As I am about to once again take part in the classic downswing of the ups and downs of being a worker bee in the modern economy, I thought I’d look back on some of the good things that came out of the approximately nine times I have been out of work, since I graduated college, in an effort to remain positive. Keep in mind this is not an effort to minimize how difficult it is for the unemployed in the good ol’ US of A, especially for the long term unemployed, or a Pollyanna-ish effort to feed a delusion that everything is hunky-dory in my life. It’s just a little nice time to keep me from ignoring any positives that may come along because I’m too focused on getting back to being a cog among the gears of industry.
Every time I’ve lost out on work, I’ve had to find new opportunities, and each new workplace brought new co-workers. As adults, it can sometimes feel difficult to form new friendships and experience interactions with a variety of individuals. I’ve met some top notch folks (and yes, some less so) each time I made a pit stop in a different working environment. Many of them remain good friends to this day, and I’m sure I’ll meet and keep new friends in the future. I can be pretty affable when I’m not scowling!
Getting out of the bad situations
Sometimes getting laid off or even fired can be the best thing for certain. I found myself in a few places where I knew deep down I didn’t fit into the culture of the place, or the hours themselves were actively murdering me. But, since the first time I received a pink slip, I grew more and more timid about looking for new horizons, especially in the age of bursting bubbles and economic meltdowns. The security blanket of a consistent paycheck is a difficult thing to give up even if you might be terribly unhappy. So, being forced out the door could mean the next thing is just that much better, and I certainly wouldn’t have ended up being a video games journalist for a glorious few months, or returned to “normal” human hours after years stuck on a graveyard shift, if not for getting shown the door by some of my employers.
Not missing out on some fun
Work can get in the way of fun, even if your workplace happens to be fun (if so, good for you — most of the rest of America gnaws their livers in jealousy at your story). There are just some events that happen a bit too late on a weekday, or maybe too early during average work hours, that you have to miss out on because not everything is scheduled on weekends. Opening day at Yankee Stadium and a fun concert by the Dropkick Murphys were made possible by the fact that I didn’t have to mark it on an Outlook calendar that might be erased by a manager needing my services for that time. I think this year will make any guilt about missing out on my wages for New York Comic Con have now been assuaged as well. I suppose I won’t be able to buy much, but I had no plans on splurging anyway.
Getting in shape
Man, there is just a lot of time and not all of it can be filled with searching job sites or talking to agencies. Multiple times I have taken the extra minutes in my day to just go work out at the gym. Considering that recently I made some lifestyle changes while I was still working that have already led me to shed some extra pounds and become healthier overall, I can look forward to catching up on a backlog of podcasts while take out my frustrations on the weights.
Time to write
Yeah, this one should just be a given, and I hope to post regularly on this blog after Sunday, Sept. 29. Plus, I would like to finish up some things that are already in progress or close to completion. Of course, I can tell myself that I’ll get on these lingering projects with my new found free time, but Procrastination is a terrible and ever-present roommate of mine, so we’ll see what happens.
This is more a recent development as I fell out of being active and focal after a few years of just trying to get by. However, as long as I’m careful with my money, I can contribute to the causes and communities I support with greater commitment.
Of course, if I am just deluding myself, and I’m bitter and homeless by next year, I think I might be smart enough to make a go of it in crime.