The Reality of Being On Furlough Twice

The Reality of Being On Furlough Twice

Is anyone else sick of hearing the word ‘furlough’? Before this pandemic, I didn’t even know the word existed and now I hear it nearly everyday. I have been furloughed twice now. I know many people have their opinions about furloughed staff but unless you’ve actually been furloughed you don’t know first hand what it’s like. It’s not all sitting around, being paid for doing nothing – yes, that’s one side of it but it really affects your mental health.

P.S: the support I received from my post last week was IMMENSE! I’m still taken aback about how many people reached out – whether it was a quick message to check how I’m doing or to say they’ve been through a similar situation recently. I can’t thank you all enough.

Saying Goodbye to Work The First Time

Furlough part one was an experience. In March, we were literally sent home from university so suddenly – it was really upsetting and quite scary. We were in our newsroom and the next thing you know our lecturers are telling us to go home. Fortunately for me, work was still open as we hadn’t received anything telling us to shut…yet. Luckily when we left uni, it was towards the end of the semester so lessons were reduced anyway.

Shutting the shop the first time was a strange experience as I said goodbye to my team and then didn’t return for three months. If you know me, you know that I love talking to people, getting to know them and making sure they feel comfortable so for me, furlough (both times) has been a tad tough. I love my job A LOT. My family will wholeheartedly agree that I was made to work where I am now – as a child I would dream of working there. It was a go-to shop for presents for me and also for pocket money buys. For obvious reasons, I am not stating my workplace. But I do love my job and my team and I’m very excited to go back and see their lovely faces again.

Three Months Without Friends & Family?!

Month one of lockdown was…emotional. I cried nearly everyday. I just missed everyone, being literally housebound and only allowed out for AN HOUR was horrible, I didn’t leave the house, I would just sit up in my bedroom really bored, waiting for university to start again. Looking back I wasted a month of not discovering my hidden talent of cross stitching, now I can’t stop, ha!

When university started again, I was thankful I had something to do with my time, even though it was virtual. Like I explained in a previous post, trying to complete your final three months during a global pandemic wasn’t ideal – but we got there in the end. I am so happy Microsoft Teams is now no longer a part of my life! FaceTime, however, is more than welcome to stay. If it wasn’t for FaceTime, I wouldn’t of had virtual face to face conversations with friends outside of my university circle.

Returning to Work Again & Lockdown 2.0

As you can imagine, I was so happy to get the call from my manager to come back to work. YAY! I was excited yet nervous to return to work, as like I mentioned, I didn’t leave the house often. I would be staying up until god knows what time in the morning and sleeping in until at least the early afternoon so I needed to get back into a routine. My first shift back was so fun – especially since we were all so happy to see each other again!

I think my hands are quite thankful for a month off the usage of hand sanitiser we do at work. I don’t know if anyone else is like this, but it’s made us lose some grip from our fingers? I’ve found it difficult to even open a plastic bag at work…which is a tad embarrassing and stressful when you have a pre-Christmas rush. Before lockdown two was announced, we were so busy it was like Christmas Eve rolled over three days! It was manic!

When BoJo announced lockdown two, I was quite thankful he did it before the mega rush we’re going to have this festive period. A nice month off before rushing around like a headless chicken…covered in tinsel of course. I go all out in December, expect daily Instagram outfit posts…thank you to my photographer Alice in advance. This second lockdown has been different as I had no university essays to be frantically typing away at. I’ve loved being at home with my parents though. They’re alright…I guess, ha!

One Final Thing…

I’ll leave you with a key quote I took from one of Boris’s speeches: ‘Tis the season to be jolly, but ’tis the season to be jolly careful’. Please wear a mask or face covering and pop it over your nose too. Protect each other and we’ll be with our families again soon. Thank you. (Ee, who needs BoJo when you have NDarbs? Haha!)

With love,

Niamh x



  1. 30/11/2020 / 6:12 pm

    I feel your pain! I was also furloughed back in March. And this past month I was called to come back, but within 2 days after that call they sent a letter they will be closing the business totally. It was such a blow. Now I’m not even furloughed, but unemployed. Now I have to find a new career.

    ~ Brittany

    • Niamh Darby
      30/11/2020 / 6:41 pm

      Oh sorry to hear that. It does such being furloughed but I can’t imagine what it must be like after receiving that news – sending my best wishes! X

  2. 30/11/2020 / 6:31 pm

    situations like these really make you realise that it has been an emotional few months – let’s hope things get back to normal soon (especially for Christmas! Great post hun x

    • Niamh Darby
      30/11/2020 / 6:42 pm

      Yes! I’ve become a lot more festive (if that’s even possible for me…) over these past few months! Thanks for reading! X

  3. 30/11/2020 / 6:44 pm

    It’s been quite a year, I was furloughed once and cannot imagine being furloughed a second time! Hope you are ok!

    • Niamh Darby
      30/11/2020 / 7:04 pm

      The second time hasn’t been so bad as I’ve been focusing on my content and cross stitching but the first time was an experience! Thanks for reading! X

  4. 30/11/2020 / 6:59 pm

    Being furloughed is rough. The constant worrying about what’s next drove me insane. I was so happy when I got laid off, because I finally had an answer. (there were other reasons too, but those weren’t pandemic related) I can’t even imagine having to go through it twice! I’m looking forward to all of your festive content!

    • Niamh Darby
      30/11/2020 / 7:06 pm

      Ah luckily our team was being informed of the companies sales so we knew we would be going back at some point. Sorry to hear that you were laid off – I honestly can’t imagine what that must be like. Ah, festive content starts next Monday! Thank you for reading! X

    • Niamh Darby
      30/11/2020 / 9:22 pm

      Thank you! X

  5. 01/12/2020 / 6:20 pm

    It’s so interesting to understand a furlough perspective. I have worked during lockdown, once from home and now I still go in xx

  6. 01/12/2020 / 8:02 pm

    Furlough is so tough! I really struggled with the not knowing during the first lockdown. Like you I used my time to get crafty and tried to crochet as much as possible X

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