Unemployment is hard. Job hunting is a job in itself without the pay and the benefits. However like having a regular job it takes entirely too much of your time and you kind of hate your boss sometimes.
Currently, I am looking for work and I spend a majority of my day perusing postings, catering every cover letter and resume to said ads, and watching horrible reality shows that make me question my taste in everything. I live in a self-contained world. All of my friends work, so I’ve gotten used to the fact that it’s pretty much going to just be me during the day. Living and working at home gives you limited opportunity to leave it. When I don’t have a job I find that I have to force myself out of the house, at least once a day. Let’s face it, any day where I have a reason to change out of my pajamas is a point on the board for May (small victories).
So here are some places I go when I need to get the hell out:
5th Avenue at 58th Street (Midtown West)
I went to the Fashion Institute of Technology, and during my first two years our homework would be to go and poke around at different stores. Yes, HOMEWORK. We would be instructed to take trips to various high end stores to see what was going on in the fashion world. This is a habit that sort of stuck. Before I leave I’ll wear some of the most trendy/nice looking things that I have, and make sure my hair is clean and in good shape. Word of warning, if you don’t look like you somewhat belong there you will get followed and judged harshly. However, if you seem like you may have Daddy’s (or a “daddy”) credit card snugly tucked in your wallet the salespeople will be courteous and leave you alone. Like many creepy old rich men, I enjoy being surrounded by new, pretty things. So I could waste hours flipping through the racks, and reveling in the sumptuous fabrics and intricate details. The best part is, there’s no risk of being tempted to buy something, because even with a full time job chances are I couldn’t afford it.
Ditmas Park Brooklyn (& exploring new neighborhoods)
I went to Ditmas Park once to go to this really great Tibetan restaurant (Cafe Tibet 1510 Cortelyou Road). I took the bus from my old apartment in Sunset Park across to Coney Island Avenue. I was walking down and turned where Google told me to, and from the commercial, busy street I was just on I walked through the looking glass and ended up in small town America. Ditmas Park is a quiet part of Brooklyn with these gorgeous, ginormous Victorian houses. They even have legit yards, man! I walked around in awe of my new discovery, and vowed I would be back another time when I was not so hungry to explore. I did exactly that, and I also make it a point to try and meander around other neighborhoods as much as possible. I love exploring New York’s little known secrets, and even though I’ve lived here for six years I still discover new things about it. So take a risk, take a walk to another area of the city and explore. You never know what you may find. Just don’t accidentally walk to Brownsville like I did once.
New York is rich with FREE and super cheap classes to take. It’s smart to keep your mind and body sharp. There’s everything from yoga and fitness classes to writing and craft workshops, all for FREE! It also gets you out there to meet new people and who knows what kind of connections you will make. There’s a great calendar at Club Free Time.
I’m a huge advocate of giving back. I love volunteering because not only (and most importantly) are you giving back to your community, but it makes me feel good about myself when the poor job market can make you feel so awful. Also, a lot of non-profits look for people who have skills like writing and web design to help them out pro-bono. So, you can boost your resume and do a good thing simultaneously. Two great resources for opportunities are Idealist and New York Cares. You never know whose life you’ll change, or who will change yours.
Double Down Saloon
14 Avenue A (Between 1st and 2nd Street) East Village
If all else fails, start drinking. Ammirite? Nah, it can’t be that bleak. However if you do need to drown your sorrows in the middle of the day, Double Down has eight hours of happiness to offer you starting at noon, with two for one domestics and wells. Also it is two for one on whiskeys that start with “J”. Their motto is, “Shut Up and Drink” in a most charmingly old school East Village fashion. There’s a cool outdoor area in the back, as well as strange pornography playing on the TV screens for your enjoyment and confusion.
Photo Credit – Apartment Therapy