What is “Career Cushioning” and How Can You Do It?

By Debbie Bunch

The job market always seems to be in flux, and while health care is one sector that holds up fairly well despite the circumstances, becoming complacent about the job you have now probably isn’t a great idea. Anything from rising interest rates to a recession to geopolitical turmoil in the world could turn things upside down in a second.

How can you prepare for a possible job loss? Experts are now recommending that you engage in “career cushioning.” In other words, do things that will cushion your fall should you experience one.

Here’s what that might mean for respiratory therapists –

Upgrade your education: In a field like respiratory care, degrees count for a lot, and if you don’t already have your bachelor’s degree, apply to a program (there are lots of great degree advancement programs out there these days) and start taking classes. Even if you just take one class a semester, you’ll be on the path to a BS, and just being on that path will make finding a new job easier if/when you are faced with a job loss.

Add credentials to your list: The more diverse your expertise is, the easier it will be to move on to a new position. The NBRC offers credentialing exams in a wide range of specialty areas in the profession, so take advantage of them to demonstrate your versatility. 

Consider a side hustle: In respiratory care, this is easy – sign up to work some PRN shifts at another hospital or two in your area. This will give management at those hospitals a chance to see you in action, and if you need to seek full-time employment elsewhere you may have a leg up on the competition.

Keep your resume up-to-date: It’s easy to let your resume go once you are gainfully employed but a better tactic is to revisit it every few months and update it with any new information that needs to be added so that if and/or when you need it, you won’t have to waste valuable time getting it in order.

Network, network, network: Get active in your local respiratory care groups or state respiratory care society to find out who the movers and shakers are in hospitals in your area. Volunteering to work on projects and programs with people outside of your current organization will come in handy if you need to reach out to find job opportunities.

Contact a recruiter: It doesn’t hurt to talk to a recruiter and let them know that you are interested in learning more about opportunities that arise. That way you’ll have someone already in your corner should you need to seek another position fast.

You may be perfectly happy with your current position and your current organization, but planning ahead and “future-proofing” your career is always the smart move. Career cushioning is a great way to do just that.

Heading to the New Era

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