How to take back control and revitalize your career after you’ve been furloughed

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Currently, more than 6 million Americans find themselves out of work, but not out of a job. They are “temporarily laid off,” or furloughed. It’s a state of employment limbo, where workers haven’t been let go by their employer, but still aren’t getting a regular paycheck. 

If you find yourself in this situation, what should you do? Do you stick it out or cut your losses and look for a new job?

Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic is the chief talent scientist at Manpower Group, a firm that helps companies find and hire employees. He recently wrote about what to do if you’ve been furloughed for Harvard Business Review and says that while it can be stressful, you can also turn a furlough into a business opportunity.

Here are some of Chamorro-Premuzic ‘s tips for how to make the best of it if you’re furloughed:

Keep in close contact with your employer: Request recurrent and frequent feedback about the situation at your company and its economic forecast.

Re-evaluate your professional needs: Ask yourself, “am I happy with this job? Am I happy in this career? Do I see a long term future for this industry and my career in it?”

Use this as an opportunity to upskill: Make a plan for your next career steps, and identify the skills and knowledge gaps that stand between you and your dream job.

Explore alternative career paths: If you’ve been thinking about going to grad school, Chamorro-Premuzic says now could be a good time to pursue that ambition. Or, if you’re interested in switching careers entirely, use this as an opportunity to revamp your personal brand and make connections in a new industry.

The following is a transcript of the conversation, edited for clarity.

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Charlie Herman: First, let’s just start with this word, “furlough.” What exactly does that mean?

Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic: Well, it basically means it’s a temporary unpaid leave of absence where people are still in theory holding onto the job, but for an indefinite time they’re unpaid. And even though they mostly keep their benefits and healthcare, they’re sort of in suspension until the situation — in this case of the crisis — companies are speculating that even though they can pay X amount of salaries for some time, they want to keep hold of their headcount and their workforce for when things get better.

Herman: Tomas, when it comes to this question of, “can I make — can I find a way to make some money when I’m furloughed?” What’s the status on that?

Chamorro-Premuzic: The assumption when people are furloughed is that they’re still employed full-time by their employer, and that’s why they’re still getting benefits and 401(k). And so in most instances that will probably mean they can’t have another regular job.

Now I would imagine that there’s still ways to supplement your income — selling stuff and a temporary, kind of more impromptu or ad hoc ways to earn some money. I would assume also that they need to clarify and clear that with their employers so that, you know, …read more

Source:: Business Insider

      

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