Unemployment Nine: What I’ve learned

I’ve been unemployed for a little over three months now and, with more and more people unfortunately joining me, I thought I’d share some of what I’ve learned in the hopes of being helpful.

• No matter how productive I’ve tried to be, there’s only so much that can be done, and this results in lots of free time. This can be good, but it can also be bad, because I’ve started to second-guess myself and wonder if there are more productive things I could be doing. When it comes down to it, you can only check the job sites so many times without driving yourself crazy. One thing that I’ve found to be very helpful: If I have a few errands to run, I’ve tried to space them out over a few days instead of doing everything Monday, then sitting around the house the rest of the week. It definitely helps to get out of the house at least once a day and do something. Staring at the PC all day isn’t good, whether it’s monster.com, Facebook Scrabble or YouTube.

• I obviously desperately want a job, but I’m worried about two habits I’ve developed that will have to disappear quickly once I’m hired. The first is waking up to feed the cats anytime between 6:30 a.m. and 7:30 a.m., then going back to sleep until around 10 a.m. or 10:30 a.m. There will obviously be no option to go back to sleep once I’m working. The second is spending the majority of the day in sweatpants or flannel lounge pants. Most offices aren’t quite so tolerant of that sort of attire.

• I never realized this when I was on the other side, but hearing people complain about their jobs while I don’t have one is maddening. I don’t take it personally and I know it’s not meant in a harmful way — jobs are part of everyday life, and it’s natural for the conversation to turn to them. But, as scary as it sounds, I actually miss some of the things that used to annoy the hell out of me. And when I finally do escape this exile, I will try my best to remember to not bitch and moan about my job in front of those who haven’t escaped yet.

• Living a block-and-a-half from a Dunkin’ Donuts is dangerous. It’s not quite as dangerous as living a block-and-a-half from Wendy’s, White Castle or White Mana would be — I’d surely be pushing 400 pounds by now — but it’s dangerous.

• Facebook in general and Facebook Scrabble in particular are highly addicting. I’ve learned so many Scrabble tricks and words I never knew existed that bail you out of a tough Scrabble situation and earn you big-time points. Until I started playing Facebook Scrabble, I never knew the words xi, za or zee existed, but they’re among my favorites now, even though I don’t know what they mean, because they’ve won games for me. I may even look up their definitions and try to work them into conversations one of these days.

• Random play on iTunes may be the greatest invention of all-time. It’s definitely in the top 10. Sliced bread is overrated.

• Cats really do sleep all day. Once the novelty of having their human home during the day wore off, which took about two days, I became more of annoyance to them than company. There’s nothing like getting a phone call or e-mail, only to receive a dirty look from the cat who was roused by the sound of the phone or the PC. The other day, one of my cats buried herself under a throw blanket at around 10:30 a.m. and didn’t come out until after 5 p.m. I actually poked her once every hour just to be sure she was breathing. I am the proud owner of two lazy sacks of fur.

I’m seriously ready for this to end, now.

5 comments on “Unemployment Nine: What I’ve learned

  1. Lynne says:

    I hear ya — especially about the people with jobs who complain. They don’t MEAN to be insensitive, but the result is the same. I remember when I was out of work, my oh-so-helpful aunt told me it wasn’t my fault I had a lack of experience and I should try to see it from the hiring managers’ point of view. Va fangul.

  2. Pace says:

    Hey, at least you can watch the Cowboys this weekend!

    Oops. . .I mean, at least the Cowboys two biggest rivals aren’t playing each other in the playoffs. . .Oops

    Well. . .pitchers and catchers any day now!

    Happy New Year Cheese.

  3. DaveB says:

    I’m with you on the Facebook thing. A bunch of my friends collaborate in creating status updates that exceed 30 responses. Every day.

  4. munson says:


    Left you a few emails yesterday about a job posting I found in my company. Email me back when you get a moment.

  5. Liz says:

    I reckon you weren’t in a fraternity when you were in college. If you pledged, you would’ve learned that xi is a word…it’s a letter in the Greek alphabet.

    My longest period of unemployment was 5 months and I was batshit crazy by the end of the first week.

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