WFH Week 9 – Facing Furloughs

Did you know this post was part of a seriesCheck out all of my WFH recaps here!

Well, it was really only a matter of time before the F-word was thrown around at my institution. We have no idea what that will look like and I was naive to think that furloughs wouldn’t be coming my way soon. Perhaps it’s because our leadership continues to assure us that we are vital to the operations of the university but all the platitudes in the world won’t solve a huge budget crisis. I do remain hopeful, however naive that makes me. Hopeful and anxious. I’ve been advised by those closest to me that I should look for another job, just in case. Unfortunately, universities across the country aren’t just facing furloughs but hiring and salary freezes as well. Even if they were hiring, would now really be the time to make a huge change? Not for me. I can’t even handle watching something new on Netflix let alone starting a new job during such uncertain times.

The one thing that’s been getting me through all of this unknown is mindfulness. I try my best to remain in the present moment rather than worry about the future – especially because no one has a clue about what the future will look like, whether we’re talking 24 hours from now or 24 months. I try to concern myself with only the aspects of life I can control. I can’t control the decisions the higher-ups make and therefore there’s no point in wasting too much mental energy worrying about it. I can, however, control my own response, my continued work ethic and the compassion I direct to myself and my students. So that’s what I’ll continue to focus on and I’ll deal with the rest as it comes.

I do recognize, of course, how lucky I am to still have a job at all. I’m still able to pay my rent and buy groceries. I am still able to spoil my pup, regardless of whether she deserves it that day or not… I am also incredibly fortunate to have a good support system in the form of friends, family and colleagues. I lean on them heavily because this is not the time to completely isolate myself from others. In fact, we just put out an episode of the Surviving & Thriving podcast all about staying virtually connected and the importance of it. Check it out here! Because now is the time to connect and reconnect with others, to build and maintain our community, to begin and continue to support one another. I mean, how “lucky” (and I use that word loosely) are we to be going through a pandemic in this time of modern technology? Technology that allows us to still connect with each other across the distance. So, if you haven’t reached out to anyone lately, I encourage you to do so, whether that’d be a friend, family member or a counselor. Talk to someone.

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