Talk Jobs: Does a furlough mean my job is waiting for me?
Dear J.T. & Dale: My employer furloughed me. They say we'll be hired back as soon as they can. But my co-worker says that won't happen. ---
Should I wait or start looking for a new job now? — Joseph
DALE: First, let's start by defining "furlough." Here's a tidy explanation from The National Law Review: "The terms furlough and layoff are often used interchangeably today, although they stem from a time when unionized workforces were more prevalent. Generally speaking, a 'furlough' refers to a voluntary or involuntary short-term program where employees are forced to take unpaid leave to reduce payroll costs, but remain employed and maintain benefit eligibility. A 'layoff' is an actual employment termination with possible re-hire at some point in the future." So, Joseph, if the company is still providing benefits, then I'd say they are truly committed to bringing you back. I'd also expect such an employer to be in regular communication with you. Apparently that isn't happening
J.T.: Even if it is, I would start looking for a new job. Many employers furloughed employees with the hope of hiring them back. But at this point, the reality is a lot of furloughed workers will end up not going back. And, given how many people are out of work, the competition for open positions is fierce. I would start the job search and do what you can to network in hopes you can land a new job. Think of it this way, you getting a new job means that should your old job be available, someone else in dire need will be lucky enough to get it.
Dear J.T. & Dale: In a strange twist of events my daughter graduated from college and got a job. Two months into it, she got offered a better position so she quit and went to that job. Then four months after that she got offered an even better job and quit to go to that job. Unfortunately, she had only been at this new job three months and just got laid off. Now every time she applies to a job she gets rejected. Do you think it's because of the job jumping? — Victoria
J.T.: Yes, I would say that is 100% of the problem. When you see somebody has switched jobs as frequently as your daughter, you assume either they are extremely disloyal and move for a better opportunity whenever one comes along, or they're a poor performer and have been fired over and over again. Either way the job jumping sends a bad message.
DALE: I often tell people who are struggling to land a job to "burn your resume," meaning stop expecting it to land a job for you. In this case, your daughter's work history has burned her resume for her. It simply is never going to get past the first level of screening. Who is going to hire, or even bother to interview, someone who seems as though she's likely to be gone within a few months? Yes it's unfair, but even though your daughter changed jobs to take better positions, resume screeners are going to assume the worst — that she's repeatedly gotten fired or is a malcontent.
J.T. So tell your daughter to stop applying to jobs online. To solve this, she's going to need to start to networking and eventually get in a position to plead her case in person. Ideally, she should focus on organizations where she knows she could bring a lot of value and see if she can't talk to people there about what she's learned through this experience. She'll earn credibility by admitting that while she thought she was making good choices by changing jobs, she's since realized that there is value in staying in one place. But, again, she will have to be able to make that case to people face to face so they can hear the sincerity in her voice and realize that hiring her could be a great thing because now she really does need to demonstrate loyalty in order to put this behind her.
Jeanine "J.T." Tanner O'Donnell is a career coach and the founder of the leading career site www.workitdaily.com. Dale Dauten is founder of The Innovators' Lab and author of a novel about H.R., "The Weary Optimist." Please visit them at jtanddale.com, where you can send questions via email, or write to them in care of King Features Syndicate, 628 Virginia Dr., Orlando, FL 32803.