As someone who’s been lucky enough to spend plenty of time “between jobs”, “finding my passion”, or any of the other clever euphemisms we tell a tedious person we’ve just met at a party when they ask what we do, I’ve begun noticing patterns of how unemployment actually works. Broadly speaking, it’s like a roller coaster with peaks and troughs, but with a pronounced trajectory into what might loosely be described as desperation.
It generally starts like this:
This is awesome! I reckon I’ll just take a week off before I start properly looking for work. I’ve earned it.
Ooh, those flights are cheap! Bugger it, I’m not going to have accrued leave for ages once I get my awesome new job.
TAKE ALL MY MONEY, EUROPEAN COUNTRIES I CAN’T WORK OUT THE EXCHANGE RATE FOR!
That was fun. Right. Now to job hunting.
That was a productive week. Might ease off this week — it averages out OK.
This new cafe seems alright. Might start writing applications here.
That barista is definitely sick of me coming in for three hours and only getting one coffee. Awkward.
Shit, Thursday already? Wonder who’s got the afternoon off?
Whoa, Christmas crept up, didn’t it?
Christmas is fun! Let’s drink and eat all the things! Take my credit card!
No-one is hiring in January. Maybe I can focus on some personal projects and find my passion.
What the hell personal projects could I possibly be good at? I can’t even get an entry-level job in something I hate.
Might just check that savings accOHMYGOD.
Sorry to interrupt, but I couldn’t help overhear that you’re looking for someone to manage your… Yes, I realise this is a urinal… Okay then, sorry.
Maybe I could go back to bar work. That was fun. Maybe I could even open a bar of my own one day!
OH GOD, HOW DID I FORGET HOW HORRIBLE BAR WORK WAS.
Do people do Uber driving full-time? Is that a thing?
How much could I sell my car for?
Ooh, haven’t watched The West Wing in a while.
Oh yeah, I forgot that’s how The West Wing ends.
Ooh, fifty million dollar Powerball jackpot.
Well at least I won back what I paid for the ticket. That counts, right? Right?
What does a freelancer do? Am I a freelancer? What do I freelance?
Haven’t seen Dad in a while. Might go visit. Maybe we could build something together.
Get me away from him before I kill us both with this chair I just made.
You know, if you ever need a hand with strategy or anything, I’ve got time. You don’t even need you to pay me.
Sure, three days a week is great. Gives me time to focus on other projects.
What other projects? Give me those extra days, please.
See? It’s not all bad. And it does end eventually. Even if you don’t want it to — and let’s be honest, if you don’t enjoy waking up at 10am and eating takeaway in your underwear, then I doubt you’re human.