The Perks of Being Unemployed

WinnondWhat would you do if you suddenly found yourself out of work?  How would you look at the unexpected time off while searching for your next job?  For me, rather than curse it and look at it as a negative, I’ve decided to embrace it and use the time to do some things I enjoy.

The backstory – as I was getting ready for work on January 2, my boss called me to deliver the unfortunate news that, after nearly five years of employment, I was out of a job.  I’m not going to go into a long, drawn out explanation of why I was let go – because the reason isn’t long – just suffice it to say that it wasn’t my fault and my now ex-boss has graciously offered to write me letters of recommendation, should I need them.

Since then I have been looking for work to no avail.  I had four interviews – three in person and one phoner – within the first month but I did not get any of those jobs.  I was especially disappointed that I didn’t get one in particular, because when I left the interview I felt like it went very well and was certain I had the job, so to find out I didn’t get it was devastating.  I felt I was the perfect candidate, too, so I have no idea what went wrong.

Anyway, despite the lack of a real paycheck (I don’t consider unemployment checks real paychecks), being unemployed does have some perks.  Now before anyone thinks I’m content to just sit around all day and not work, that is so not the case.  I am actively and aggressively pursuing my Next Great Job and I hope I find it soon.  I love what I do and I am damn good at it, if I do say so myself, and I really want to get my career back on track and headed in the right direction.

So, without further adieu, here is my list of The Perks of Being Unemployed:

  • Sleep in.  Most of my friends know I’m not much of a morning person.  It takes me forever to get going in the morning – I need the extra time so by the time I’m walking out the door I’m 100 percent ready to face the day.  Getting to that point, however, is a long process that includes a leisurely breakfast.  It’s actually during that breakfast, when I not only eat but also read the newspaper (imagine that! An actual paper newspaper!), that my brain awakens.  So getting to sleep in is a treat!
  • Watch late-night TV.  As I am currently without a bedroom TV, I am at the mercy of someone else’s TV viewing whims, meaning I don’t always get to watch my favorite shows.  So once everyone goes to bed, I like to watch my shows On Demand, on DVD or catch a late-night repeat.  Wednesdays are especially fun, as that is the night when “The Tudors” is shown on CBC starting at 12:30.
  • Do homework during the day.  I am in grad school, and as you can imagine the homework load is pretty intense.  The program is entirely online so it does not involve physically going to campus and sitting in class a few hours each day.  Being out of work allows me to do my homework during the day, rather than after dinner like I have been since I started the program last January.  It’s nice to have my evenings free, and also to know I have that extra time to do additional work if I need it (assignments are generally due at midnight).  Also, one of my class group partners lives in Spain so my being available during the day allows us to Skype when it’s not the middle of the night for him.
  • Do freelance work.  I did some freelance for a while a few years back and I really enjoyed it, but I stopped when it began to interfere with my day job.  Although I haven’t explored too many freelance opportunities yet, it’s something I’m definitely looking into again.
  • Make jewelry.  I’m not just a very talented PR goddess (ha!), I design and make jewelry too, but between work and school, I haven’t had much time to make any jewelry for the last year.  I really want to turn this little hobby of mine into something lucrative, so I’m going to take some of this time I have and make enough pieces to start selling them on Etsy.  Don’t worry – when I open my Etsy shop, I’ll post it here!
  • Enjoy other crafts.  I have always loved doing crafts and I’m especially good at counted cross stitch.  I bought a couple of kits that have just been sitting around because I haven’t had time to work on them.  Now I do. 🙂
  • Try out new recipes.  I’m currently adapting to a different food lifestyle (more about that in a future post), and it involves different ways of cooking and baking.  Between several books I’ve purchased and Pinterest I have plenty of recipes ready for trying, and I would love to take a whole day and just cook and bake so I can see which recipes I like and which I don’t.
  • Save gas.  No job equals no daily commute, which in turn equals less gas used.  When your car isn’t being driven 60 miles a day, you’re not going to go through gas as frequently as you would otherwise.  Normally I would fill up my gas tank twice a week.  In January I did it once – at the end of the month.  I don’t even think I drive 60 miles a month right now!
  • Spend more time with family.  My parents are in their 80’s, so it’s important to me to spend as much time as I can with them, even though my dad can be rather curmudgeonly and my mom overprotective (still!) at times.  This time off has given me the opportunity to be with them more often, and even help my dad change the light fixtures in the bathroom – he did all the wiring.

Despite the positives of list, there are plenty of things I cannot do while unemployed, and it’s no surprise they all involve money.  However, I’m looking at this time off as a gift and as you can see I’m using it to do some things I want to do and others that I need to do.  But no matter how much I may enjoy doing any of the things on this list, I am praying that this little blip in my career radar is mercifully brief.

And by the way, just in case you or anyone you know is looking for an experienced PR professional with excellent writing skills, here’s a link to my website with all the information you need –

Photo by Winnond

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