Posted March 16, 2022 by Mark Perna
Episode Title: Identity Cushions and Why We Need Them
What’s an identity cushion, and why do we need them? Let’s talk about it, coming up next on The Perna Syndicate.
Ep 418 show:
Hello and welcome to The Perna Syndicate! Work’s been rough for many people since the pandemic, but it s eems to be hitting younger workers more. Several studies have found that young people are now struggling with mental health problems at higher rates than those in older generations.
One reason for this may be that young people have fewer identity cushions, or markers by which individuals find their place, purpose and sense of normalcy. Identity cushions help us know who we are, what we’re doing in life, and why we’re doing it. They lessen the impact of adverse life circumstances and allow us to deal with stress productively.
Many younger-gen professionals were hit by the pandemic with very little identity cushioning to soften the blow. Older workers, on the other hand, tended to have stronger identity cushions to better absorb the impact of a major stressor like the pandemic.
This lack of cushioning has hurt younger workers’ mental health. So how can employers help? One way is to give them space and resources to start building the identity cushions that help protect their mental health. At work, this means giving them ownership of their day and the freedom to develop as professionals. They need resources and support, but also the space to use those resources as they see fit.
No one can give another person an identity cushion. It must be something the individual creates for themselves, something they choose to be or to become. Let’s empower them to start building the identity cushions that all of us need to thrive.
On the next episode of The Perna Syndicate, what role does financial resilience play in a person’s mental health? We’ll talk about that and more tomorrow. See you then!