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Furloughed? Testdrive a new career!?

So you've been furloughed, and you're realising that the long commute and crazy hours you were doing pre-COVID-19 are not how you want to work going forward. Maybe you're thinking about a change of career or a new job? This could be the perfect time to look at alternatives!

As we settle into a different kind of day-to-day life, many people are discovering that they’re enjoying this new laidback lifestyle. No more long commute, no more crazy long days, and lots more time with the people they love.

For most employees, working from home has never been an option before, but now employers are having to “give it a go” and many are seeing the benefits!

I took part in a survey for the legal profession this week. The final results aren’t out yet, but so far it looks like 75% of employers who responded to the survey are willing to offer at least 2 days home working for employees. That’s a huge shift for a profession known for being set in it’s ways. (thanks to Duane Cormell of Realm Recruit)

But what if you’re furloughed and can’t do any work for your employer? 

If you’ve been itching to try something new but you’ve been too busy with your “day job” to give it a go, maybe now is the perfect time?

If your current employment contract allows it, and it’s not excluded in your furlough agreement (if you have one), you can take on a new role and it won’t affect the grant that your employer is claiming for you. Which means that your employer can’t reduce your furlough payment simply because you’ve taken on a second job. The key here is to check what your contract says!! This is great news for employees who earn more than the grant limit of £2500, because it means they can take on work to help reduce the shortfall.

Here’s the wording from HMRC: “If your contract allows, you may undertake other employment while your current employer has placed you on furlough, and this will not affect the grant that they can claim under the scheme. You will need to be able to return to work for the employer that has placed you on furlough if they decide to stop furloughing you, and you must be able to undertake any training they require while on furlough.HERE

So, you’ve got the time, what will you do?

You could volunteer, maybe get a job at your local supermarket, pick fruit and veg to help a local farm, perhaps start your own small business, look at interim roles or temporary contracts.

Great things could come if you give yourself permission and freedom to view this time as an opportunity to reassess your life goals and priorities.

Psychologies subscribers will be very familiar with the Wheel of Life exercise. It’s one that I recommend in times of uncertainty. It gives a baseline, a snapshot of where we are at right in the moment of creating it. It provides data upon which to measure change.

I’ve attached a blank version of the Wheel of Life exercise HERE.

What do you want your work-life to look like after COVID-19?

Use the wheel of life exercise to help you determine what’s important to you. Choose one area of your life for each of the 8 sections. Examples might be:

  • family
  • career
  • health
  • spirituality
  • money
  • friends
  • personal development
  • recreation

Rank your current experience of each of these areas from 0 to 10. Plot your score on the corresponding line. (see the example HERE). Join the lines up to give yourself a visual representation of your current reality. This will show you your level of satisfaction in each of the areas you highlighted. It can be quite eye-opening; I still remember the first time I did this exercise myself. It shocked me how unequal the areas were and where I was settling for less than I knew I wanted, pretending that it wasn’t a priority for me. 

Once you have completed the wheel, it’s time to look at each area in turn and choose one or two that you want to focus on improving.

If you’re reading this article, chances are that you’re on furlough and you want to either get a new job, change career or start your own business (or some variation of these). In which case, you’ll most likely choose the career section.

Next steps?

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What is it that you really want to do?
  • What are your skills?
  • What are you passionate about?
  • What’s available in your local area?
  • How much money do you need to make?
  • How much money do you want to make?
  • What’s really important to you and how will make sure this remains a priority going forward?

This isn’t a complete list of the kind of questions you could or should be asking yourself but it’s a start!

Here’s a great quote via Richard Branson, that I hope will inspire you to see the silver lining in the situation in which we find ourselves right now:

In The Middle Of Difficulty Lies Opportunity

Albert Einstein

If you’re in the legal profession, you can access the surveys I mentioned above by clicking the links below:

Employee survey:

Employer survey:

Jane Rapin ACC

Jane Rapin ACC

Business & Personal Coach | Lawyer

I help professionals to reach their full potential. Starting a business takes guts. Get it off to the best start with my unique blend of coaching, commercially focussed strategy and targeted mindset work. I’ll help you get out of your own way, overcome self-doubt and dispel negativity. The result? You have more fun doing what you love. I work internationally and locally, across a broad range of industries. In addition to being a certified business and personal coach, I'm also a certified Tapping Into Wealth Transformational Coach. I've been coaching and mentoring for over 25 years, helping employees and business owners across a wide range of sectors including law, project management, engineering, retail, leisure, insurance, government initiatives to help the long-term unemployed, NHS and more. If you'd like to find out more about how I can help you, please feel free to contact me via the links here in my profile or via my website ( I can't wait to help you!

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