Reflections Upon the Furlough

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I’ve been on furlough since the end of March, but on Monday 13th July I’m finally returning to work.

Plenty has happened over the course of these three and a half months, so I feel compelled to record them here.

In many ways, I’ve been quite fortunate. My employer, to their credit, has been supportive. They’ve ensured that I lost no income and reassured me over job security multiple times. Thank you for this.

On the other hand, it has been quite stressful. Some might view it as an extended paid holiday. Sounds great right?

Not if the holiday never ends.

Anxieties

As time elapses, a series of things happen. 

You wonder if you’ll ever go back to work. After all, if things are going fine without you, where’s the incentive for your employer to keep you on? 

You also consider the following:

“if I’m one of the folks on furlough, what will happen to me if the business
ends up needing to make redundancies?”

Stuck at home due to a fear of bringing home COVID-19 to a pregnant partner, and with return to work nowhere in sight, even the least introspective mind will wander.

Furlough, combined with a strict lockdown, has had the potential to be a mental health nightmare. I think we’ll probably start to see the fallout from this over the coming months.

I’m happy to say that, personally, I’ve come through it relatively unscathed. Had this happened a couple of years ago, I would not have been so lucky.

I know that this hasn’t been the case for everyone though.

To those of you who have struggled and/or lost their jobs, my thoughts are with you.

Decorating

So, to keep myself organised throughout furlough and lockdown, I put on my adulting hat and got to work!

I’ve repainted the bathroom and study. I’ve also fully decorated and furnished the nursery in anticipation for my little one (she’s due this October – very exciting!). 

It has been quite therapeutic. It has given me a structure that lack of full-time work deprived me of. Knowing that I’m helping my partner, and making the home a better place for Baby, is incredibly fulfilling.

I’ve blasted through a few audiobooks whilst decorating. Michelle Obama’s ‘Becoming’ and Patrick Ness’s ‘A Monster Calls’ remain my predominant lockdown narrations. I’ll forever associate the former with painting ceilings – something Mrs Obama will no doubt be thrilled about…

I even had a go at the garden. Turns out I don’t have as much of a green thumb as I hoped I would! Still, there are a few less weeds.

Anyway. Time for a tale about hedgehogs!

Hedgehogs

Speaking of the garden, I have baby hedgehogs.

My good friend, Karina, found them in her garden in a place unfortunately prone to flooding. Unable to find a new spot for them, and with rescue centres already inundated with unwanted animals, my partner and I volunteered to take them in.

We were delighted when, later that day, ‘mummy hog’ and four hedgehog babies (affectionately named hoglets) arrived at our place.

Living in our shed, with minimal intervention, we gave them their own space, popping our heads in now and again to check their health (and snap a few pics!).

I’m thrilled to say that all four babies survived and are growing rapidly into reputable young hedgehog citizens!

Hedgehogs are adorable. But they’re also being found less and less in the wild.

So, whilst it has been an immense privilege looking after them, we will be releasing them back into the wild, once we’re confident they have the right survival skills.

Tales from Absurdia

And then there’s Tales from Absurdia. This fine old place in the corner of the web. Thank you for visiting by the way!

I started this website for a number of reasons.

Firstly, I work in content marketing and blogging professionally is a big part of what I do on a daily basis. In that sense, starting a personal blog was a no-brainer. I had all the time in the world and launching a blog would provide structure to my week.

Secondly, I fancied improving my digital marketing skills. I learned about the different types of hosting options, dabbled in learning CSS, and picked up a few more new skills that will serve me well in my career. Look at me – I’m a webmaster now!Tales from Absurdia Homepage

Thirdly, though not finally, I’m passionate about literature. In particular, helping people learn to love reading. 

In everything I do, work or otherwise, I question whether what I’m doing is making a difference in some way.

One of the best things I’ve ever done was assisted reading. Whilst in Sixth Form, I had a Year 7 come up to the Sixth Form block and read with me for half an hour, once a week.

He’ll have to forgive me for not remembering his name, but my Year 7 spoke English as a second language and I believe he had some form of dyslexia. When he first came to me, he chose a book (a pretty basic 5-8 y/o text) and struggled to read it without my assistance.

By the end of the year, we had not only finished that book, but even gone on to read most of the Joe Calzaghe autobiography together.

His confidence grew with his reading ability. It was absolutely magic to witness.

Returning to Tales from Absurdia… if I can recommend books to book-ish sorts, become a respected voice in the book review circle, and – most importantly – inspire non-readers along the way, then I’ve done my job.

Starting this website has unleashed a creative optimism that I’ve been trying to foster for a while. Long may it continue.

I’ve learned a few things about myself, picked up some new skills, and met some tremendous people along the way. Speaking of…

The Heroes of Lockdown

I’ve met (online, obviously) and collaborated with some fab people throughout this furlough/lockdown period.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank them below…if you value what I do, please consider following them and checking out their work.

They have, directly or indirectly, helped me grow this blog.

Thank you. Each one of you inspires me every day.

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4 thoughts on “Reflections Upon the Furlough”

  1. I can relate to this post because I’ve also been on a personal journey during this horrendous year. I’ve used the time away from work to examine my direction, ambitions and people in my life. I know I’ll come out a better person from it. Although I must stay committed to making real change.

    Thank you for your words of support and encourage. It’s people like you who make blogging all worthwhile.

    Reply
    • From the outside looking in, you’ve done an incredible amount of work this year. I’m impressed with what you’re building at Concealed Voices. Like you said, just got to stick at it. You don’t need to put so much pressure on yourself though – if you can help just one person, you’re doing a good job.

      Thanks for the comment, Joey.

      Reply

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