If you’re like me, furlough entered your life due to COVID-19.
And, it sucks. I say that because I finally had my dream job and just like that, it’s gone. Of course, I still have my health and I’m getting through each day. Technically, it’s not gone but, it still sucks.
A quick definition of furloughed — unpaid leave of absence. Basically, I’m employed but I’ve been put on a leave of absence for the time being. It’s not the best feeling. There was only one other time that I had an unpaid leave of absence and that was my maternity leave.
Overall, I am still employed and my job has been covering my health insurance each month. But, it’s not reassuring. COVID-19 has thrown a curveball at so many employers and things can only go two ways — uphill or downhill. And, many of us are waiting to hear from our employers or taking that leave of absence to find something else.
Nonetheless, being furloughed can affect you in different ways. It’s uncharted territory for many of us. I’m only familiar with it because my parents work for the government and furloughs have happened before concerning them.
I had a great outlook when everything began. We were going to shut down for those two weeks and take precautions, then shut down for three months like other countries to conquer this virus. But, we didn’t. We failed if I’m being honest.
Nonetheless, it made me realize that everything is about perspective. Either I could sulk or I could do things that I enjoy. And, I sulked for about a week. That’s all I needed to get it out of my system. After that week, I bounced back to my normal self and did things that I enjoy.
That’s the key for all of this. Perspective. Things seem awful, but you have to find the joy somehow, someway.
As I tackle furlough, here are five tips that I think can be helpful to others and myself:
I am a person that believes you can put out good energy and speak things into existence. First, I say this because I feel that if you’re confident in yourself and your abilities then you should have no doubt that things will work out in your favor. Second, you are your #1 cheerleader. Saying positive affirmations and speaking positive things about yourself goes out into the universe. Without a doubt, if you’re speaking these ideas about yourself then there is some truth to it. Start off your day with positive comments about yourself, like “I’m going to have an amazing day”, “I’m going to get a new job this week/month”, “I’m going to do something great”. Hype yourself up.
Start a job search
As much as one doesn’t want to have to start this approach, it doesn’t hurt for security and stability purposes. As someone going on month four of my furlough, I don’t want to take any chances. You deserve to do what is best for you. And, you don’t have to wait around for your job to call you and bring you back. Take it from me — I didn’t apply to any roles until last month as my anxiety has started to set in.
As much as I love my job, I still have responsibilities to take care of and if there is something that aligns with my skills, then I don’t want to miss the opportunity. With this in mind, you can set a goal to how many roles you want to apply to a week or different roles that you want to look into or try out. Don’t sleep on your skills, there is something out there for you.
Re-evaluate your budget
In most cases, this should be your number one priority. It is my top priority after my child. As someone that is on unpaid leave, I’m making smart decisions on where my money should go and if certain things need to be bought. It puts a damper on my new homeowner’s joy, but I would rather have my mortgage rather than a new piece of furniture. Slashing out things like eating out or renting tons of movies can help you out tons. And, don’t be ashamed that you have to move things around. This is unprecedented territory and we’re all dealing with it in different ways. Go through your budget and see what needs to be paid on time and what banks and companies will work with you during this pandemic.
Talk to someone
The world is not pretty right now — there’s a pandemic going on and tragic things happening. It’s okay to take a step back and reach out to a friend or therapist. I highly suggest a therapist, as we don’t know what our friends are taking on. You need to take care of yourself and talking a therapist once or twice a week can do you a lot of good. Whether you talk about your furlough, current job search, or things that you’re worried about, all that matters is that you’re talking and letting it out.
Honestly, finding peace might be the best thing for your mental health. I say this as someone that believes if we keep thinking about things that don’t bring us happiness, then we’re sulking. When my furlough started, I was busy — trying to find and buy a house, then moving into the house and getting the floors done and walls painted. I was very busy, and then I wasn’t. The moments where I had nothing to do that I let my peace be messed with. And, it’s okay to sulk but put a time block on it, then move ahead. Don’t let your peace be disturbed, especially when you have the choice to do something about it.
Furlough is a lot of things.
It’s not a good thing for most of us. It’s okay for some of us that are utilizing the time to do different things. And, it can be a bad thing for other people.
For myself, I’ve taken the time to reinvest in my passions. It took me awhile as I was busy with a lot of things and then sulking. But eventually, I took the time to do thing that I want to do.
And, I understand that my furlough doesn’t define me. Neither does your’s. It has nothing to do with us and we wouldn’t be here if COVID-19 didn’t happen. So remember that bit.
We’re in this position due to a pandemic. And, we can overcome this position and whatever else we put our minds to.