What would you do with an extra - but unpaid - week off?
Involuntary furloughs, once a cost-cutting measure seen mostly in manufacturing industries, are being utilized by a range of businesses.
University systems, including North Carolina's, are contemplating it - as are state governments and, more frequently, newspapers. The Observer is considering the measure in an effort to trim expenses in 2009.
Furloughs offer an obvious advantage to companies - a way to temporarily cut costs without weakening staffs with layoffs. Workers, too, usually prefer the prospect of an involuntary week off to the prospect of a harsher alternative.
If you have an upcoming furlough, what do you plan to do with it? (If you don't face a furlough - what would you do if you did?) The Squeeze household, in contemplating the possibility, has calculated that an unpaid week is equivalent to a two percent pay cut, so it might not be cause for the vacation we've always wanted to take.
The easy answer: Use the week off to tackle your checklist of around-the-house chores. Some, however, would like nothing less than to stew at home. A long but inexpensive drive might be the answer.
Tell us your preference. A week of volunteering? An e-saver to visit parents/grandparents (who offer cheap lodging with their abundant love)? A week of sprucing up your yard - or your resume?