Emily Lund: 10 Things I’ve Learned from Being Unemployed

1)     You become instantly humble– Even if you didn’t get terminated because of performance issues, being laid off, let go, fired, canned, or axed is super humiliating and makes you feel like less than a productive member of society.  You come to realize you aren’t as awesome and amazing as you thought you were.  Then, you stand up, reassess and move forward with a little less ego and a lot more appreciation for what you have or don’t have.

2)     You are not alone- Lots of people have lost their jobs for lots and lots of reasons.  People who have lost their jobs before are very welcoming to you as a member of their club.  They give you good advice like, “eat some fried chicken and drink some wine” and “call a lawyer” and “forget those assholes” and “just use this time to write more”.  It makes you feel less like a leper and more like a member of an extra special club.

3)   TV does not hold the key to your future success–   Go ahead and watch an entire TV series…but just one.  In this day and age, it is easy to get sucked into the vortex of watching entire TV shows in one sitting.  If you get caught up in The Sopranos or some other long running show, it could be a good solid week of nothing but sleeping, peeing and watching TV.  It is fun and helps the time pass quickly, but in all honesty, it’s a huge time waste.  Select one show you’ve really wanted to watch and dedicate yourself to that one.  After it’s all done, don’t start on your next 12 season series. Instead, get off the couch, shower and go look for a job.

4)    Drinking is not a job-  It seems easy enough to wake up at 9:00 AM on Tuesday and see what’s for breakfast.  If a fine bottle of Gin has made its way into your inventory, drinking it all before 1:00 PM shouldn’t be your goal. I like day drinking as much as the next person, but trying to apply for jobs, answer questions coherently during phone interviews and brushing your teeth, tend to go by the wayside when you are already on your 4th martini by 9:30 AM.

5)      Do something spontaneous- It is certainly easy to sit around picking your nose or examining the length of your toe nails or put off doing something fun or meaningful because you are wallowing in self-pity.  You’ll be back working before you know it and all of a sudden, you will realize you didn’t ever go away for a few days in the middle of the week and now you don’t have time to…because you’re WORKING!

6)      Do good!- Try to give some of your new-found time to less fortunate people, animals or causes.  Volunteering gives your time off meaning, and also gives you perspective on how bad things really aren’t.  You don’t have a job but you aren’t a homeless person dealing with HIV or a dog that’s about to be euthanized or a mother struggling to feed her children.  You just lost your job 4 days ago; help someone who has 4 jobs and still can’t make it through the day.

7)      You can still have it all- If you were paying for things like a personal trainer, a cleaning service, a lawn service, or a yoga package, you may feel it frivolous to continue to pay for those things whilst not making any money.  This is good practice; don’t pay for things you don’t need whilst unemployed.  However, you can still have all of these things for free or at a significantly reduced price.  You have that extra time on your hands to clean your own house, workout using free YouTube videos or to mow your lawn.  Knock things off your list of house projects that you were planning on paying someone else to do.  And, if you are uncertain how to edge a flowerbed, you’ll also have plenty of time to investigate this on the internet.

8)      You may have an MBA, but figuring out how to file for unemployment is tricky- Although, you do not have to stand in line or call the unemployment office to receive benefits because it can all be done online, the unemployment process of filing and certifying is not the most intuitive set of steps I’ve come across.  If you miss a step or don’t read the extremely lengthy and confusing directions of letters that come in the mail, your claim might be closed or you might miss the random phone interview they scheduled.  Read every detail of everything that comes from the unemployment office and if you have any questions, call.

9)      Knock out all of your dental, medical and vision appointments- It’s way easier to get appointments for doctors, dentists and podiatrists in the middle of the week, in the middle of day.  Prime time for most is after work or weekends.  Since you don’t have those scheduling restrictions, you can get all of your yearly things scheduled easily and quickly.  Also, if you are under COBRA you should get these things scheduled as soon as possible anyway.  You want to have COBRA cover it and not pay for it out-of-pocket.

10)     Bettering yourself feels good- As the theme of this list this goes, you really do have lots of time to do other things.  Take a free class, google how to crochet a scarf, read the manual on how to change the oil in your car.  Make the most of your time off by bettering yourself. You’ll feel good about using your mind and body for something other than vodka and TV.

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8 Comments

  1. Unemployment frees up so much time you never thought you had….well because you didn’t lol….but use the time wisely….find your passion….and turn it into your own business!!!!!

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