If you find yourself feeling jealous of your lazy cat or dog for not having a job, not having anything to do all day and the freedom to sleep literally any time they want without judgment, it looks like unemployment is for you. If you're reading this, there's a good chance you're unemployed right now.
Welcome! Maybe you got fired or you needed to take some time off, but unemployment is not the worst thing to happen to you. The ghost of your direct deposit paycheck is definitely something over which to mourn. It can put a serious burden on your social life, but don't worry — there are plenty of reasons to feel great about no longer being a contributing member of society:
1. Sleeping in.
There is a reason kindergarteners take nap classes and when you understand the value of sleep (like the value of a dollar), you've become an adult — congratulations. Disable that nightmare of an alarm clock on your phone and sleep in. Remember the times you had to give up breakfast and showering in exchange for another half hour of sleep just to be on time for work?
What about the nights when it was impossible to fall asleep, in part because you couldn't stop thinking about how tired you would be the next morning? You will never complain about your sleeping schedule when you don't have a job.
2. You will cook (or learn how to cook).
During your employed days, you probably had minimal time for grocery shopping and by the time you got off your late shift, nothing in your neighborhood would even be open. Maybe you quietly cried yourself to sleep because you were so hungry or maybe you settled for the only half-ass establishment open — the falafel truck.
I love the falafel truck as much as the next drunk person, but if the falafel guy knew your schedule better than your roommates, you’re probably eating like a first-class hobo. Eating at your favorite restaurant no longer works with your budget, but there's good news: grocery shopping is significantly cheaper than eating out.
Is getting excited for a BOGO sale at the grocery store deeply sad? Maybe, but consider who has the best snack selection to offer and then tell me who's a loser. You now have time to cook decent meals and actually give a sh*t about what you eat. Washing down Cheetos with a PBR you found behind the fridge does not have to be your life anymore.
3. You don't have an excuse to miss the gym.
If you've been ignoring your gym membership because you didn't have enough time or you were too tired from work, your body probably looks a lot like mayonnaise. When you're out of a job, you can't complain about being too tired from browsing the Internet all day or taking really long naps. In the good old days of employment, being tired from work or getting home too late was borderline bullsh*t, but still passed as a legitimate excuse. A mildly impressive gym schedule is on the horizon and you must seize it. Now hit the gym, mayonnaise.
4. You find the best happy hours in town.
Just because you can't afford your previously abundant social life doesn't mean you're going to stay at home and cry like a baby about it; you're going to find the most economical ways to get drunk. You are obligated to make the most of $1 off all drafts or two-for-one cocktail specials. Little gems like this are what keep unemployed people driven and out of bed. Reward yourself for submitting your resume to a sketchy post on Craigslist or following up on an email — it's been a productive day.
5. You can do the things you always said you wish you had time to do.
There is probably a list in the back of your mind titled “When I Have Time.” You've added places to visit, recipes to make, books to read, movies to watch and emails from relatives to answer — but let's be honest, you're never getting around to the last one. Take advantage of not having to be anywhere important on a weekday around noon and the lack of anxiety that comes with it.
Don't feel guilty about cracking open a beer at lunch — you don't have anywhere to be! Use this unemployment as a break or a really long vacation of personal days and catch up on the things you've been putting off — like, responding to your aunt's email from months ago.
6. You appreciate your home.
Now that you're home most of the time, you start to appreciate the little things. It's nice to see your roommates because your schedules actually overlap. Plus, no one will know that that the only time you remove your sweatpants is to shower.
The guilt you once felt for spending so much money at IKEA has passed because now you're home to actually use the furniture. The only downside is that cabin fever will slowly creep in and make you want to claw the skin off of your face, but don't worry, that only happens after the second month or so.
7. You will enjoy your next job.
During your time of employment, you didn't need to worry about paying rent, utilities, buying clothes and sometimes, you even picked up the bar tab for friends just because you could. There is nothing like the security of consistent paychecks rolling in, but was it from doing something found to be gratifying at all? If the job paid less, would you have still worked there? If it wasn't for having co-workers with whom to drink and sh*t talk, would you have even applied?
There is a strange guilt that comes from working a job in which there is no rewarding feeling, only something that shows up in your bank account on pay day. It is a soul-sucking tick on your heart that feeds and grows when you feel worthless. Eventually, it evolves into that really weird stage of a tick's life when it kind of looks like a raisin with really tiny, short legs and you just don’t want that on you.
If you have a good head on your shoulders, apply to as many jobs as possible and make useful connections so you will not be unemployed forever.
Photo credit: Billy Madison
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