You might be unemployed if...

When job hunting is your job, weird stuff can happen.

Like so many during this #pandemic, I recently lost my job and am looking for another one. I recognize that I am lucky and privileged to be financially sound enough that I’m not freaking out about the situation, and hope that no one takes this post as insulting; I’m just trying to find some humor.

If you’re like me, and are currently without a job, you might have noticed some strange behaviors happening in your house and head. Or maybe not, and I’m just an oddball. That is entirely possible.

You might be currently unemployed if:

  1. You’re more inclined to get dressed for “work."

    Since job searching became my full time job, I’ve found myself more likely to want to get out of my PJs and into real clothes.

    I worked from home before the #pandemic made it common, and the need to get dressed was one of the first, and hardest challenges I had to conquer.

    So my need to be dressed at a reasonable time is perplexing. Maybe real clothes have become a symbol of something. What, I don’t know. Maybe that I’m not giving up on being a grownup, as tempting as that can be at times. Or maybe I just harbor an unreasonable hope that a magical Zoom interview will appear at random and I’d better be ready.

    NOTE: I still refuse to wear jeans if at all possible. This is why there are BetaBrand yoga work pants…and yes, actual yoga pants, because really, who’s looking at pants these days?

  2. You suddenly feel the need to bake like everyone was doing when the pandemic started.

    So, you whip up some cookies on a Monday night, with the ingredients on hand in the cupboard, because buying new ones is not a responsible financial choice while unemployed.

    (This might have involved extreme measures to make rock-hard brown sugar useable…learn from my mistakes, peeps)

    Then you eat them all in the space of a week and feel shame.

    But that doesn’t stop you from pondering if you want to make bread from scratch. Answer upon a bit of reflection - nope.

    But, hey Shawn, if you’re reading this, I need that candy recipe, STAT!

  3. The consistency of your couch cushions has become an obsession

    The last time my mom visited, she and I attempted to give some poof to my sagging, pathetic couch cushions.

    It’s pretty annoying that such an expensive couch would have such weak-ass cushions as mine does, especially since it’s just me and Sadie sitting on them, but I digress.

    The mother-daughter poofing effort was marginally successful, but couldn’t stand up to an unemployment-inspired TV binge. (In case you’re wondering, it was The Expanse that finally did them in. Cannot recommend that show enough if you like sci-fi. It’s SO GOOD.)

    So, after a week of weighing the “can I justify the cost of materials given that I have no job” pros and cons, I made my choice. I washed the cushion covers, bought the quilting batting and adhesive spray (never knew that was a thing) and got it done. I am so happy with my revitalized cushions. I am also currently without a show to binge (suggestions welcome!) so we’ll have to wait to see if they hold up.

  4. You get unreasonably excited about a trail run through pouring rain and mud.

    Back before I lost my job, I’d made the quiet decision to stop signing up for virtual races, because, while the swag is fun, it seemed a waste of money, and jobs in those days were not guaranteed…as my current situation illustrates.

    But then I saw a live race that was going to take place over Valentine’s Day weekend, through the trails of the state park nearby. I know and love those trails, so I broke my rule and signed up.

    It rained – for what felt like a year – the week before the race. Rain was scheduled for our race morning. I knew the trails would be drowning in mud. And I couldn’t WAIT.

    Long story short - our little pack of runners had a BLAST splashing through the puddles and claiming our badassery when it was all over. It was my longest run ever.

    It occurs to me that this level of excitement about a live race might not be the sole territory of the unemployed (#pandemic), but I was SO GLAD I’d paid for the race already and could run it without an iota of financial guilt.

  5. You find yourself looking for new ways to take a break from resume-and-cover-letter writing that don’t include yoga, long walks, and laundry, because those are the things you got in the habit of doing to get through the previous crisis (#pandemic).

    So you decide, on a whim, to migrate your entire blogging life onto a new platform*

    And, you force yourself to feel ZERO guilt about blogging in the middle of the “workday”, because does the workday even exist anymore?

    Then you wonder about the workweek - and if you should just say “today is my weekend” and throw in the towel.

    Nope, you have a cover letter to write. So, you give this post a quick edit, hit publish, and get back to it.

*Thank you for reading this here on Substack! If you like it, please subscribe for free below, or share with a friend.

PS: Since some of you might be new to this newsletter, I don’t want you to think I only write about job hunting. That would be depressing and boring. So here’s a link to one of my favorite past blog posts that gives you a good sense of the photos and stories I like to tell. It features photos like this one: