First it was the ‘Great Resignation’, then ‘Quiet Quitting‘ – the new term in the job concept du jour is ‘Career Cushioning’.
Like it or not, there is widespread lack of purpose about work and its place in peoples’ (especially young workers), lives. The term, ‘Career Cushioning’ simply means lining up a new gig while still working in a job you dislike. The term gets its roots from the dating scene, where a person keeps their romantic options open to ‘cushion’ the blow should the current relationship blowup.
To me, ‘Career Cushioning’ is a new moniker for an old activity. I always was looking for better positions at other companies while working. Even at the senior ranks in an organization those executives are looking for the better ‘gig’. It’s essentially a hedging strategy of going through the motions of a job search without quitting. I never thought it wrong to keep investigating for a better position to advance my career – but I always did it on my own time.
The reason we are hearing about ‘career cushioning’ now is because the U.S. is in a recession and job layoffs are accelerating. Work is having a crisis of purpose and meaning and not just burnout for many. In a discussion on this topic with a friend, her response to career cushioning was, “anyone in a field with some degree of churn who isn’t career cushioning is a dope”. I’ll leave it at that.
Jim Lavorato, Founder of 4M Performance