Filed under: I am a dork, I clearly have nothing better to say, My rose-colored glasses, News Girl, The Woes of Work
When my company implemented furloughs – required unpaid days off work – it came as no surprise. Most media outlets were already jumping on that bandwagon, forcing full-time workers into 32-hour weeks to save a few million dollars. But I never realized how grateful I’d be for the free time and the lost wages.
Unlike many others who work in this environment, I have a supplementary income from the restaurant I serve at on weekends. So when the furloughs were announced – one per month through September – I figured an extra shift or two each month would even out the monetary loss. And with just as much cash in hand, I took advantage of the work-free days by relaxing at home, conducting massive cleanups of my entire house or heading out of town to enjoy a long weekend*.
September arrived and I scheduled the last of my furloughs – used, along with paid vacation time, for a trip to the Outer Banks of NC. And then, shortly after returning, the news came: More furloughs would be necessary.
At first I was disappointed. Talk of wage raises was swirling prior to this announcement, but that quickly faded as six additional work-free eight-hour days were planned before 2010.
Less than a day later though, my anger and agitation turned to relief as I remembered how much these furloughs allowed me to do so far this year that was previously beyond my reach when I worked six or seven days each week.
Not only did I visit Scranton on a non-holiday weekend in August, but I traveled to the Outer Banks this month, Virginia Beach in July, Penn State in April, Carowinds in June and so much more. (And thanks to the newly implemented furloughs, I’m heading back to Penn State in two weeks for a four-day weekend.)
These furloughs have strangely provided me with an amazing year of adventures and fun. So perhaps I won’t get a raise – bummer! – and maybe I’ll have to grit my teeth through a few more waitressing shifts, but with so little paid time off, these furloughs have helped me attain a happiness that was slightly missing in 2008 because all I seemed to do was work.
I guess this somewhat defines “turning lemons into lemonade.” I have seriously made the absolute best I could out of a very crappy situation, and what more could I have asked for? My wallet might struggle here and there, but I’m genuinely happy and that’s worth eating Ramen noodles for an entire week on occasion, for sure.
So, have you been in a similar situation where you’ve been able to “turn lemons into lemonade”? I’d love to hear about it. And if you’re in the media business, how have furloughs impacted your lives? I’m curious to find out.
* I suppose it should be noted that I can afford and often schedule one weekend off at the restaurant each month as well.
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