Thu 9 Apr 2020: furloughed

I’ve been kind of expecting this for a week or so, but today my employer decided to “furlough” (what a ghastly word) about 30% of its employees. And as I’m one of the most recent starters, with my consequent lack of knowledge of internal systems I was expecting that when it did happen, I’d be one of those selected. And I was. On the technical side of the business they’ve kept the Operations team and about half the developers, so enough to keep things ticking over and deal with problems that arise.

The government “job retention scheme” will pay 80% of salary, but only up to a maximum of £2,500 a month (which is as near as damnit the national median salary. Coincidence? I think not!), so I’ll have quite a bit less coming in than normal. On the other hand, my expenditure is also way down, with no travel, no meals at work, no going out in the evening, no theatre etc, and I’ve got plenty of savings, so financially at least I’m still doing OK. I am well aware that I am still one of the lucky ones!

I do wonder though how I’ll cope with having so much less to do. Towards the end of last year when I was between jobs I deliberately took a long period off work, but that was with the intention of filling the time with other stuff. Enforced isolation and no work – well, I’m not sure how I’m going to cope. Working at home may have meant no face-to-face contact with my colleagues over the past weeks, but at least we’ve been chatting online including with video calls. That’s over, as the government pay scheme is predicated on me not working, which is being interpreted as having no (or at least only minimal) access to company systems. I can obviously fill my time with passive media consumption, but I think I’ll need more. I need to think of a project or two that I can do – and without spending any money!

Finally, a geeky aside: you may have noticed a slight re-design here. That’s Mr. Axemonkey’s fault. He pointed out, quite reasonably, that the previous design was not very accessible, as links in the body text were a greenish blue that disappears for colour blind people, and didn’t have the traditional underlining. This new design will still pose colour problems for some people, but not as severely, and at least links are now underlined as our Lord Tim intended. The designers amongst you may be interested in the online tool I used for checking it.

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