I was really fortunate to start a great new job the start of this year. I knew about the virus then, but I didn’t foresee that it would impact me personally or professionally. Maybe none of us did. I have been made redundant before, but I’ve never been furloughed. In April, I began my furlough journey.
The U.K. has a temporary furlough scheme (now running through the end of October). It allows companies to furlough employees that can’t work because of the virus. Employees are paid 80% of their income up to £2500 per month. Companies issue the payments through normal payroll and are reimbursed by HMRC.
I’m happy that this program is available in case the alternative is to be laid off. Since I’ve immigrated to the UK, I may not be entitled to unemployment benefits. At least, that is what’s implied when you migrate since citizens are concerned about people that may be migrating in order to take advantage of benefits that may not be available in their home countries. I’ve never needed to receive unemployment benefits, and I hope that continues to be the case.
We just sold our Amsterdam home, and my partners contract with the Scottish government was extended through the end of the year. Hopefully, this will help me keep on top of the bills until things return to normal.
Financial circumstances is an obvious worry. But mental health is also a challenge. I’m normally a very optimistic and happy person. But, being furloughed feels very isolating. Fortunately, my manager reaches out to me each week to check in with me. I know it sounds desperate, but I look forward to that communication.
The isolation, uncertainty, and boredom seems to lead to depression. I won £140 from the lottery last week and was in queue at Asda to cash it in. My partner called to give me some good news about our plans to move from Kilmarnock to Carnwath (more on that later). Instead of feeling happy, I swelled up with tears.
I realised then that I was feeling depressed and that I needed to take care of my mental health during this crisis. I’ve re-dedicated myself to my diet and exercise goals. I decided to do some online training in topics I like. And, I decided to create this blog.