Furlough Fueled Jetlagged Comic
My First Furlough
Don’t worry, I’m not actually furloughed right now (yet). But I was furloughed back in 2010, and this is what happened…
I had recently gotten hired and was living up in Alaska, based out of Anchorage. With The Great Recession still in full swing, everyone was feeling it. My airline offered voluntary leaves (like they are right now), but the writing was on the wall: furloughs were inevitable. So, being a newb, I bided my time and waited for “the call”.
It came one bright, sunny morning as I walked from the employee lot into the terminal, lugging my layover bags through the snow. Little did I know it was going to be my last flight for a while. Anticipating “the call” for weeks, I had started a small cleaning business on the side to make some extra cash. I called it Moose Maids (cute, right?). At the time my then boyfriend Robert (now husband) and I were living on a tight budget in a 400 sq foot studio near the airport. I slept next to the fridge.
After “the call” my furlough lasted four months. This palls in comparison to about a year later when the classes below me were furloughed again for an additional six months. Mine was the last class to miss the cut. Then came the hiring freeze and I was bottom of the barrel for a solid two years.
Not knowing whether another furlough hid on the horizon, I cleaned houses for those two years and flew mostly arctic turns around Alaska (anyone for a double Fairbanks with a 3 hour sit?). I was (and still am) grateful to have kept my job during those uncertain years while finding something to fall back on just in case the worst happened.
And here we are again, standing at the precipice of Uncertainty!
“OK”, you say, “but what does this have to do with Jetlagged Comic?” I’m glad you asked!
The Birth of Jetlagged Comic
Don’t get me wrong, getting furloughed sucks. It’s nerve wracking, keeps you up at night and you can’t digest your food properly. But what it did for me, or how I tried to approach it, worked out in my favor. For one, being pushed to think outside the box to make extra money was a good lesson I couldn’t have learned unless I hit hard times. But the real gift hidden in the folds of furlough was time.
Time to think. Time to rest. Time to walk for hours and hours and let the creative voices deep within me bubble to the surface. These same voices once submerged under layers of working and rushing about. And what bubbled up was Jetlagged. That quiet time gave my life enough stillness to help me listen to what it was I really wanted to be doing—Cartooning.
I used the time to explore this new desire. And then Jetlagged Comic was born.
So I urge you now, in this unprecedented global calming, this world-wide hushing…use it! Don’t get discouraged. Embark on a creative adventure of your own. Get up early. Put pants on for God’s sake (which I’m going to do in just a minute), start that hobby you’ve been talking about for years. Start that book. Cook! And go for walks (while social distancing of course) and then let the babblings of suppressed creative voices rise to the surface. Then…listen.
Learn more of how I got started (and how tiny my studio apartment closet office really was) by watching this first video in the Jetlagged Comic Documentary Series