The Unemployment Chronicles: Vol. I

I have a dirty little secret: I’ve never been unemployed… until now. Today marks the first day in 11 years that I haven’t had a job. My feelings are complicated: freedom, anxiety, denial. But as is my wont, I’ll chronicle my foray into unemployment here for you, because I love you that much.

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Because I quit my job, I don’t have the “luxury” of receiving unemployment benefits from the government. I cashed out my Roth IRA and severely cut back on my expenses to be sure I can survive for one to two months. Also, if enough people buy Stu’s latest book, Young, Broke, and Beautiful, to which I contributed, I’ll get a little extra drinking money as well (hints, y’all).

Here are my (scattered) thoughts a mere few days post-resignation:

It’s going to be an adjustment.

I’ve held jobs continuously since the age of 14, from waiting tables to selling wedding dresses, not to mention writing (duh). It’s weird to think I won’t be getting up every day to head to an obligatory destination, after which I’ll come home, mix myself a strong cocktail, and watch Conan in bed. Now, I can sleep in each morning, drink all day, and spend my afternoons watching Love Boat reruns. I understand most people enjoy unemployment to a degree because it enables supreme laziness, but I’m not sure how long I can last without engaging in “useful” work. N.B. Most of my work has meant very little to anyone, ever, but what matters is how I feel about it, right?

It’s going to be scary.

HOLY CRAP THE ECONOMY IS COLLAPSING AND THE WORLD IS ENDING AND I HAVE NO JOB AND NO PROSPECTS AAAAHHHHHH!!! Constantly experiencing a baseline level of low-grade freakout is hard on the mind and the body. I’m trying not to play the what-if game, but it creeps into my mind occasionally anyway. What if I run out of money? What if I run out of food? What if I have to move? What if I never get another job and have to prostitute myself but don’t know how to market a blowie? Fortunately, I think I heard somebody say once that anything worth doing is scary. Don’t quote me on that. Also, don’t hire me for my elephantine memory.

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It’s going to be FUN!

I am going to sleep in till 10:30am every day and take all of the bike rides and drink so much tea! Once you stop going to a draining office every day, you actually have the energy to do things you enjoy. Should I go for a swim/practice piano/grab lunch with a friend/study for the TEFL exam today? Why not? It’s not like I have any pressing obligations! Well, except job searching… That goes on indefinitely. But no matter what I want to do, for now, I have the time. It’s a brand-new realization for me.

I’ve lived my life as a broke ass, but before now, I could always count on some money streaming in relatively soon. This unemployment thing is really going to cramp my style if I don’t practice what I preach, and I predict I’ll be using the awesome info and FREE events on Broke-Ass Stuart with much more frequency.

What are your tips and tricks to surviving unemployment?

Image courtesy of Postmodern Barney and Kabob Fest

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About the author

Sarah M. Smart - Red-Light Special

Sarah M. Smart was summoned into being on a distant ice cream planet through an unholy union of Two-Buck Chuck and unicorns. They sent her to Indianapolis and then the University of Missouri's School of Journalism to spread peace and big hair. Perpetually in mourning for the comma, she has worked for a variety of print media, including Indianapolis Monthly, Global Journalist, and Vox. Since moving to San Francisco for the booming dumpster-diving scene, she has been an online operative for such fine folks as Horoscope.com , Neo-Factory, and Academy of Art University. After a day of cat-feeding, hat-making, dog-walking, vegan baking, and daydreaming about marrying rich, all she wants is a margarita as big as her face.

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