Thursday, June 16, 2011

...and 10 Surprisingly Good Things about Being Unemployed

Better than a knife in the back   

One of my sisters-in-law thought my last post was depressing. She felt bad for me, immersed as I am in self-perpetuating misery. I thought the post was hilarious, although I did point out to a commiserating commenter that, while misery makes excellent blog fodder, it's still freaking misery. Once again, apparently, I have missed the humor mark.
In the interest of balance, I thought it would be a good idea to address the positive aspects of losing one's job. The fact is not everything about losing your job sucks. It won't be rosy by any stretch of the imagination, but there are a few pleasant surprises along the way.
  1. You can now finish a library book before it comes due.
  2. You won't overflow the hard drive on your DVR with recorded shows and movies that you don't have time to watch.
  3. No paycheck you sold your soul for is ever quite as satisfying as a severance check when you know you were offered up to appease the capricious gods of commerce.
  4. Your daily exposure to fools, charlatans, pirates, and thieves is at an all-time low.
  5. You have an automatic and very effective response for solicitors and telemarketers. “I lost my job” shuts them up almost every time. I say almost because you are still going to have to deal with the religious whack jobs who want to pray with you.
  6. If you were thinking about a career change while you were still working, you now have time to realize your ambition. Just because it didn't happen the way you envisioned it doesn't mean it's not an opportunity. A word of caution though—there are already a bazillion people out here trying to monetize social interaction by blogging, tweeting, and booking their faces. There may not be any barriers to entry, but it's a bitch to get noticed.
  7. You can bond with your pets in ways you never dreamed possible. All your dogs and cats and whatever elses are firmly in your camp when you're home all the time. They will be connected to your hip or ankle. This may seem an annoyance at first, but you will soon realize that your pets are an improvement over the jerk-wads at work. A cold nose up the butt is way better than being stabbed in the back by an ambitious co-worker with a self-serving agenda.
  8. All the self-improvement plans you neglected when you were working are now within reach. You used to be too tired to go to the gym when you came home from your ball-busting job. Now you can go in the morning when the poor schmucks who are still working for your old employer are just stumbling into their first mind-numbing meeting of the day. You can read the books on your list instead of hundreds of e-mails from management wanting you to explain why the company is not meeting sales targets without telling them that their targets were set to satisfy unrealistic directors rather than being based in any objective, quantifiable data. The smartest manager you ever met could not have written a mediocre novel, and even vampire romance is better than the last business memo you had to read.
  9. No more buzzwords. No more jargon. No more obfuscated business-speak. If you are a big fan of jargon, doubletalk, and ambiguity, you can get your fill by reading the congressional testimony of Goldman Sachs executives regarding their actions during the recent financial turmoil and alleged Great Recession.
  10. So long as you can keep your blood pressure under control, there is a lot of entertainment value to be had in following the rants of ignoramuses who still believe, variously, that: the sub-prime mortgage crisis was caused by dead-beat borrowers who failed to honor their obligations because they are bereft of any moral backbone, that anyone drawing unemployment compensation benefits ought to suck it up and just get a job, that Hank Paulson and Tim Geithner are heroic civil servants who saved us from financial ruin at the eleventh hour, that George W. Busch tanked the economy by military adventuring in Iraq and Afghanistan, that Barack Obama is spending our future to further his own political aspirations, that Lady Gaga is stylish and talented, that the Real Housewives are either real or interesting, that Charlie Sheen is winning, or that Anthony Weiner is less reprehensible than, say, Mark Sanford or Arnold Schwarzenegger because he didn't actually reach out and touch anybody. Really, the number of things with the capacity to amuse us grows exponentially every day. I don't know how I ever found time to work.


  1. Love #4, 5 and 6. In fact, since losing my job in February and not finding anyone able to pay for my 15+ years of experience in Graphic Design. I took a HUGE risk (more debt) and am following what I thought was an impossible become a Veterinarian. A lot of credits transferred from my last degree, so it won't take long. So there is one positive!

  2. If you've been reading along, you already know that my dad was a country veterinarian. I sometimes wish I had gone that route. Good luck with it. One excellent thing about that particular profession...I never met anybody in it who didn't love what they were doing. In fact one of my best friends from grade school ended up buying Dad's practice when he retired, and made a long and prosperous career out of it.

  3. Sir - I LOVE this. I've been laid off 5 times since 1995. My most recent layoff lasted two years (minus 3 months at a contract gig from which I was a victim of "headcount reduction" - oops, I guess that makes SIX times!). Your 10 Good Things - brilliant. Thank you!

  4. You're welcome, Joe. Glad it struck a chord with you. Sorry about all the layoffs. At least the investment bank and AIG traders are back to their big bonuses, huh? I could use some recovery. How about you?

  5. I like how you've taken a negative scenario and turned it on its head. Of course, my favorite one is the library book one. Who wouldn't love that?

  6. My favorite too, Caroline. Why I thought of it first.


Comments are always welcome. Tell me what you like and what you don't. Information, encouragement, criticism--I don't care. A day where I don't learn something new is a day lost to me.