Looking on the Bright Side of Unemployment

Earlier this week, Date forwarded me an article from the Boston Globe about people delighted to be among the newly unemployed. “We’re so fing cutting edge,” he wrote in the subject line. I suppose we are. He’s taken to calling unemployment Funemployment. I am in complete agreement.

The past couple of weeks of not having to work have left me positively giddy. My hellish commute? Gone. My should-I-stay-or-should-I-go dance I’d been doing with my job for the last couple of years? Over. Sitting in an office all day, doing someone else’s bidding? Nope. Not me. Aside from the still, small voice telling me that the money is going to run out sometime soon, I can’t remember a time in my adult life when I’ve been happier.

In the days that followed the layoff, I followed the advice those gurus offer the newly unemployed and got in touch with contacts and friends to share with them the news that I’d become a statistic. The results amazed me. Not only did people promise to be on the lookout for jobs, they also reached out to let me know that they cared for me and wanted the best for me. Those close by invited me over to their homes, or out for a meal or a drink. I’ve been in touch with old friends I haven’t talked to in years. My old coworkers pitched in and sent me a care package. However cheesy it may sound, knowing that people value me and my contributions to the world has been affirming.

My life has a natural rhythm to it these days. I get up without an alarm clock. I stay in my jammies long past when it is proper. The Great American Novel this blog ain’t, but these scribbles represent the first writing I have done in over a year. I’ve been cooking real food again, with joy instead of begrudging necessity. I made bread this week! Last week I cooked dinner for Date, and yesterday I had my sister and nephew over for lunch. Sure I also spent Tuesday working on my résumé and sending out applications (I can’t be completely impractical), but I’ve also spent a lot of time imagining how my life could be. Because if I am really honest with myself, if I could get away with it, I would never work in an office again.

Yesterday I went to the Pink Slip Coffee Meetup, and until Date showed up, I might have been the only one happy with my current lot. I know I am lucky, in that my severance was generous and that I have a little bit of time before I need to scramble, but I really talked up the upside of unemployment. It was the first time I’d admitted to anyone outside a few close friends that I do not want to rejoin the rat race. It felt really, really good.

What am I going to do? I don’t know. I do need to figure out a way to make a living, and soon. But right now, in this moment, with the sun shining through my open window (it’s warm!), life is absolutely perfect.

I have to go now. I’m going to go to my favorite North End caffè and then to a wine bottega. After that, I will pick up some fruit, veg, and cheese at Haymarket before heading home to cook some more. Date is coming over this afternoon to watch Twin Peaks.

It’s Friday. And I don’t have to work.

10 responses to “Looking on the Bright Side of Unemployment

  1. You’ve made me envious of your unemployment. Well done!

  2. Whew! Be thankful for your severance, Sassy. In the “last recession but one” when our building industry when kaput on this side of the pond we got chucked out at an hour’s notice and with no severance (the law stated they’d got to give us £200 so they grudgingly did that). We were out on the street with negative equity in our houses and we lost everything.
    I was technically homeless and working part time as a filing clerk so I could eat.
    Six months of that before I could get a proper job again and find somewhere to live … sheesh … what a bundle of no-fun that was.

    Sorry for the downer, but there are two sides to unemployment. Take care of that severance and look for work early.

  3. Thanks, I thought I was the only one. The angst is still there but so is all the possibility!

    And if Girlfriend loses her gig we can take it on the road.


  4. I am most certainly going to be stealing the term "funemployment." That's so awesome and exactly how I feel about my just-happened state as well. I have two vacations – one to Iceland & London and another to Kauai still on my calendar before May, and simply cannot wait for each of them!

  5. “Funemployment.” Great term. It may seem insensitive of me given how many people have lost their jobs against their will, but I have just quit mine. I never cared for Twin Peaks, but I’d be happy to come over for some other show.

  6. Good for you, Sassy! If you can pick up pieces of contract work here and there that you can do from home you’ll be half way to a more ideal way of working+living.

  7. Andraste, someday I’ll probably envy your situation.

    Dive, I see your point. I really do get it. Thing is, there’s not much I can do beyond what I’m doing, so I may as well enjoy myself.

    Welcome, Steve, and cheers!

    Jason, you’ll have to credit Date for Funemployment, but I’m glad you like it. Sounds like your package was way better than mine. No vacations here, but life is good.

    Robyn, you’re on.

    Conan, thanks. I’m going to see what I can do.

  8. Are you at all artsy?

    I’m asking because I think that at least half of the great stuff on etsy.com is probably being made by people who are funemployed.

    Let me know if you start making earrings or clutches, I’ll be glad to support you in your funemployment.

  9. Watching movies in the afternoon was my favourite part of unemployment. Enjoy, Sassy!

  10. where.dragons.dare

    Hi there, I just got laid off two weeks ago, and I’m really enjoying my life right now. I guess I’ll have to work soon enough, but it was such a relief to get out of work that stressed me out so much that I had to get drunk every Friday. After I got laid off I haven’t had a drink. I don’t need it anymore!

    It’s way worse fearing that you’ll lose your job than actually losing it.

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