You can take away my paycheck but you can't stop me from working! (Legal Disclaimer #1: I am not working on anything related to any of my government duties.)
Let me paint the picture of my morning for you...I slept in, showered leisurely, dropped my son off at daycare just as Miss Rosa brought his second breakfast in at 9:00 AM, wandered across the park to the Starbucks, ordered my Trenta Unsweetened Iced Green Tea and Raspberry Swirl pound cake, had an amazing call about a volunteer position I am so excited about (more later), talked to my mom on the phone, sent out an e-mail to start booking some additional work on my other furlough days that aren't the Friday before a long weekend, started a new fundraising campaign on my Scentsy Family sites (Scentsy and Velata), and am sitting here writing this post and it is not even noon yet! My afternoon will be filled with working on that volunteer project and a Franklin Covey virtual certification. The Starbuck's has wi-fi and floor to ceiling windows in 50% of the store and I have my own table facing a window with my Mac and iPhone plugged in while I watch the wind blow through huge trees filled with green leaves. Oh yeah, I could get used to this. (Legal Disclaimer #2: I have not received any compensation from Starbucks, Franklin Covey, or Apple for this post.)
Please understand, all furloughed employees are given very strict rules about not answering e-mails, going into work, or doing work on a furlough day. Turns out, it is illegal to volunteer your time today. A co-worker even teased me that I should leave my blackberry at work so I wouldn't be able to check it. (It is at home in a drawer until tomorrow.) So if your friends seem to be living it up, it in no way reflects their professionalism or commitment to their job. They are respecting the process and doing what they have been told to do.
Back to my morning, as I am leisurely working and things that are more fun than work, I see a dear friend's (and fellow furloughed employee) Facebook status update and she is spending her furlough day at the Magic Kingdom! Sweet! I send out the virtual call and ask the question that never occurred to me when we were talking about how to compensate for the income loss and whether we liked the dates that were picked for us. What are you doing today? As the answers start coming in I realize how resilient we are. One friend is playing tennis and having lunch with friends. One is baking and going to an afternoon birthday cookout party with friends. Oh yeah, we could get used to this! (Legal Disclaimer #3: The virtual call was placed through home phones, Facebook, Linked In, and Twitter only, no official contact information used.) (Legal Disclaimer #4: I have not received any compensation from Disney, Linked In or Twitter for this post.)
So yes, I realize that I cannot pay the bills with this kind of life (yet) but there is definitely something to be said about making lemonade when your employer hands you lemons. Employers beware though, if entrepreneurial people can figure out how to pay the bills with a lemonade stand you may lose some really great employees.