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Finding your way through furlough

Diego Arias
Business Development Executive

To say a lot has changed since COVID-19 has entered our lives is an understatement. We have drastically changed the way we live, do business, and how we interact with each other. Another change I’ve witnessed is new additions to our vocabulary—terms like pandemic, social distancing, and a big one for us, furlough.

We’ve seen this word in the news, on our screens, and I’m sure (unfortunately) in many internal emails. So, what does it actually mean?

When someone has been furloughed, it means that they are told not to go to work and thus do not receive their pay. Furloughs are temporary, and usually, those who are impacted will get to return to their regular job following this period. Furloughs can last a week or months, depending on the severity of the external factor causing it. In today’s world, the magnitude of the COVID-19 outbreak has made it very difficult to assess how long these massive furlough periods will last. In some cases, furloughs may eventually lead to a complete layoff if the causing event is significant enough.

Unfortunately, there are a handful of industries that have experienced a significant impact. We see these effects in country-wide examples of furloughs and layoffs. We’ve seen a lot of the nation’s most powerful executives having to either drastically reduce or entirely forgo their salaries in efforts to support relief funds – for example, Marriott International’s CEO Arne Sorenson has given up his entire 2020 salary. Marriott, being in the hotel and hospitality space, has taken a severe hit as people have drastically cut down on travel worldwide. Companies in the live sports and entertainment sector, as well, are not bringing in any revenue at all due to distancing measures that have canceled any and all shows, concerts, gatherings, corporate events.

What can one do during a furlough? The first is to leverage your network. If your network needs help, then begin to build it. Take advantage of virtual networking opportunities, connect with old colleagues, join online groups.  If you are not on LinkedIn every day – now is the time to get back on that. Keep your profile up-to-date, follow, and connect with the right people and always have your pulse on what is going on, whether if it’s local or elsewhere. I’m seeing people using LinkedIn as a highly useful platform to help keep everyone connected. Whether it’s an industry wizard, like Simon Sinek offering free services through videos, or feel-good stories of how someone has seen massive success within the past few months – you cannot go wrong with scrolling and networking on LinkedIn. 

Another great opportunity is E-Learning. E-Learning is an emerging platform that is keeping folks busy. Online course content platforms like Blackboard and Sylvan Learning are certainly being relied on now more than ever. But I’ve also noticed a spike for platforms like MasterClass that focus on virtual development for adults across many different disciplines. I see ads for MasterClass pop up all over my social media feeds.  Content ranges from Gordon Ramsey teaching how to perfect your cooking to former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz sharing insight on business leadership. Give it a try! Now is a great time not only work from home but learn from home.

From furloughs to layoffs, to the fortunate ones living in both physical safety and job security, we’re all in a state of adaption.  You may be looking for a new job ASAP, or these unprecedented times have given you a moment to reflect, and it’s perhaps made you reconsider aspects of your role and career trajectory, now is the time to learn, embrace change and persevere. At Corporate Brokers, we’re always looking for ways to connect and thrive.

For more on how we can engage during these times, click here to connect.

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