Back from furlough

by Jack – Oct 13, 2020

So I’m back after a long summer on furlough and many are asking me: “What was it like to be on the payroll but not be at work.” Well here’s my summary.

My initial response to being furloughed was one of feeling down. When I understood I was not able to engage further with working duties I worried about how I would challenge my mind. I thought: “What am I going to do with all this free time now?” I’d worked all my life barring a year in Australia in my early 20’s.

I was able to relieve my wife (who was still working) of any home-schooling duties and take them all upon myself. It made for interesting times with our six-year-old – me having to learn to have more patience, offer guidance, whilst trying to embrace the change in my life. I thought I was a Dad of The Year 2020 candidate with my daughter – being out in the sunshine most days, walks, teaching her how to ride a bike, then going on rides through the forests, picnics. It was summer, everything was great. I did have a feeling of guilt, my wife missing out on all this – normally all three of us would have been together.

But I was determined to make the most of this time and to create memories: and I have. Bizarrely, this was something positive that COVID gave me.

But thinking about work never stopped. Daily I’d always wonder if such-and-such a job went to press, how other people were coping, what new business Wardour had won and how the agency was evolving?

Then came the time for my daughter to go back to school. And I was left with the sense of loss once again and a question of what will consume my time now?

Before this during lockdown, any work that needed doing in the interior of our house got done, as seemed to be the case with most of the UK.

Fortunately, after term-time started my time became consumed with big exterior building work on my home which needed to be done before the winter kicked in.

I found myself negotiating on cost and time with builders daily (when they fancied turning up) - let’s say a different type of challenge to my role at Wardour negotiating with account managers, and the design team. And I stayed active in the gym each day, carried on doing school runs, took an afternoon walk, and made sure the household chores filled up my Monday to Friday.

All in all, I tried best to keep the week as structured and disciplined as possible, just to differentiate from the weekends and enjoy them with the wife and family as I would at the end of a working week. Because I knew that sitting around the house watching sports, reruns of 80s classics wasn’t going to do me any favours, especially with my wife working flat-out. But you could ask me what was going on in my street – I knew.

When I got the call to return to Wardour a sense of relief and a feeling of being fortunate to have a job to come back to came over me. I’ve now also been given a chance to broaden my skills working on a different side of the agency alongside my previous role. So while it’s been a challenge, in a way COVID has opened up new opportunities for me. It’s a chapter of my life which offered me a new perspective, but not one I am in a rush to repeat.

Published Oct 13, 2020

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