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“furlough” March 11, 2009

Posted by That Guy in Definition, Economic Downturn.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,


As companies look to cut costs, the first place they tend to go is to the employees. In many cases, salaries are the biggest expense a company has. So they implement percentage cuts, or fire managers whose jobs can be done by employees, or fire employees whose jobs can be done by already-overworked employees. In a world like that, the best possible option is the furlough.

CC-licensed photo by Flickr user niseag03

CC-licensed photo by Flickr user niseag03

A furlough is basically unpaid leave, except that you still have to pay your payroll taxes, benefits deductions, and so on. Most furloughs last a week, or they’re done one day every week. It’s the former, though, that more people are facing these days.

So companies come up with humorous words to soften the blow.

Words like furcation.

See, a furlough can be a vacation, if you do it right. If you have enough money saved up, you really can go on your yearly ski trip or weekend in Vegas, and you don’t have to spend vacation days. You can work around the house, redo your garden, clean the carpet, take a long walk, read a good book, get drunk and commisserate with others on furcation… it’s up to you.

Or you can do something productive:

  1. Schedule interviews. Looking for a new job? (Everyone’s looking for a new job.) Schedule your interviews for your furcation. Beats making excuses to your boss.
  2. Learn a new skill. Spend $40 on a good PHP, VB.Net, or Rails book and learn some coding. Or just figure out HTML and CSS. When you can put familiarity with computer languages on your resume, you instantly become more valuable.
  3. Freelance. You have plenty of time. Why not make a little money?
  4. Work more hours at your second job. Obviously if your second job has instituted cuts, this won’t help, but if you work at the mall in the evenings or on the weekends, you might as well pick up shifts.

Here’s the problem, though: if you’re not making money, you’re losing it, and that’s depressing. Depressed people don’t work; they sit on the couch and clear off the DVR. They snack all day, or go out to lunch all the time. They don’t exercise, or freelance, or learn, or clean.

Don’t let your furcation go to waste watching reruns. Do something useful. Inactivity breeds inactivity.

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