Worried about getting fired? Many workers try ‘career cushioning’ to avoid being downsized

With job cuts across tech, finance and other industries, why wait to get laid off when you can jump straight to hiring?

The move, called “career cushioning,” involves lining up a plan B while still working full time, especially when work is about to be cut off. This is usually done discreetly – perhaps a networking call taken during lunch, or taking the time to connect with old colleagues.

The others AmazonThe employees of .com Inc. went a step further, posting publicly that they #OpenToWork on LinkedIn while still working at the company. Everything is there for everyone to see, including their employers and employers.

One of those Amazonians is Kayla Look, a recruiting coordinator. In an interview, Look said her anxiety peaked when the layoffs were announced in November: The holidays were coming up, she had just graduated college last year and was in the middle of planning a wedding. Costs and uncertainty are rising.

The trouble started when the Seattle-based company hiring freeze a few weeks earlier. He thought he would get a break if he survived the first round of job cuts, but when the company announced this month slashing 18,000 jobs — rather than 10,000 first reported by Bloomberg and other outlets – the sense of comfort evaporated.

He knew it was time to be proactive. “It’s been two and a half months since the anxiety of getting fired started,” he said. “I’m tired of worrying.” His managers didn’t know more than he did, so no one could answer his questions, he said.

Amazon said it was a “difficult decision” to eliminate the jobs.

“We do not take these decisions lightly or underestimate how much they can affect the lives of those affected,” wrote Amazon Chief Executive Officer Andy Jassy in latest note future cuts, which will be concentrated in the People, Experience, and Technology department. “We are working to support those affected and are providing packages that include severance pay, transitional health insurance benefits, and outplacement support.” Amazon declined to comment further.

When one of Look’s team managers posted that he #OpenToWork on LinkedIn last week, it was like a green light. “He is one of my leaders – I have to follow him if he is not confident in our difficulties,” he said. “Since I’m new to the workforce, I feel like if I do this I’m not showing loyalty and therefore I’ll be cut. But no – it reassured me that it’s ok to take care of yourself.

The banner, which LinkedIn introduced in 2020 after the Covid-19 hit, has become an increasingly common sight on the platform as layoffs ripple through the tech industry.

Although he wants to stay at Amazon, Look is sending out resumes.

Robin Ryan, who works as a career coach across the lake from the e-commerce giant and has advised many looking to join (or leave) the company, says he sees the posts as a form of pushback. – a way of saying “‘Hey, I can go somewhere else.'”

At Amazon, with 1.5 million employees, the recruiter’s job is challenging: “The breakdown there is unbelievable. A lot of it is quitting, it’s a very stressful place to work,” Ryan said. Recruiters have many roles to fill – many of which are highly technical and involve in-depth searches and rigorous interviews.

Those subjected to months of uncertainty are likely to feel a little angry, Ryan said. And like Look, many of the recruiters are entry-level professionals who aren’t paid the huge salaries earned by experienced engineers. After rent, car payments and other expenses, they often have nothing left – making the prospect of losing their job even more daunting.

Look’s is one of more than half a dozen #OpenToWork posts from current Amazon employees reviewed by Bloomberg NEwS. Other employees, some of whom have accepted voluntary buyouts, wrote similar messages last month.

“In this case, you’re trying to bring people into the organization, and they just kicked you out,” Ryan said.

It looks optimistic that the waiting game will soon be over. “They were supposed to start sending letters next week,” he said. “Honestly, I’m excited about that, because I’m ready to find out if I’m there or not so I can move on.”

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