Thursday, September 9, 2010

Why Unemployment Might Have Fixed Me

Now that I'm back in the work force and a functioning member of society again, I have been looking at my tenure of unemployment and analyzing exactly what it's meant for my life. And what I've decided is: it was awesome.

Not while it was happening, of course. And not in a "hooray, I haven't saved any money in the past 3.5 years" way. But in a way that I honestly, truly believe it's made me a better copywriter and actually a better person in some ways. So in no order...

Why Unemployment Might Have Fixed Me

1) I try at work again.

I used to think I wasn't fireable. Mostly because everyone told me so. "No, no. You don't make enough to be worth letting go." Well guess what, kids? It's a recession. Everyone's fireable. Knowing that, and knowing that whatever I used to do wasn't enough to keep my job, now I'm like Bugs Bunny. I race from 1st base to throw the ball and then over to 3rd to catch it...occasionally announcing things as I do them in an old-school, nasally sportscaster voice. "It's Emily to the printer. Emily back to her desk. Emily back to the printer. And there she goes! I don't believe it! I just don't believe it! She actually! Printed! Out! The copy! For! The! Meeting! This is a momentous day, ladies and gentleman. A momentous day."

2) I appreciate tv now.

When I was unemployed, TV was like an evil plastic box filled with talk shows and soaps which did nothing but remind me that the good shows weren't on until Real People got home.
Now I see my TV as a savior. Here to comfort me softly, like a rocking hug. It's here to fill my life with knowledge and laughter when my brain is too tired to fill itself on its own.

3) I got a better fashion sense.

I am you say...fashionable. I don't think I ever will be. Old Navy flip flops are the only shoe that won't give me blisters and my awkward boob-to-butt ratio makes me just awkward-looking enough to avoid 90% of most styles. BUT! Once I became unemployed and I couldn't spend my money on clothes anymore, I had to learn to appreciate what I already had in my closet. No more turnover. You hate that shirt? Well, will you hate it when it's literally the only thing left in your closet? Or will you slap a vest on it, add a belt, steal a skirt from your sister and realize it was actually okay this whole time?

4) I lost weight.

The thing is, when you are unemployed and the only way to stop yourself from spending the day conversing with your roommate's cat is by going to the gym, you form a different relationship with working out. It became the thing that got me out of the house. The thing that helped me forget my stress. The reason that I couldn't spend the entire day without brushing my teeth or putting on deodorant (Am I the only one who loses all sense of hygiene as soon as there's no one to clean up for? No? Just me?) And in that way, as a source of entertainment, the gym was--dare I say it?--kind of fun.

5) I became a better cook.

The only OTHER thing I had to do all day besides working out was looking at recipes and walking up and down the aisles of Jewel. I would have been all kinds of awesome at that Supermarket Dash show or whatever it was called--you know, where people run up and down the isles looking for things and running their carts into all kinds of stuff and you feel a little sad and awkward because the lighting is weird, so you switch over to the Price Is Right, where everything's a little less blue and the microphones are longer and the music is soothing to your ears? ...God, I really did watch a lot of daytime tv. What was I saying? Oh, right. Cooking. I'm better at it now.

So that's about it. Unemployment has fixed me. of me. What do you think? Other ways that unemployment/underemployment has taught you a lesson?


annie5050 said...

i am unemployed now. its been 5 months-the longest i've been unemployed ever since the semesters in Paris spending accident settlement money. i feel like crap. i hate not working yet i can't see my self at work-or feel work-i fear i've lost the ability. reading your piece has been a comfort that i hope for some day!

Emily said...

Good, I'm glad! Chin up. I promise you haven't lost the ability. I was scared of that, too.