Anon – 17 June 2020

As a child, I played for my local village football club. Due to the size of our club, it usually meant some of us having to play in football teams an age group above; I was one of these kids. This led to me growing accustomed to the sub bench. Not necessarily because I had worse football skills than my teammates, but for reasons that were outside of my control (ie being two feet smaller than everyone else on the pitch). However, this knowledge did not stop my frustration when Sunday would come around and I would realise that I wasn’t in the starting eleven.

A decade later and it appears my life is going through a similar set of circumstances. I know I can contribute towards the company’s success, but once again I find myself stuck as the sub. When I was first placed into the furlough scheme it was demoralising, but at least it felt like I was in the majority. But as my colleagues have started being drip-fed back into the company, it has been hard not to view myself as the company’s weak link. Deep down I know my skills aren’t worse than my colleagues, and my manager has been great in reaffirming this belief within myself.  I just wish I had the opportunity to once again prove my worth.

There are huge parts of the furlough scheme that I am grateful for. Foremost, the job security and how it has allowed a temporary safety blanket for many companies within the U.K. On a personal level, I have managed to spend weeks with the family in my hometown, which has helped reduce any Covid-related stress I previously had. I am feeling Zen out of 10! Fully fit waiting on the side-lines, shouting: “Coach, sub me in!”

In my experience, the best thing you can do on the bench is not get too comfortable. And now after twelve weeks of furlough, I have noticed the rust beginning to seep in (signing off an email now requires thought, whereas previously it was muscle memory). Only two blog posts ago, I was the top advocate for spending all day watching Netflix, but now a desire to train my brain and organise my life has become the priority. Converting my tiny London flat into an office-ready space and completing The Actuary Magazine’s Menza puzzles have been just two small ways of rebooting my brain.

Checking up on dashboard updates and new furlough pension arrangements are also now on the agenda. I am sure we can all agree, it is far easier to dip your toes back into the pension pool than diving in at the deep end. The second method usually leads to drowning in jargon.

Park bench set to the side of a path and trees in the background


Photo by evening_tao on Freepik