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.
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.
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?