge, experience or education?

At worst, you’ll keep your job and just get better at it, which can help when internal job opportunities arise.

And at best, if you really are laid off, you’ll be ready for whatever the job market has to offer you.

If the company you currently work in offers training opportunities, now is the time to start taking advantage of them.

You can also ask yourself what your long-term career goals are and if you’re on track to achieve them. If the answer is no, plot out your next steps.

3. Stay up to date with industry news

When the economy takes unexpected turns, the market has to adjust. That can create new developments in the landscape of the industry, which can turn into opportunities.

Stay on top of business news and follow all the emerging trends in your industry so that you are ready to take advantage of them should you need to look for a new job.

Sign up to relevant industry newsletters, follow business fields on social media platforms and scroll online job posting websites (like Euronews.jobs).

It’s obvious, but worth a reminder: Update your online professional profile and your CV to make sure they reflect your current experience and the measurable accomplishments you want to showcase, or anything that might catch the attention of a hiring manager.

Don’t forget to focus on your soft skills, too – these days, they’re more important than ever.

4. Network from the heart

Think of your professional network as a garden. It needs to be maintained and nurtured constantly.

Strengthening your network is not only about making new connections, but also nourishing existing ones.

In tough times we rely on communities, and a job search is no different. Tapping the right person at the right time is the magic formula that can help get your foot in the door, so ensure you’re in regular contact with your connections.

You don’t want to reach out to them simply because you’re looking for a favour. Reciprocity is critical to positive networking relationships.

5. Apply and interview

There’s nothing that will sate your curiosity about crafting a backup plan more than getting out there and seeing for yourself what is on offer. Make a commitment to search for a new job and don’t be passive about it – start applying and interviewing.

The act of job searching will make you realise that you have choices, and that you aren’t stuck in one role or company. It’ll also give you a chance to expand your network, as well as get a better understanding of the job market and the remuneration packages for specific positions.

And it may turn out that you get the push you need to move on from a role that feels unstable, or you find a company that appreciates you more than your current organisation does.

6. Consider a side hustle

Something that can help to cushion your career is acquiring a side hustle to give you a bit of autonomy.

Starting a side hustle is an excellent way to earn extra money. It also allows you to experiment with a new idea, or to “try on” a new career.

Some might say that preparing for the worst is pessimistic, but not being ready to pivot when faced with unemployment can be a heavy burden.

Consider the strategy of career cushioning as an insurance policy.

The good news is that you don’t have to wait for an emergency to implement it. You can use it as an alternative path if you’re unhappy with where your career is currently headed.

If you’re feeling uncertain about the economy or your industry, it may be time to start thinking about the next steps for your career.

If you’re interested in exploring new horizons and exciting job opportunities, visit Euronews.jobs where you can browse a wide selection of open roles right now.

Here are three top jobs this week.

Program Manager, GoCardless

GoCardless is a global payments network and technology platform. Based in London, the Program Manager will work with all of the Compliance Managers to relaunch and run all the various compliance programs.

The ideal candidate will be tech savvy, have strong project and program management qualifications, preferably some experience in OKRs (objectives and key results) and experience in running cross-functional, multidimensional programs.

Apply for the job now.

(Senior) Software Engineer, Trade Republic

Trade Republic is an online financial platform that allows its users to buy and sell shares, exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and crypto currency. It’s currently recruiting a (Senior) Software Engineer in Berlin to build and test services and products using tools from the JVM ecosystem such as Kotlin, Spring and Vert.x, Hibernate or jOOQ.

The job description also includes designing cloud services and shipping products via a CI/CD pipeline based on Github Pull Requests, Buildkite, and Container Orchestration. You’ll need three years experience in software engineering and in developing and shipping scalable features within a service oriented architecture.

Further information on this role is available here.

Senior Financial Analyst, TikTok

TikTok is seeking a Senior Financial Analyst based in London to support its global monetisation business for European enterprise and Global Gaming. The new hire will be responsible for preparing managerial financial reports and budget tracking, providing financial advice to the business team and improving business efficiency.

To apply, you’ll need a Bachelor’s degree (CPA or equivalent qualification), three to five years of financial planning and analysis (FP&A) or similar work experience and will have previously worked successfully to support regional multi-territorial teams across Europe.

Learn more about this job here.

Discover hundreds more job opportunities across Europe on Euronews.jobs