Design Yourself 121: Making Lemonade – Tips for Furloughed Government Workers and Others Unexpectedly Out of Work

As of publishing this episode, the US partial government shutdown is into its fifth week. If you or someone you know is expectedly out of work, this episode for you. While the inspiration for the 4 tips shared are the many individuals who are effected by the shutdown, these are lessons gleaned from coaching many individuals through various interruptions from work-as-planned. Sometimes the interruption is undesired, like a layoff or a furlough. Other times the interruption was sought after, like a sabbatical or a pause between jobs. No matter how you landed in a space without work, this episode walks you through 4 ideas for how to shape your time off.

Ideas Shared

4 Ideas To Do When Out Of Work

  1. Find A Furlough Job – Entrepreneurs are used to getting scrappy about finding additional money; but this isn’t a leadership skill in which most government employees are practiced. There are lots of options for thinking creatively about how to find funds, e.g. start with a positive mindset, look for simple ways to start. Use this time off as a chance to try out something you’ve always wanted to do but never had time for.
  2. Prepare for A Leap – It’s not uncommon for career transitions to come from life disruptions. Sometimes those are welcome, like the arrival of a new child or wedding. Sometimes they are unwelcome like the loss of a partner, being laid off, or a furlough. No matter how the disruption arrives, the key is how you respond. You can use this time to network, tighten up your resume, rethink the “story” you tell about who you are at work, and more.
  3. Get Clear on Your Money Story – I recognize that for many furloughed employees, there is a real worry about making ends meet. Money (especially lack thereof) can put us all squarely into the spin cycle of “not enough.” I would encourage all furloughed employees to get really clear on what they need to get by, what is truly enough. This will empower many people who are worried right now to take a breath. 
  4. Embrace the Pause – If you can quiet your money worries, now is a great time to get out of the hamster wheel of worrying about the shut down (silence your news notifications!) and lean into having time off. Get outside, get moving, read that book that’s been gathering dust, gather with good friends. Savor this time as an unexpected sabbatical. Imagine if you were gifted a week to yourself. What would you choose to do to really take advantage of this time?

Links and Resources