Good day to you. My life as a somewhat-unemployed post-graduate has been really stressful lately. I’ve teetered between spending 4930 hours at the yoga studio, and reading every single book in my house. Most people think being unemployed is a walk in the park. It’s not. It’s pretty effing hard actually. No, the lifestyle itself is not hard, but the daily mental anguish is enough to send someone to the mad house. I’ve learned over the past few weeks (months) that this time will pass and could very well be the only time in your life without real responsibilities. And thus, you must enjoy it! But not so much that you never get a job again. Here is a little list of great things you can do to embrace the present state of your lack of employment. But not so great that you never leave your parent’s basement!!!! Enjoy, betches.
10. Stop being lazy
Sleeping until 1 pm, not showering for days (weeks), remaining in your pajamas both privately and publicly, and watching re-runs of Arrested Development is not acceptable in any scenario (By “any scenario” I mean except for a weekend day when you are hung-over). This type of behavior day-after-day and week-after-week will be the downfall of your successful unemployment. Get out of bed at a reasonable time, go outside, clean yourself up, and do something. Pretend like your lack of responsibility is a full time job. Be productive in your unproductiveness. Essentially, make something out of nothing. Next time the clock reads 2pm, take a look at yourself. If you are in your Hello Kitty pj’s waivering between a Lifetime Original Movie and a gallon of mint chocolate chip ice cream, stop, slap yourself in the face (lightly), get in the shower, and get real.
9. Get a plan.
If you are intentionally avoiding getting a job (like me), you best have a good reason. Good reasons for unemployment include:
– you just had a baby/child
– you are pursuing your passion and having a real job would hinder all progress/effort
– you are moving to another country/universe within the next few months*
– your dog is too cute to leave at home all day
– you are in a coma
– having employment would disrupt your yoga practice
– you are in school (or still act like you are…)
– you are addicted to whip-its and can’t hold a steady job (seek rehab in this situation)
The (*) indicate my grand reasons for not having employment at this time. Or so I like to think they are good reasons…. Whatever. If you do not have a decent reason to be unemployed, it’s time to make a plan and get your act together. Write out your intentions and goals, and then figure out the steps you will need to take to accomplish them. Having some sort of plan will put your little mind at ease and give you easy talking points for when “judgers” ask. It gives you a goal to work towards and makes your unemployment seem like a transition (which it is….).
8. Find a hobby/activity you ENJOY
If you are like me, you’ve been in school almost non-stop for the past 4930248320 years and have had no time to figure out what makes you happy. This is the time to do it, my friend! You literally have all the time in the world to discover what it is that makes your little heart beat. And don’t be shameful if your favorite hobby is highly embarrassing… No one cares! Do you love kitting tiny slippers for your cat? Do it. Are you super into rock collecting? Collect those rocks! Does making shrines of Ryan Gosling tickle your fancy? Creepy, but go for it! As long as you find something that fulfills you, don’t worry ’bout them haterz. Allow this hobby to distract you from your self-loathing thoughts of unemployment. And hey! If your hobby is relative to others, you might be able to make it into your employment. Wooohooo kitten slippers for all!
No. I haven’t forgot you’re broke. But here is the issue: you have A LOT of time on your hands and (hopefully) many travel goals to accomplish. You can either slowly spend all of the money you have saved in your bank account, OR you can buy a plane ticket somewhere and live as cheaply as possible for awhile. The best thing about this plan, is that everyone you meet while traveling abroad is probably unemployed as well. Join the club and at least get a few good stories out of it. I’m just saying that when you look back on your 20’s, you will most definitely remember that spontaneous trip you took to ______ over slowly burning your money away on vodka sodas at LoDo’s bar. Sell some of you stuff. Find some odd jobs. Sell your eggs/sperm. Watch tiny devil children (a.k.a babysitting, not pedophiling) Make a little money and get outta herrrre.
6. Teach yourself something
Learn some new tricks while in your bout of less-than-employed. I am currently teaching myself Spanish to aid my November adventure plans. I sit down (almost) everyday and attempt to relearn all of the lessons I cheated my way through in High School. It’s super fun. Try teaching yourself that language you’ve always wanted to speak. Take this time to learn a significant (or not) skill that may or may not benefit you in the future. Knitting, knot tying, singing, playing the synthesizer, trance dancing, and wood whittling are just a few ideas for you. Bad skills to teach yourself include: murdering, cat collecting, social inadequacy, Pig Latin, falling down, binge eating and drinking, beer pong, having sex for money, Pokemon card trading, and crafts that solely use cat hair. If your interests lie in one of these options, maybe just get a job? I don’t know. Whatever you choose, dedicate yourself to it for a few minutes everyday. Soon, young grasshopper, you will be some sort of master at something.
