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Written By Hannah Risser-Sperry | May 28, 2020

We’re still in it.

There’s endless uncertainty, people areĀ still waiting for stimulus checks or sitting in the unemployment queue. But there’s also been some time to get used to this new normal: we’ve had a couple months of layoffs (or watching our friends and loved ones being laid off) and now it’s generally understood how things work.

Furloughs, however, are a different beast. Per that Harvard Business Review article, they are “temporary, unpaid leaves of absence that several businesses have bestowed on employees due to financial hardships.” Generally it means that while you don’t have a salary, you maintain your benefits and your employer expects to bring you back to work when they’re able.

As PPP money runs out, you may be hearing about more of these. In advance of that, we spoke to our friend Cara Schaeffer, who you may remember as a RuNT speaker last fall in Los Angeles. She is a furloughed Senior Lead Recruiter for the Content and Tech teams at BuzzFeed. Let’s hear what she’s dealing with, shall we?

You’ve been furloughed; what does that mean?

Due to a drastic decrease in hiring, the majority of our recruitment team was impacted by the furlough. We are furloughed until mid-August but, unfortunately, no promises of bringing us back on at that point. If they don’t, we will get paid out a severance and our unused PTO. In the meantime, our health insurance is being paid 100% by the company.

Can you collect unemployment?

Yes, you can collect unemployment during a furlough and you should! Whether you’re brought back or not, you’ll want extra cash coming in to help alleviate any stresses you have about money until you’re brought back or find new employment.

Will you return to your job?

Unsure. As mentioned above, there are no promises of being brought back on. I may not have the option of going back which is why I’m focusing on finding new and exciting employment elsewhere.

Are you looking for new opportunities?

Yes, absolutely. I look forward to continuing my recruiting career and making a difference in an organization with strong company culture, creative leadership, and cross-functional collaboration.

In the current moment, how are you staying busy?

I signed up for LinkedIn Premium so I’ve been keeping busy with the training modules, webinars, etc. There are some wonderful recruiting groups I belong to which have been great for networking during these times. The gym I belong to has been offering remote classes so it’s been nice to connect with familiar faces during the week. I also have the cutest pup so taking time to just relax and enjoy endless puppy snuggles.

Said puppy, Watson, snuggling.

What do you think employers can learn from this current moment?

Employers can start trusting employees more. The work is getting done and honestly, in most cases, people are feeling more productive working at home. Employers should start offering more flexible working now that we have become pros in the remote working space. Give more opportunities to those who raise their hands and not just to those you assume can do the work best.

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