From Furlough to Freedom
2020 has been the year we’d all rather forget. Agreed?
As if the absolute train-wreck that was COVID and lockdown weren’t bad enough, the government made us learn a whole new language that we never even knew existed. Our new dictionary included such gems as social-distancing, self-isolate and, the slightly embarrassing...elbow bump (that never really caught on, did it? Hmmm, I wonder why...)
Some weren’t even words. PPE and WFH slotted seamlessly into our lives, despite the fact most of the population had never heard of them before.
Oh, and if I hear the words unprecedented, new normal (shudder) or flattening the curve again, I may just scream. Although I’ll probably need some curve flattening of my own, especially after Christmas.
One word stood out about all the others though.
The new f-word for 2020...
Yep, you guessed it - FURLOUGH.
For some lucky beggars, furlough has been an extended, enormous, blissful holiday - a time to learn something new, or spend quality time with your loved ones, baking endless banana loaves; or finishing that 5000-piece jigsaw puzzle that’s been haunting you since March.
But for every lucky beggar, there’s at least one person for whom furlough has been a period of stress and uncertainty; the shadow of redundancy hanging over them, like a big black cloud obscuring the sun. Some of these people may never go back to their jobs, or at least not the jobs that they once knew. And this is where we get real, because whilst we like to include a little joke or two in our blog posts, we also know when to quit trying to be funny - and this is one of those occasions.
We started this blog talking about words, and if there’s one word that tops all others for really horrible connotations its redundant or redundancy.
So, we’re going to flip that on its head and invent a new word - after all, 2020 is the year of the new word (see above). In the Mixing Jug dictionary there is henceforth a new entry, where redundancy used to be - re-envisioning.
OK. So maybe we didn’t invent a new word. Because that word, according to my online dictionary, does actually exist. But the point is, redundancy doesn’t have to mean the end of the line, or a full stop. What if we started to see redundancy as an opportunity to start something new? A shift in mentality. A re-set. A re-defining of what we want out of life.
And this is where it gets really interesting. Because if you can re-envision a new future for yourself, you’re already half-way there.
Ever heard of Steve Jobs?
You know, that kind of eccentric bloke who just so happened to invent ONE OF THE MOST RECOGNISABLE AND LIFE-CHANGING TECHNOLOGY BRANDS IN THE UNIVERSE.
Yeah, that guy.
He was fired from his own company.
Let’s just all take a moment to read that again.
He was fired from his own company.
At the age of 30.
Incidentally, he was also a college dropout.
Jobs said in a later speech at Stanford University that, "I didn't see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life."
Like many workaholics, Jobs had literally turned into his job. But tying your self-worth to your career in this way can be hugely detrimental - because if it all comes crashing down, it can cause you to question your identity as well. For Steve Jobs, being set free from the burden of responsibility allowed him to move forward.
Still not convinced?
Check out these amazing examples of entrepreneurial spirit at startups.co.uk. From a bank manager who now runs a successful ice-cream van, to an IT manager who set up his own GoogleAd Words Consultancy. All made redundant or unemployed. All now killing it in their own niche businesses.
And they aren’t the only ones who saw redundancy as an opportunity. A report published in 2019 showed that more than a third of people decided to use redundancy as a chance to become their own boss. Of these ‘redundant-preneurs,’ 57 per cent started working for themselves as a freelancer or consultant, 48 per cent started a business and 12 per cent invested in another business and started working there. As Karneet Chowdhury, business manager at Direct Line for Business says, “Being made redundant can be one of the most stressful and unsettling periods of anyone’s working life. But it can also be a catalyst for change and force people to take a step back and think about what they want in their future career.”
Wise words indeed. That’s re-envisioning in action, right there.
It’s all about re-framing the experience and turning something negative into something positive. Losing your job challenges every part of your life - from your relationships, to your self-worth, to your financial security. But we can use those challenges to our benefit, and here’s a stat to prove it - 80% of people who started their businesses as a result of redundancy claim it was their life crisis that had, in fact, taught them the survival skills needed to make it in business.
And redundancy, sorry, re-envisioning, has other benefits too. Often starting your own business or becoming self-employed gives you a greater degree of flexibility with working hours - meaning you can work around your family or other commitments. You can be the boss. Need time off to go to school sports day? No problem. Want to spend the day slobbing about in your pyjamas? * Go right ahead. And change can be good too - after all, there ain’t nothing exciting about being stuck in a rut.
If all this re-envisioning sounds too good to be true, we can assure you it isn’t. And we know, because we’re living it right now and we want to share it with everyone else. We’ve got heaps of new and exciting opportunities coming up, from our tried and tested coffee and juice bar franchises, to more home-based business opportunities which we’re planning to launch in 2021. They’re all there for the taking, just get in touch and we’ll tell you more.
We’re going to sign off now, with the words of another great ‘failure;’ a woman who was told she was “unfit for television news,” by a TV producer.
According to Forbes, Oprah Winfrey is now worth $3 billion.
“The greatest discovery of all time is that a person can change his future by merely changing his attitude.”
Well said Oprah.
And don’t forget - you’ve got this.
And we’ve got you.
*We’re not advocating you do this every day. That’s possibly not the best way to run your own business, although I hear some freelancers pull this off very well ;-)