When I was in high school, my dad was laid off from Coca-Cola where he worked as a third shift supervisor in the fountain plant for about 11 years. Dad was always extremely hard working. He worked three jobs when he was 18 years old to pay his family’s mortgage in the home where he lived with his parents and three younger siblings. Watching him lose his job impacted me deeply. Work was a major part of my dad’s identity, and aside from the income loss that our family of five faced, it was blow to his motivation and his sense of self.
The continuing COVID-19 pandemic has brought so much tragedy it can be numbing to think about. Even though businesses are trying to continue in the “new normal,” there are still millions of unemployed, underemployed, or job-seeking workers out there who are struggling to make ends meet, find something new, or feed their families. In February 2021, 6.9 million people still could not find a job.
Furloughnetwork.org was created by a squad of big-hearted and talented people who wanted to help. They harnessed their creative talents and put their networks to use in developing a blog, a web/podcast, and partnerships with other organizations who wanted to help workers who needed a boost getting back on their feet. A long-time supporter of Furlough Network, I cheered from the sidelines as Sean and the gang kept the optimism and helpful resources flowing.
A year rolled around, and the squad asked for help to sustain this cool thing that they created. So, I raised my hand and decided to join in.
As we passed the one-year mark of this global health crisis and vast economic shock, we still stand ready to help. We’ll create community among the furloughed, the underemployed, and the laid off. We’ll lend a supportive shoulder, a listening ear, and a helping hand to those who ask for it. We’ll form partnerships with those who can offer resources and connect them with those who can use them the most.
Most of all, we’ll try to restore hope and inspiration to those who need it most. People like my dad, who hit a temporary rough patch.
About 18 months after being laid off, my uncle gave my dad a hand in finding him a job at an engineering firm, where he has worked for the past 15 years or so. Furlough Network can be just that for its members – a shot at another chance to find employment during a tough time.
Happy job hunting! We hope it won't last furlong!