Furloughs, Necessary Evil or Something We Should Strive For

We have all heard of furloughs being imposed upon state workers in California, Illinois and a few other places around the country. Most people I have talked to seem to think that this is a bad thing.

I will agree that for people barely making ends meet, getting 2 or 3 days’ pay cut out of each month could be disastrous. However, I should think that a 10-15% margin of error on income should be present in everyone’s budget. So, those people should look at their lifestyles and see where they can make cuts.

This is not referring to the guy pushing dustbins around at night collecting garbage or janitorial staff or really anyone in the “blue-collar” workforce. I am talking about managers who complain that their pay is being cut by 10% or 15% because they have 2 or 3 furlough days each month. Guess what, if you’re in management and can’t afford to cut 10% of your own budget, you shouldn’t be trusted to manage making coffee in the morning, much less other human beings.

Let’s take a little wake up call here and think about this. This is not a 10 or 12 or 15 day a month furlough we’re talking about, this is 2 days. In the average month there are between 20 and 25 working days depending on how the weekends fall, so that is 10-15%. And you do get those days off, you know days that you can spend finding a job that doesn’t make you take days off or maybe doing something with your friends or family.

I think we chase money a little too much in this country. We work hard all week and are tired when the weekend gets here. I for one would gladly trade away 15% of my income for 3 day weekends most weeks.
Also, just so you understand where I am coming from, I consider myself to be well off. I make a decent wage working 40-50 hours a week, but I feel like I have very little free time. So, if I could have every other Wednesday off, that would give me that free time to do all those things I want to do. Well, mostly just sleep in until a time later than 6 AM really, but that’s not the point. People in other countries have no food, they have no shelter, they live in fear of terrorists and bombs and disease and their government can do nothing to protect them. We complain because our government makes its employees take some time off each month.

We are so screwed, let me tell you. I mean what’s next, they make us take breaks to ensure we don’t stress ourselves out, maybe pop round to watch the kids and give us a little time for ourselves every so often or they might force back massages on us, that would be heinous. I for one would make a nice placard and go chant: What do we want? Tense shoulders. When do we want them? All the time, always and forever (Yeah, Now does seem better there).

So, to those people in white collar jobs who are burdened by having 2 or 3 business days free this next month I say this: Think of this as an opportunity. Find yourself a job interview, or some distraction to help you relax. The world will not end because you had to have some free time, trust me on this.