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Tag Archives: employment

unemployment_sign3To some, the title of this post seems like nonsense. They think “Well, of course losing your job is a bad idea!”

But what about young people, huh? You know how impressionable young’uns are. As the unemployment rate rises, they will soon start saying, “Well, everybody else is doing it,” and they will inevitably want to give it a try. (I believe this is called “experimentation”).

Unfortunately, I feel I have propagated this wayward notion with recent blog posts (“A Day in the Glamorous Life of a Freelance Writer“) and tweets (“Watching Finding Forrester while I work…”), and I want to set the record straight.

In short, I fear I have given kids the impression that losing one’s job is appealing.

I will admit, losing one’s job does have its perks:

  • freedom to totally disregard personal hygiene
  • ability to spend all day in one’s pajamas (I don’t actually own pajamas, but if I did, I definitely could wear them all day)
  • opportunity to watch movies or 8 hours of Sportscenter every day
  • freedom to shop for groceries during non-peak shopping hours (what kid doesn’t long for this opportunity?)
  • unlimited napping potential
  • And so even as I write that, I’m tempted to think, “Hmmm, I guess it is a pretty good gig.”

    But no, kids. Don’t be fooled.

    Everybody loves summer vacation, right? But you know how you start to get bored in August (like right now), and you actually start wanting to go back to school? When you start feeling like you should be doing something worthwhile with your life? Well, unemployment feels like that every day. Except, for the unemployed, school isn’t necessarily going to start again in the fall.

    And even worse, as an adult, we have something called “bills” (an ugly, ugly thing). In other words, spending all day on the couch today could mean I won’t have a couch tomorrow…

    Since losing my job, I’ve been busy working on freelance projects and a few side jobs. And those have been great.

    But here’s the catch: When working as a freelancer, one only gets paid for the work they produce.

    In other words, one only gets paid for their actual work. Seems pretty fair, I suppose, but it’s not how things work when you have an office job.

    And this is the number one reason why losing your job is a bad idea.

    When I was a full-time employee, I could check my email (and get paid while doing it). I could walk to the coffee station, get coffee, bump into colleagues, spend 10-15 minutes talking about politics, Mark Driscoll, Harry Potter, global warming, or the likelihood that this is the year the Cubs win the World Series. And yeah, get paid the whole time.

    Now, not only do I have to take the time to make my own coffee, but I certainly won’t bump into any colleagues in my kitchen. Which means there will be no riveting conversation, and even if my colleagues did show up in my kitchen (that would be scary) and we talked for hours, I wouldn’t be compensated for a minute of it.

    When you work at home, nobody shows up with a dozen donuts from Dominick’s. Nobody offers you Tootsie Roll pops from their stash under their desk. When you work from home, the only food you find is the food you personally lugged up three flights of stairs after grocery shopping (in those non-peak hours).

    When you work in an office, food has a way of appearing. Someone’s wife makes too many cookies, and Surprise! The next day there’s a platter of goodies sitting an arm’s length away from your desk. The only things an arm’s length away from my desk right now are yesterday’s clothes, which I dumped on my desk chair last night before bed and promptly deposited on the floor this morning.

    And this is the real kicker:

    When you have a full-time job, you get paid to go to the bathroom. Let that sink in for a bit. I mean, that should be every little kid’s dream: to land a job that pays somebody to go to the bathroom. Trust me, it’s a good gig. It doesn’t even matter what your salary or hourly rate might be; if you’re getting paid to relieve yourself, you should be smiling. (Maybe not while you’re relieving yourself, but, you know, just in general.)

    So, kids, I encourage you to find a job that makes you happy. And even though I might claim my life as a freelancer is glamorous, when I go to the bathroom, I do it as an unemployed man. And I don’t smile.

    Remember that.

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