In this recession, companies are turning to furloughs, or unpaid leave, as a way to cut costs without cutting people. As you can imagine, being furloughed is never a good thing. Companies in good financial shape generally don’t furlough their staff, it’s usually companies that need to cut costs or are having difficulty with cash flow. It’s not uncommon for a company to furlough staff one week and then decide they need to have layoffs the next. While that’s not always the case, you plan for the worst and hope for the best.
So, what should you do when you’re on furlough?
Take The Day Off
If you haven’t had a day off in a while, take advantage of the furlough by taking it easy. Complete some jobs you’ve been meaning to do around the house, go out hiking or just walk around the local mall. Take it easy, let your mind relax and unwind a little, and don’t stress yourself about the fact that you’re on furlough.
It’s important for you to be relaxed because you will need to keep your wits about you if you are laid off. People make mistakes when they are under stress or emotionally compromised. If you’re furloughed for a week, take the first day off to decompress and remember that you have the rest of the week to be “productive.” By resetting yourself, you are able to give your all the rest of the time.
Polish & Update Your Resume
I recommend that you update your resume every three months  because it’s important to keep that document as fresh as possible. If you don’t want to update it that often, consider keeping an accomplishment journal  so you have a good record of your career successes.
With some unpaid free time on your hand, it’s important to remain productive. While it’s good to take the first day off, you probably don’t want to relax for the entire furlough period. By polishing and updating your resume, you are preparing yourself for what may be coming down the pike.
Rather than just worrying about your job, you’re taking control of the situation and doing something about it – that’s empowering.
Search For A New Job
This is something you must do with great care. Since we’re preparing for the day we may get fired, it’s important to start the shopping process now. Do everything you would do if you had been actually fired, rather than furloughed. If you were going to put your resume up on online job sites like Monster.com, then submit it.
Furloughs may be a good time for you to reflect on your career choices. Maybe you don’t like what you’re doing and want to go back to school? Maybe you do enjoy what you do and want to recommit yourself to doing it better. Or maybe you simply don’t have that luxury because your financial situation is so tight and you can’t afford to sit around, that’s important to recognize also.
In the end, you’re forced to take the time off so it’s best to be as productive as possible with it. Prepare for the worst and hope for the best.
Do you have any other suggestions for workers being furloughed?
(Photo: pesut )