5. Stop self-loathing for your unemployment
Unemployment is not death. It’s not cancer. It’s not even a bad break up with a lover. It’s literally being without a “real” job. Stop blaming yourself/your parents/your college degree/your student loans/your social awkwardness for not being employed. Sometimes it just happens. There is nothing worse than being home alone with your self-defeating mind ALL DAY EVERYDAY. You will absolutely go crazy if you give into all the negative thoughts swarming around in your mind. In order to cultivate a postive lifestyle, you have to be positive. Weird concept. Think of your glass as half-full always. I mean, you could be fully employed in Cambodia and have a fraction of the glamourous lifestyle you have now. You could be in a labor camp in North Korea. You could be Lana Del Rey…. There are always worse scenarios. Unemployment is not a choose your own adventure novel with depression and death as an option. It’s not an option. Self-loathing is awkward and unnecessary for all involved. Seriously, no one wants to be around that guy/girl who is a big time downer and life suck from the rest of the group. So stop it. Put on your positive panties and slap a smile on that face!
4. Take the time to slow down
Our natural setting is crackhead speed. We rush around all day long in an attempt to check off the little boxes on our to-do list. We literally get anxiety when we have “nothing to do”. It’s ridiculous. Well, guess what my gorgeous unemployed friend?!? You don’t really have a to do list! FREEDOM! While this is hard to accept at first, you have to change your mindset and slow the eff down for a bit. Take time to smell the flowers. Take a casual stroll without an end goal. Take a mid-day nap. Start writing. Start journaling (which I’ve learned is the adult form of socially acceptable diary-ing). Volunteer somewhere. Help out friends/people in need. Read for pleasure. Cook something from scratch. Dance around your house/outside world. Stop hurrying and start living. Move a little slower and think a little deeper. Life is telling you to slow down by presenting you with unemployment. Embrace it now, so that when you return to “real life”, you will have a different perspective. The happiest people in the world live in the cultures that do not rush or hurry through things. They take their time and are present with every moment. Try slowing down, even if it’s for an minute/hour/day. Your future self will thank you. She might even buy you a drink.
3. Get crafty with your broke-ness
Odds are, you are pretty broke if you do not have steady employment. Accept this fact and stop pretending you can carry on your groovy lifestyle like you once did in college. You will probably not be able to shop for sport, go to expensive destination vacations, or go out on the town as often as you did. This does not mean you can’t keep up with your employed counterparts! You just have to get creative. If your homies are going out to dinner at a chic restaurant, eat at home then order apres or just a drink. They might call you out for an eating disorder, but it’s worth saving a few bucks. If “everyone” is going “out” (read: 3 friends binge drinking at bars), drink before and bring a flask/ziplock bag. OR bring your A-game and have drinks bought for you. Yes, this also works for men if you have the right attitude and can swallow your pride. lolz! Start making things at home, reusing, and getting thrifty with what you have. Ride your bike everywhere. Make your own moonshine. Do things cheaper! A lot of the time we spend money so frivolously when we have income, we don’t realize how much we are wasting and how unnecessary it actually is. Whatever you do, don’t sulk in your broke blues and stay home all day everyday. We have so many free amenities on hand, it’s ridiculous to not utilize them. Parks, museums, bike rides, hiking, libraries, outdoor running, pet store browsing, and window shopping are all things you can enjoy being broke as a joke. Swallow your ego and get over it. But also don’t assume you can continue to keep up with the Kardashians. Whatever that means.
2. Don’t sell out. Or maybe do.
I wanted to tell you not to take a job just to have a job, but I feel like that is misleading. You should be open to (most) opportunities when they are presented. Who knows? A job that seems terrible at first could turn out to be your niche and most gratifying experience ever. It could also give you the networking you’ve been dreaming of, and lead you to something great. It could also lead you into a major depression spiral that plummets you into a shameful hole of no return. If you have a college degree, you should not take the open position of “creating smiles” at McDonalds. They lie when they tell you they’re looking talented individuals. Don’t sell yourself short. Know your skills and know your limits for employment. Apply to jobs that suit you, but be open to what comes your way. If you take a job that is less than ideal, don’t loose sight of your main goals and aspirations. I am personally petrified of becoming an 8-5 office job “lifer” because I see how easy it is to loose sight of your passion. Once you get used to an income, it is hard to leave. So choose your path wisely and don’t loose yourself in the grind.
1. ENJOY this bliss of unemployment
Bask in the beautiful privledge of not giving a fck. Stop taking everything so seriously. Stop getting depressed every morning when you wake up. When people ask you what you what you will do with your shiny new college degree, yell “I’m gonna be a space cowboy!” and whisper “or a professional barista”. When people ask how your job is going, over-enthusiasticlly answer “Brilliant!” while making large eye-brow movements and pouring yourself another glass of wine from the bottle you scored off the discount shelf and uncorked yourself. Blame it on the economy. Everyone else does. Everyone is suffering in their own special way. Don’t think you are a special case. You are young. You lack serious responsibility (hopefully). Turn your misery into joy. Make it a joke. Because NOTHING in your life lasts forever. You know you will not always be unemployed. This is a phase that is bound to end. So let it go, and learn how to go with the unemployment flow rather than thrashing in the metaphorical waves.