Perspectives on the Job Market during the Pandemic

There are many words we hear in the workforce. Some of these words include hired, promotion, unemployment, disability, fired, and layoffs. But one word that is not heard too often is the word ‘furlough.’ As if the news of a pandemic alone was not bad enough, back in March we faced a lockdown which took the world by surprise. Suddenly, everything changed and we had to adapt to a new lifestyle that involved using computers and phones all day and night for school and work.

As a working college student, I was unsure of how we were going to handle it all. Will we ever be in the classroom again? Will we ever see another group project in person? Thankfully, the transition was smooth and the fact we were all experiencing this change together made it a bit better.
But the pandemic not only impacted school and the way we learned in a classroom, it impacted jobs. What about the students who were working? How were they impacted?

Personally, the transition as a working individual was not as smooth as school. This brings us back to the word we rarely hear, furlough. According to a *CNBC article, a furlough is defined as “a temporary leave of employees due to special needs of a company or employer, which may be due to economic conditions at the specific employer or in the economy as a whole.” What does this mean, exactly? Like many of us prior to March, I had never been through a pandemic. The scariest part of it all was that my employer never provided me with direct answers to my questions since they did not know the answers either. When will we be able to come back? But most importantly, how was I going to pay my bills and rent?

The only comforting thought was that many workers, employers, and employees were thinking the same thing. Every day the news was on, these questions and concerns were being brought up. But within this gloominess, there was also news of hope and stories of support where society was coming together trying to make a terrible situation better. No doubt it has been difficult. I have finally had time to think about life and how my place in it matters. Social media platforms are all we have had to make our voices heard, and to find ways to come out of this as confident individual with motivation to succeed.

Ultimately, this pandemic has brought us down, but it has given us much. An opportunity to learn and grow, to understand ourselves even further and to develop skills we wished we had time to learn before. Whether it is learning how to cook, knit, play guitar, or search the internet for free courses, our time became our own and perspective is the only thing that has mattered.

Many say this has taught them to never take the present for granted, that tomorrow is never guaranteed. These are all things I learned. Always be prepared, make a savings account, and most importantly, find work in something you truly enjoy and feel appreciated doing.

*Nova, Annie. “Your Boss Said, ‘You’re Furloughed.’ What Does That Mean Exactly?” CNBC, CNBC, 17 Apr. 2020, www.cnbc.com/2020/04/17/heres-what-you-need-to-know-about-being-furloughed.html.

By Jennifer Carreno
Jennifer Carreno Jennifer Carreno