Like all good unemployed folk, I’ve toyed with the idea of writing memoirs, writing a resume/cover letter how-to, opening up my own site where I do all the job hunting for you, contemplating what type of business all of my friends and I could go into, etc. But while sitting at the unemployment office again for the 15th time in my three-month work absence, I realized what my true calling needs to be: Writing a Book on Why Unemployment is Grand.
Think about it, everyone on unemployment is miserable, and rightfully so. But the office is seriously like walking into purgatory. The sign: Illinois Department of Employment Services is just so uninviting that your heart drops the minute you come upon it (which is a hike for those LP ‘hood dwellers). And once you’re in, you’re greeted by the same guy who doesn’t want to mess around with being cordial. Just tell him why you’re here, then he hands you your number. And the waiting room. Sigh. Fuel to the fire.
Now all of the officers at the office are nice. And granted, they all look at me like I’m an idiot when I walk in there seeing as I made such a juvenile mistake when filing my claim. But nonetheless, they’re pleasant!
So while waiting today (I had #79 and they were on #52), I mentally prepared the start of my book of why unemployment isn’t that bad and that really, everyone should experience it at some point as the character building points are invaluable.*
1) Money is an object. All of a sudden, a trip to Red Mango becomes a no-go so you can pay bills, eat real food and buy a bus pass. Granted you miss out on some fun things (Girls’ weekend trip to Vegas), but you make up for it in others (to be mentioned below). I’m sure my future husband will appreciate my value of money now.
2) People watching is at a prime during the day. Especially on public transit. And the friends that you make? I love just chatting someone up at the unemployment office or while sitting on a park bench.
3) You realize the world is so much bigger than a job and paycheck. I’ve done some contemplative thinking over the past few months and I can tell you, I will never again work in a job that sucks out my soul and throws it on the ground and stomps and spits on it. No matter the paycheck. Just not worth it. And the next time I think about succumbing to it, I’ll remember how content I was scraping by. Note: Contemplating while biking along Lake Shore at 5:30 when the sun comes up is truly magnificent. I clearly won’t be doing that anymore once I start working.
4) The Public Library. I never had a library card until I became unemployed. And I’m officially addicted. Not only just the books, but the DVDs and best of all: MUSEUM PASSES. It’s like the best kept secret ever. Granted, did I imagine spending my Wednesday at MOCA? No, but it got me out of the house and movin’ and groovin’.
5) Relearn patience. I would say growing up I wasn’t impatient, but I sure as hell wasn’t patient. The applying for jobs game continues to drag out week after week after week. And I’ve learned, that while I’m eager to become employed, employers are taking their time and ensuring you’re the right candidate. So I’ve learned, to sit back, breathe and stop counting the days it’s been since a response.
Want more? Wait for the manuscript. But I can say this, once my job lands (and it will), I will be ever so thankful for this time when I really got to know myself, my city and the SoapNet Channel’s schedule.
*My unemployment has only been grand due to the support of friends, family, my mom’s loan service and freelance work through Creative Circle. Should any one of these things be missing, I’d be just as miserable as the next guy.
Also worth mentioning: I wrote this at the library. Will next to me thinks this book is an excellent idea, though I think he’s just gunning for the dedication…
Go with a short story for now and see if Spielberg will pick up the movie rights !