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Unemployment: How to Stay Sane, Part 2

August 25, 2010

Yesterday, I gave you five ways to stay sane while looking for a job. Here are five more things with which to fill your day.

Make a list of all the things you can say when someone asks how the job search is going. After a while, people will stop asking because it’s been so long and you just say the same thing every time. Trust me, this is a good thing. After a while it’s hard to come up with polite ways of saying you still don’t have a job. Eventually, you just want to say “Well, I don’t have a job yet, so how do you think it’s going?” Or if they ask if you have any “leads on jobs,” you’re tempted to make a joke about how you were following the CEO of Coca-Cola around for a couple of weeks, hoping he’d drop an application on the ground, but you were given a restraining order. So no, you have no leads, but you’re hoping to get a clue or a “lead” about “The Great Job Search Mystery” by the end of the week.

Memorize everything on Facebook and Twitter. If you think you spent a lot of time on Facebook and Twitter while working, just wait until you don’t have a pesky job keeping you from checking these sites. Pretty soon you’ll know everything that’s going on in the lives of your friends and favorite celebrities. This makes for some great awkward situations. “Hey Bill! I was thinking of going to the beach next week and saw that 5 years ago you stayed in a nice hotel at Topsail Beach. What was the name of it?” Then wait for Bill to wonder why you know that and then a few more moments to remember that he put those photos on Facebook. Then wait for Bill to block you so you won’t be able to stalk him any more.

Catch up on your reading. You know that textbook you bought in college for $185, but then never read because your professor put the class notes online? Well now it’s time to break it out and find out exactly what “environmental science” is or why Southerners are always putting bumper stickers on their cars about giving bears the right to have arms.

Start a bad habit. This habit could be as simple as chewing on your nails, or go bolder and bigger by neurotically cleaning every piece of baseboard in your house every day. Or maybe you could collect the dust on every surface and go artsy by creating “dust sculptures” in the likeness of J. Edgar Hoover and other American notables. Not only is this weird, but your roommate will start praying even harder that you find a job.

Leave anonymous letters everywhere. Everyone loves getting letters, but stamps are small investments. So take that stationary set your aunt gave you for high school graduation and write letters to strangers. Then, when you go to the grocery store, put the letters on the back of Cheez-it boxes. Or go to Barnes and Noble and stick them inside books. You can write letters of praise and adulation for readers of CS Lewis, and letters of encouragement to expand their horizons to the readers of Nicholas Sparks. (Oh I went there.)

Make lists. I am a list maker to the core. I have lists of movies to see, books to read and things to do. Part of being unemployed is saving money, so you may not be able to buy that gold-plated pair of shoes worn by John Wayne in 1964. But make a list of things you’d like to do when you’re able to and places to go. Can’t take a vacation to Colorado and go hiking beside a waterfall? Write it down and look at is as motivation to make something happen. Sometimes, the best way to get motivated is knowing that doors from the past will reopen in the future.

Those are a few of the things I’ve been doing during this sabbatical. (If you call it a sabbatical or a furlough, it sounds a little less depressing and people might think you’re super-spiritual.) Anything to add? I don’t get to do as much of this since I have a part-time job and I’m trying my hand at freelance work, but I’m sure there are a lot of other things one can do when they’re stuck at home trying not to spend money or go insane.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. PTG permalink
    August 25, 2010 10:47 am

    I highly enjoyed the “letters” part. I think I would like to do that even with a job. That could be a lot of fun. Even more fun: go to used book stores, and write a letter on paper that you’ve browned to look old. Throw an “1887” on top, and let the adventure begin!

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