Friday, June 10, 2011

Unemployed to FUNemployed

This is a long one. You've been warned.

(Thanks Julie and Courtney for the term "funemployment")

I'll admit it. Actually, I already did admit it (see below) I've been in a bit of a slump, feeling stuck.

Going from working 40-50 hours--or more--a week (no matter how much you hate dislike your job) to not working at all, or working very little, is a major adjustment!

It can make you get really down on yourself, even in the best circumstances. The fact that millions of Americans are in the same spot due to a struggling economy does little to help when you're staring down your own pile of bills and worrying about the future.

The best thing, I've found, is to look at the positive consistently. I'm not unhappy. I'm doing things I enjoy. I love my part time gig at Barnes and Noble and am so thankful to have it. The people are all so great, and I get to be in a place that I love (I hang out there constantly anyway, so it's pretty nice to get paid for it!) while enjoying an awesome discount on frappuccinos!

make mine a light caramel, no whip

Also, I get to devote more time to my writing, which has been amazing! No, writing isn't necessarily the most lucrative career. But it is my passion. And it's segued into blogging, which I love too, even though I'm definitely not a pro and I still have a lot to learn, the learning is part of the fun.

That's not me. It's Carrie!

And speaking of learning...

I'm going back to school!

I'm taking classes and am back in school again! Finishing my degree is so important to me. And working full time (with an unpredictable schedule) made it hard to do. I'm taking courses that are completely new to me, and challenging for me. In a good way. I'm really proud of myself for diving back in after three years away from school. I'm especially proud of myself for re-learning Algebra!


Even with all of these things to be thankful for, there are definitely a few things I've found to be helpful when you're dealing with not working. As I've said before, I'm not great with idle time. Having your days free, all day, every day, sounds good in theory. But in reality, I was going stir crazy after day 2 of doing laundry and watching Soapnet and Dr. Phil.

Here are my lived-and-learned tips for living funemployed

1. Have a set schedule. Treat the weekdays as though they were still workdays. I still set my alarm for 7:15 a.m. and get up at that time every day (weekends too, but that's just me) Consistency is key. If you fall into the pattern of not going to bed until 2 a.m. and then sleeping until noon the next day, it really throws you.

2. Have something planned, for when you get up. Whether it's a favorite class at the gym (ie: kickboxing, Tuesday, Friday and Saturday mornings) going for a run, committing to volunteer project, or just making coffee and job prospecting on-line. Having something to do, in my experience, makes you feel more like you're getting something done. Leave your sneakers by your alarm clock. Hang a copy of your gym's class schedule where you can see it, and highlight the classes you plan on taking.

3. Plan your day in advance. I am a total list person. I seriously love making to-do lists and the satisfaction of checking things off of them. I like to make a little list in the morning while I'm having my coffee. Whether it's errands, groceries, plans, or job prospects to follow up on, I like to plan ahead. Usually the "list" looks completely different by the end of the day, but I like having at least the allusion of a structured day!

4. Dress nicely. This cannot be overstated. In the beginning of my unemployment I literally lived in my Victoria's Secret Pink sweats.
 If not sweats, running shorts and a tee shirt. Just because you don't have to dress "business casual" doesn't mean you shouldn't. Work a few skirts into the rotation. A blouse or a cute cardigan. Wear cute shoes. As my mom says, you never know who you'll meet or what the day will bring!

5. Shower. This may sound ridiculously obvious, but when you have nowhere to be, it's waaaay too easy to put getting ready off.  Act as if you ARE going to work. Or going somewhere nice.
Take a shower, shave your legs (Yes, even if you're single. That is not a valid excuse in any way!)
Style your hair, enjoy the extra time you have to fix your make-up or moisturize. Wear your favorite shade of lipstick. Dab a little perfume of your wrists. You'll feel so much better, inside and out!

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