You just got your furlough notice... Never fun, but you are not the first one, and unfortunately you won't be the last one either! Read-on for some advice from one of our pro99

“What a bummer.  What I can tell you is that I went through a whole emotional process.  I was angry and sad and then hopeless (cried about giving up flying) then finally got my head straight and decided that it was temporary.  Maybe a few years temporary but still temporary. 

Get details on unemployment and enroll as soon as possible.  You paid into the system so use it.  If you were based in another state be sure to let the unemployment office know, you may have to apply in both states.  Also look into the Federal Workforce Investment Act funds for potential training (sometimes type ratings).  Go to the local Career Center and use their resources!  I was trying to find a career in Solar Power field and quickly learned that the industry was too new and entry level positions just weren't there at the time.  I then had just registered for accounting classes at the local community college.  A friend of mine in HR for CBS said that accountants are always in demand.  I don't know if you have skills from a previous job or not.  I didn't, nothing current anyway.  One of the most valuable items to me was the Job resource center.  They helped me identify skills from aviation that transferred to other areas.  Task management for example and holding the big picture. 
I took a month off, Sept. to not worry about anything.  I gardened, spent time with my family and just thought about stuff.  Then a game plan started to materialize.  I also laid the ground work to get my instructor's cert reinstated.  Part 141 schools were still functioning at the time.  Some good advice that I got, was to keep flying somehow.  Long gaps are a career killer.  My plan was to work at a regular job, and instruct enough (or rent airplanes) to accrue 100+ hours a year.  Something is better than nothing.  I also called my prior company (Ameriflight) to see if they needed a relief work and luckily they did during the peak season, so that was 3 weeks worth of full time work.
Also when I finished my mental vacation I put a lot of energy into job hunting.  I contacted people I hadn't spoken to for years just to let them know my situation.  I looked at local flight departments and made cold calls inquiring about contract work.  I did everything I could to find another flying job.  It did pay off, thankfully.
Remember, it's not personal!  All I can really say is for now be open to whatever emotions come up.  They are natural and need to be experienced, probably, so you can move on.  Being furloughed may have some silver linings.  I know my family is much better off since I was commuting to reserve (which I'll NEVER do again) and this new job may be absolutely perfect.  We shall see.
Make sure you put your application in at all the places that may be still hiring. Also update it once a month.
Financially, here are a few things I did: forbearance on student loans (interest still accrues but it's one less payment), PG&E has a CARE program (10% off), called my Mastercard company and asked for a lower interest and got it (!), reduced my cable service.  I also asked my Mom for a bit of help $150 a month gift, which she was able to do.  It made the difference between making all my bills and not.  I also asked for a small loan until unemployment kicked in, which she was also able to do.  I'm fortunate that I had some help.  My husbands job is secure, thank goodness, so we are all on his healthcare now and probably won't ever change again.  If you are healthy, then health care can be an expense to do with out for a while, using the city's family planning and clinics maybe.  That is a very personal choice and I don't know your situation. 

Please take it one day at a time for a while and enjoy the time off.  I'm sure it's been stressful at work and leisure time is needed.  Your union mayby of help to you too.  Not sure.
Good luck and please keep in touch.”


Back to Welcome Page