Not that I have a lot of experience being unemployed, but this has to be the absolute crappiest time of the year to be out of work.
Holiday season can be depressing as it is, but when you’re financially hamstrung, you can’t do anything without being reminded of things you’d love to be able to spend money on.
I’m not crying poverty. I’m fine. I’m part of the 405 Club (the maximum amount you can get from New York State unemployment is $405 per week), and I deposited my severance check from my old company yesterday. So I’m not sitting in front of a McDonald’s with a hat on the ground or surviving on Oodles of Noodles. I’m certainly not looking for sympathy because, unfortunately, there are hordes of people in much worse shape than myself.
But during this time of year, no matter where you turn, reminders of things you can’t have are thrown in your face.
I’m being very careful about what I spend money on. I won’t say I’m depriving myself of life’s pleasures, but I’m really trying to pick my spots. Yet, I can’t go online, turn on the TV or radio, or even walk in the streets without seeing ads that basically scream out, “Buy me, NOW! Oh, wait … I guess you can’t. It sucks to be you!”
This time of year tends to bring the worst out in people, anyway. Was it really worth trampling a temporary Wal-Mart employee in Long Island to death for a chance to buy a laptop for $300?
I’m usually not anti-holiday season, but I’m finding all of the usual commercialized bullshit really difficult to cope with this year.
Plus, I don’t see any light at the end of the tunnel. Job listings have slowed to a trickle, and I don’t see them picking up until after the New Year, which means at least one more wasted month.
I’m almost counting the hours until Jan. 2, when I don’t have to hear any more about Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or Festivus, and when all of the corny jokes along the lines of, “Well, I guess I’ll see you next year, ha ha!” disappear.