Furloughed for Now: Not Yet a Farewell

Yesterday, I was notified that I was being F’d. Yes… Furloughed.

My Desi Boy (photo by me)

The Job

Three months ago, I decided to leave my job and utilize my business degree by joining a 10-week training program a thousand miles away from home.

The way this training company works is as follows. They provide 10 weeks of paid training then a 2 year job placement with a big name client of theirs. All that’s required is a bachelor’s degree, relocation to training, and then relocation to the jobsite. There’s a penalty for not staying on the job for the full 2 years but I knew, from the beginning, I’m all in.

Since the business model is unusual, I’ll briefly give you an overview. They basically have clients who place orders for several skilled and specifically trained workers. Then, they toughly train a batch of college grads who are struggling to get hired in the industry (mostly because the lack of “2 years of work experience”). It’s actually quite brilliant.

Just as you might suspect and like any good life story… there’s been a few twists and turns. Ready for a change in scenery, with all risks considered, I hopped on a plane and began my journey.

The Twist

A few weeks into training, the pandemic finally led our company to convert to remote working. As the 31 of us trainees fled the housing that was provided, we headed back to our respective homes across the country. Being flexible and determined, we all quickly got into the groove of working from home; an interesting challenge to say non-the-least.

Overall, the training went very well and 22 of us successfully persevered. I absolutely love the experience, certifications and tools I’ve been provided with. I cannot be thankful enough for my new unique position in the jobs market.

Now that training is complete, I’ve entered the “staging” phase (This is where the company showcases their freshly trained and bright eyed batches for clients to pick from).

Staging typically last 2–3 weeks and the record will show that 95%-99% of trainees were placed with clients. This is largely because the technology sector has been booming; thus, demand for BA’s and software engineers had been growing. However; our current pandemic makes things a bit more interesting….

The Turn

1 week into my staging process, my batch was notified that because of COVID… demand from the clients has dropped off and they are struggling to find us job placements.

They felt it was best to put us in furlough (temporary leave without pay) for 90 days while they continue to search and place us 1 or 2 at a time. Other than help the company stay afloat, this would allow us to file for unemployment and do our own self-marketing (job searching).

This brings us to my present dilemma.

The Scene

It’s May 2020, my future fiancé and I are homed up here in my hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Living expenses are quite low and word is that Oklahoma’s unemployment checks are quite hefty in comparison to other states. My partner and I both have a decent amount of savings and have been preparing the house to be rented out once we relocate (not to mention we’ve been looking forward to the move for months).

Our vision has 3 parts.

  • Make use of my degree by getting me into a good paying job, wherever that might be, for 2 years to lock in “2 years work experience”.
  • Move to the Tampa Bay area to enroll Sabey (the love of my life) into the Ringling School of Art & Design to continue here career as an Artist.
  • Finally live in (or near) a coastal community in Florida and be free from our land-locked lives here in Oklahoma.

Time-is-Ticking

As my fellow furloughed trainees divert off into jobs they find, the list of trainees needing to be placed diminishes. So, Quickly! Do we utilize the unemployment checks for a bit… Or perhaps pounce on the employment prospects and pursue our plan for Florida? I presume taking action in both ideas has merit.

On one hand, we have the opportunity to move to Florida and step toward my future fiancés plan of attending her dream university. We’ll also fulfill our goal of living near the beach. We have enough cash to make it work but finances will be tight.

On the other hand, we wait to get randomly placed somewhere in the country and lock in 2 years of work experience; getting my foot in the door. We’ll have saved up a bit more AND my job will pay for most of the relocation costs. This has been our plan all along and seems to be the less stressful path.

After all, patience is a virtue. Well, so is courage.

Equipped with education and an enduring state of mind, I’m hopeful. In this “furlough” and it’s time of turbulence, I’ll trusting in tried-and-true techniques for sculpting a dream come true. Farewell to certainty… and farewell to fearing the unknown.

All photos owned by me.

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Joshua D Zellner

Inquisitive | Business Major | Real Estate Investor | Aspiring SW Engineer