I’m great at unemployment– and sometimes that’s a problem


wbreading-a-bookWhen it comes to unemployment, it isn’t my first time at this sad little rodeo. Following grad school, I took a role at a tech company that failed to turn into anything more than a 6 month assignment. (Though admittedly I was relieved when it ended b/c that place will go down as the single worst work experience that I have had to date.) Then I was unemployed 9 months before taking the job at the company I was most recently at.

I’m a type A personality so where a 9 month block of no-work sounds like bliss to some people, to me it started becoming overwhelming. I decided to spend my unemployment as optimally as I could. The San Jose library system is WONDERFUL, so I spent the time reading as many books as I could think of (and all FOR FREE). (Incidentally, I was able to read the full “50 Shades of Grey” trilogy and share my thoughts on this website I made: http://fiftyshadesofewww.wordpress.com/). I also started getting annoyed by the books on my bookshelf that I bought on a whim and never read. So I started reading those books for the goal of getting rid of the ones I didn’t like. I think I got through and gave away between 20-30 books in that effort. I felt GREAT.

So with this latest development, I gave myself a week or so to sleep it off (and wow, did I). And now I’m starting my plans to maximize this downtime. I am:

  • Again, reading a ton. The San Jose library system continues to be wonderful. And I am already eyeballing a number of books on my bookshelf that I want to read and toss.
  • Organizing and labeling all the crap that I’ve just thrown into boxes in my apartment. Have the categories be explicit and the groupings be logical.
  • This is a big dream but I want to have a yard sale and sell all the crap that I have been hoarding at my parents’ house. Most of it is home goods, which I tend to think will sell well. Also, when I’m not working, I start thinking of creative ways to make money.
  • I started this blog (yay!) but also am thinking of writing a piece for another more prominent blog on a topic that I have been thinking about for some time. Will spend this afternoon writing this, I think.

So yeah, I’m great at keeping busy and in fact value the time off as valuable “doing important life things” time. The one thing that you might notice about my list, though, is the solitary nature of a lot of the activities. They say that when you become unemployed, you need to build structure into your life (done!) and also maintain a social existence so that you don’t spiral into despair. As an introvert, I actually am not too susceptible to feeling lonely when alone but I do know that I need to leave the house and meet up with people if even just to maintain social skills.

The problem though is I’m also very logical and, let’s admit it, cheap. So for every social interaction– like a dinner or meeting someone for happy hour– I think about the money that I’m spending (of what, if I may be honest, was a pretty meager severance from my former employer) compared to what I could be spending sitting at home. Everything outside of my house means spending money and I constantly have to weigh the costs and benefits and force myself to take on some frivolity despite the cost.

So yeah, being the type A personality that I am, I am looking forward to maximizing this time. But I also know that I need to cut myself some slack and have some fun in the meantime.


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