This week at work starts the beginning of our furloughs. Twice a month we have two unpaid days off. It equals about 10 percent of our pay being reduced. It was either this or massive layoffs- and even though I have over 10 years of time where I work, I wasn’t convinced I wouldn’t be laid off. So I figured lesser of two evils is to have a job at less pay- so when the union vote came down- I voted for furloughs. The fact that we had a massive budget reduction had been made abundantly clear and it was something I worried about, fretted over, lost sleep over- for months and months. I would go from a “whatever, I really have no control, make lemonade out of lemons” attitude to a “fuck! what will I do if I am laid off?” panic-a-tude/depression-a-tude within the span of a day for months and months. I still go through this- because they have been drumming into our heads that furloughs do not mean there will be no layoffs- just not massive ones- only it’s more lemonade and less panic…for now.
Anyway- in one of my panic-a-tude moments I started researching (read: googling) on things like: polishing resumes, applying for unemployment, how to stand out in an interview, and what to do if you are furloughed/laid off. etc. In my research I came across an article and I really wish I had bookmarked it but alas I did not, it had to do with what to do if you were furloughed/laid-off. And one of the top pieces of advice in this article was to “Try not to take it personally.” Um ok. At the time I thought well- you know that is stupid. Why would you take it personally unless you were fired. Then you might take it personally.
I have to say though, that now that I am officially furloughed, I can see how someone can take it personally. I like my job and I think I give it a pretty good effort. It was kind of hard to sit through my annual performance review and hear that I am doing great and that my review was outstanding- only to know that I am getting paid 10 percent less than I was before. Cost of living increase? How about a cost of living decrease…my pay goes down while things like the sales tax in my city goes up. Yeah…It’s depressing and really sucks. Our furlough schedule while fixed isn’t really regular so it’s not like I could pick up a second job to try to pick up more income. I am glad it’s just me and Roxy that depend on my pay- because if I had a family this could be a serious blow (see that…I just made some lemonade there- look at me juice!)
I tend to obsess and panic about things like this- and I am trying REALLY hard not to. I am trying to be a “hey yey for me I get an extra day off this week” person instead of the “great- I am getting less money can I really afford to do xyz this year” person. And while I know the decrease in my hours and pay is NOT my fault, it is not due to my performance or the person I am, I can see how you might associate the two. So I am going to get through this…by trying not to take it personally.