I fall into the ‘not furloughed’ category – found out on Monday.
The boss had asked us for our preferences a few days ago, but with no guarantee that we’d all get what we wanted. They were still making decisions about how the furloughing would actually work – maybe they would pick individual stores to close, or they would furlough entire departments, in which case individual preferences would make no difference. Nobody knew.
In the end, all the stores are staying open, operating with a skeleton staff. They need to ensure there are enough key holders, enough forklift truck drivers, enough people who can work the computer system, and so on. At my store they’re dropping down to 19, from a normal staff of 60.
I’d said that I would prefer not to be furloughed and to carry on working if at all possible. I’d rather not take a pay cut, obviously – but more importantly the work gives me six hours a day when I don’t have time to think too much. And it gets me Out, and with people, albeit at a distance.
And in a very minor way I feel like I’m doing ‘my bit’.
We sell things that people need in order to keep their homes safe and secure – lightbulbs, door locks, roofing felt, rat poison.
We sell things that the trades need in order to try to keep their businesses afloat – plaster, plasterboard, cement, tools, cement mixers, sand.
And we sell things that people on lockdown need for their own wellbeing, to keep occupied, stave off boredom, feel they’ve achieved something, keep their mind off of all the problems – indoor paint, outdoor paint, fence paint, brushes, brush cleaner, compost, gardening tools, plants. That might sound relatively trivial – but if it helps someone to get through this with their mental health intact, I think it’s important. And the town is going to look FABULOUS with all these freshly painted houses and fences, and beautifully planted gardens!
The plan seems to be to rota us like this for four weeks. The rotas will be the same for each of the four weeks, and we’ll all be working our contracted hours with no overtime. That’s fair enough – you can’t be having some people at home on 80% and then be giving overtime to others. What happens at the end of the four weeks, nobody knows. Let’s take it one step at a time.
My first day of non-furloughed work was yesterday – and I was rota’d for a day off!! The first job was to sleep.
I woke up at 4am.
Gave up trying at about 6 and went downstairs to make some breakfast and a cup of tea. Brought it back to bed, put the news on, ate my cereal, drank my tea, put my head down ‘for five minutes’ and slept solidly until nearly 9 o’clock.
I needed that.
Spent the morning doing paperwork for the business I run with my ex. Then I took a walk to Aldi – much calmer than on previous visits. Home for lunch.
Mini snooze on the sofa.
Then out into the garden. Yesterday I weeded. I don’t do much weeding – I only pull out the grassy weeds, I leave all the others in situ to flower, to provide food for the bugs and bees. There seemed to be quite a lot of insect life – I met two large and juicy worms, and a blackbird has been popping in regularly, so I think my cunning plan might be working!!
I made myself some pasta with sauce for dinner – then dropped off again. Slept right through Alice Roberts Digging for Britain, and Waldemar Januszczak on Cezanne, and woke up to something about badgers (I think – by the time I was properly awake he was talking about nuclear bunkers…).
I knew I had to get to a point where I was so tired that I would be able to sleep. Looks like yesterday was the day!
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