Are you out of work? Maybe school’s out, maybe you quit your job in a fit of rage, or maybe you were laid off. The point is, you’ve played so many games of the Sims that even locking them in a room until they pee themselves has lost its former appeal. Until recently, you were a contributing member of society and the knowledge that you’re now basically a leach is slowly pulling you into a miasma of shame and sloth. Or maybe you’re having fun, I don’t know.
I’ve been unemployed for a month now. (I KNOW.) I was doing that whole “job hunt” thing and it really wasn’t working out for me. I knew it was over when I interviewed in a clothing store at the mall and they asked me one question (“Why did you wear what you’re wearing today?”) and then told me they’d let me know. They did not let me know. Several rejections and many unanswered applications later, I’ve been forced to embrace the fact that for the next month and a half, I’ll have a lot of time off. All the time off, in fact. I’m sort of drifting through life, so I wrote this guide. It hasn’t helped me, but maybe it will help you.
So You’re Unemployed: Fun Ways to Pass the Time Between Interviews
1) Hang out with your friends more. This is a double-edged sword. You suddenly have time you didn’t have before to bond, and they may buy you things when you hang out. That’s good. The drawback is that you no longer have any excuse not to hang out, as you never have anything to do.
Say your friend Margaret invites you to a musical. You hate musicals, so normally you’d say you have an important meeting, or you need to sleep before work the next day. Those excuses won’t work anymore. You don’t even have errands to run, since money is way less disposable.
You can’t say, “Sorry, Margaret. I have to wash my hair and then make sure every one of my fingernails is trimmed to exactly the same length. I’ll catch you next time!”
You could go with a vague “Shoot. I’m super busy then!” but Margaret would know it’s a lie. So you’re either forced to see the show or to tell Margaret that you hate musicals, offending her and whittling your list of friends who actually want to hang out with an unemployed bum such as yourself further.
2) Get a hobby and spend a lot of time practicing it. I have several hobbies. I used to knit a lot, but that’s not as appealing when it’s 95 degrees outside. I’m a fairly regular facebook-checker-outer, but there are only so many times you can hit refresh and see no new notifications before you want to throw yourself through a window just to have an update.
Now that I have all this free time, I’ve decided to take up some new hobbies. For a while there, I thought I’d learn how to write jokes. Turns out I’m not funny and eHow is no help. Now I’m teaching myself how to rap, but apparently the Will Smith Method of Rapping is a little outdated. (Too bad, because my remake of “Parents Just Don’t Understand” is pretty tubular.)
It’s fun to try new things! You learn about yourself. For example last week I went rock climbing for the first time and after being instructed to walk backwards off a 40-foot cliff, I’ve decided tetherball is probably more my thing. I had always suspected I was secretly a tetherball aficionado, but it took confronting my death to really open my eyes.
3) Experiment with new hairstyles. You don’t have to impress anyone by looking professional anymore, so go nuts. Today I gave myself a shampoo mohawk in the shower and I’m considering going for Natalie Portman’s V for Vendetta look. There’s a weird bump on my head, but maybe makeup will cover it. I may also dye it blue, which I threatened to do in middle school until my dad told me I’d look like a Smurf. You could shave shapes into your hair! You could finally try the Flock of Seagulls hairdo! The possibilities are endless. Unless you’re bald, in which case… sorry. Ignore this suggestion.
4) Clean and organize everything you own. It sounds boring, but when you’re opening your drawer of t-shirts arranged by sleeve length, color, and starchiness, you’ll thank me.
5) Tempt fate by sunbathing. Due to an unfortunate incident involving a sunny, comfortable lawn and a case of Internet-induced insomnia, I now have one very tan arm and one very pale arm. If you’re one of those people who likes to live on the edge with no regard for freckling or skin cancer, you could eventually get such a nice, even tan that you’ll be consistently mistaken for a piece of jerky.
6) Get all social network-y. If you don’t have a blog, get one! Tell people all the things you aren’t doing with your life. If you already have one, post more and then get another one! I now have six or seven blogs that I routinely ignore. Tweet constantly! I’m actually tweeting so often that it’s driving people away. You could argue that this particular strategy goes directly against Twitter’s purpose, but I’m going to pretend it’s a social experiment in the name of science.
7) Try not to cry every time someone says they’re picking up their paycheck or going grocery shopping. Just smile bravely and pretend you didn’t consider cooking your roommate’s Crocs for dinner. You’ll find another job soon. In the meantime, work on your photosynthesis.