Let me preface this by saying the following: I was laid off from my full-time job in September. It was a sobering experience to say the least and it’s definitely been the number one reason why I haven’t wanted to update my blog. I’ve been depressed, anxious, and blatantly negative about pretty much everything. I figured no one would want to read about some classic post-grad misery.
I still don’t have full-time employment (not for lack of trying…) but my spirits have definitely lifted since that fateful day of release. With that, I bring you this list – here are 5 things that don’t make being jobless totally suck.
As someone who had an internship, a full course load, and (at least one) part-time job for the entirety of my college career, having a single day in a month where I could truly sleep in (as in, no alarm: just uninterrupted, unconscious bliss) was my version of a “holy day.” I spent all my time hosting, waitressing, and running around in crappy restaurants, catering halls, and retail giants. Sleep was a LUXURY. I’m sure my hospitality and retail comrades are all yelling, “AMEN!” They know the shifts that didn’t end until 3am, the doubles that started the following day at 9am, and/or the holiday back-to-back shift craziness. Now, I can sleep until 10am or 11am everyday. I can go to bed at 9pm or 12am or 4am and it does not matter. My sleep schedule is totally in my control and I am SO getting used to waking up sans under eye circles. It’s LITERALLY a beautiful thing.
2) MIDWEEK ERRANDS.
Running errands on the weekends when I was working full-time was always the pits. The lines to do anything were ridiculously long and it made simply tasks like going shopping, getting food, or heading into the bank TERRIBLE. Waiting on a half-hour line at CVS to get tampons and a magazine is NOT how I should be spending my day off. EVER. Also, because everyone and their mother is doing their personal business on the weekends, the odds of me running into that person from high school – that I really didn’t want to see – goes up tenfold. This means that I need to actually put effort into my appearance. And, if you know me, you know it’s an annoying process to make myself look like a respectable human – I only want to do that on workdays or when I’m getting ready to go out with mah girlz. I don’t want to have to put eyeliner on to run a ten-minute errand. An errand that will inevitably take forty-five minutes…where I will undoubtedly see that douchebag from my junior year Chem. class… and then proceed to avoid eye-contact until we awkwardly bump into other while trying to leave the store we both unfortunately had to go to. LUCKILY, because I don’t have anything of importance to do during the week, I can run errands in the middle of the afternoon on a Tuesday in my gym clothes, with a bead of sweat running down my makeup-less face. And you know what? IT FEELS GREAT.
3) SPENDING TIME WITH YOUR FAMILY.
If you’re unemployed, odds are pretty good you live at home. Unless you’re lucky and have a benefactor (re: your trust fund, a relative, sugar daddy, etc.) to pay for your rent. In which case, I hate you. But, whatever, living at home has its perks. I get home-cooked meals on the regs, I don’t have to go to the laundromat to do my delicates, and my roommates are my parents – not some creepy guy off Craigslist who may or may not have a strange obsession with baby oil. In any case, hanging out with my parents is nice. They’re always there to be supportive when I need them and, again, unlike roommates, they’re biologically programmed to want the best for me. That’s great energy to be around when you’re feeling like shit. Also, if you’ve read this piece of mine, then you know my issues and hyperawareness to mortality. In my unemployment, I’ve had dinner home with my parents nearly every night, I visit my grandparents at least twice a week, and I see my aunt/cousins at least once. I don’t know how long my family will be on this earth so I’m sure as hell going to make them my priority. I love that I get to see them all so often because it reinforces the idea that when they do have to go, I’ll have gotten to know them as best I could. And, really, that’s all I can ask for.
4) TIME TO LEARN.
Having an abundance of time on my hands has definitely been self-reflective and it’s been a learning process in many, many ways. For starters, I’ve learned more about myself in the past two months than I ever anticipated. In addition to my unemployment, my boyfriend is living in another country at the moment – so, my confidant, best friend, and love is not constantly accessible. This has made me appreciate the little things infinitely more. I find myself lighting up at the chime of a text message, glowing at an email, and feeling ecstatic for hours after a ten minutes Skype chat. I’ve also learned that truly taking care of yourself is something that does take time, energy, and patience but it should never be overlooked. I’ve started making myself go to the gym and being more aware of what I eat. Of course, I will never give up chocolate so I’m clearly far from having a solid diet/health routine but I’m certainly more attuned to it than I was before. Baby steps are better than no steps. In addition to all that, I’ve also found myself falling down research k-holes. I find myself watching television shows or reading articles and then becoming obsessed with factoids relating to things like medicine or a murder crime. So, then I research the topic for hours or until I know every modicum of information I can find. Any, hey, maybe the latter is totally useless in the long run but it helps me feel like my mind has been slightly enriched in some way. I’d rather learn something seemingly not useful than have my braincells rot while playing Candy Crush (though level 169 has proven impossible to me…so, there’s that).
5) MONEY MANAGEMENT.
I have never, ever, ever been good with money. To my credit, I am capable of paying bills on time and always having enough in my account for the weekly gas, monthly insurance and cell-phone payments. I can handle the necessities but I’m not so good with what’s left over. I’m not sure why the concept of “saving” seems so foreign to me or why no one ever thought of making a mandatory money managing class a thing in high schools across the country… Anyone else think that would’ve been a good idea? Maybe 16 year-old me wouldn’t have cared but hapless 22 year-old me would! I wish I could time-travel and smack that little Ugg-wearing bitch across the face and tell her to get it together. Unfortunately, I am not friends with any Doc Browns and there’s no flux capacitors at my disposal. So, I am still unemployed and broke, with no savings. With my minimal income from the government every week, I am learning what it means to actually budget. I am learning that when I finally have a big-girl job again (HOPE!), with a paycheck that can afford more than just 20 packets of Ramen and a set of Hanes T-shirts, I will have to allocate funds to a savings account for times like now. Times when life happens and I am up a creek with no paddle. I am lucky enough now that I have parents to put a roof over my head, food in my mouth, and bed to sleep in but who knows what the future will hold? I need to have a backup in case my fallback fails too. If I can make any suggestion to any of you fellow post-grads – with or without jobs – then I will make it this: have a little nest-egg. Whether you can afford to sock away $5,000 or just $500, you’ll be glad you have it should the time come where you’re at a loss. We’re not in college anymore, Toto.