Career cushioning

Catch my Global National, The Morning Show segment on this topic here.

January prompts many to consider a job change and employers should be aware of three factors affecting employees now:

  • Well-being: The new year often has workers examining their sense of well-being and happiness.  Is their job providing joy, challenge and the ability to grow?  If not, they're more likely to seek greener pastures.
  • The R word: This year comes with the added stress of soaring costs and a possible recession. But also strong job numbers. Even in the economic climate, workers feel confident they can find another job or start a side hustle. It's an interesting power dynamic.  While other employees may see the writing on the wall – that they’re first inline to be laid off – they may decide to take steps to proactively leave.
  • The F word: Financial pressure is fueling many employees to want to leave.  They may be forced to come back into the office, incurring commute and child care costs they can’t afford.  Or feel resentful that their pay isn’t reflecting the rise of inflation over the last year. and Canadians have highest level of stress around money since the 2008 financial crisis, with 61 per cent of employed North Americans feeling more stress now than this time last year, according to research from Ceridian HCM Inc. and the Financial Wellness Lab of Canada.  That stress is eating into people's workdays and more than 80 per cent of North Americans admit to taking time from work tasks to think about their personal finances. Almost a quarter of them spend an hour or more per day worrying about money. The result: billions of dollars in lost productivity, clocking in at US$50 billion in Canada and US$614 billion in the United States, the Financial Wellness Lab estimates.

Tips for employees to discreetly look for other jobs while staying focused on the current

  • Use LinkedIn to expand your network, research companies your love to work for and build your profile.
  • Search the top 20 companies your like to work for.  Then figure out who you’d likely report to.  Would it be a division head?  A vice president? Send connection requestions and spark up conversations on their posts.
  • If you’ve left or are imminently ready to leave your job, you can then reach out to these contacts expressing your interest in their company, request a ten minute conversation and see what opportunities exist.  Remember that it’s estimated the 70-80% of jobs are never advertised.

Lean into the concept of career cushioning 

Career cushioning is the practice of creating a backup plan for potential unemployment. People call it cushioning because it is used to cushion yourself from the negative experience of an unexpected job loss while you still have a job.


  • Hiring a career coach.  If you can’t afford to do so, set up a mastermind that meets monthly.
  • Stay connected with your network – in person events as well as digitally.  But nothing beats an old-fashioned face to face coffee.
  • Keep up with industry trends
  • Assess your current skills – do they match where your industry or position is headed?
  • Conduct a SWOT analysis– what are your strength’s, weaknesses, opportunities and threats?

Get your finances in check now to insure yourself against sudden job loss

  • The two most important things to consider are your emergency savings and setting up your credit before you need it.  Even if you had a steady income for say 10 years, the minute you’re unemployed, that’s what the bank looks at.  Set up your lines of credit before you need them.
  • If you have health issues, consider that you’ll be without those benefits quickly after leaving your place of employment.  It’s important to get a private plan if you need it within 90 days of leaving your employer for guaranteed acceptance. Consider other benefits you may no longer have and will now have to pay out of pocket: health, dental, life insurance and more