It’s been almost six weeks since I was laid off, which is a gross amount of time. Lucky for me, it wasn’t a performance issue, so I wasn’t forced to eat my feelings of inadequacy along with my pink slip. (I still have my column, though.)
At first, I looked on the bright side: Season two of Orange is the New Black had just premiered on Netflix, and unlike my friends who were still slaves to the nine-to-five grind — suckers — I was able binge-watch every single episode immediately.
But then it was over. And the reality of (f)unemployment set in.
For those of you out there who have actually said to me, “I want your life,” because of all the fun adventures I share here and on Facebook, I’d like to drop a few knowledge bombs about how (f)unemployment actually works.
Let’s start with the obvious: If you want this rockstar lifestyle of mine, the first step is to get laid off. Once you’ve done that, here’s what you can expect:
- Ain’t no party like a no pants party
At first you’re bummed that no one needs you to be anywhere. Pretty much ever. Not being needed totally sucks, but you justify this by telling yourself that you now live in a beautiful world called “PAJAMAS ALL THE TIME.”
As the days and weeks fly by, you’ll develop a reward system where you’re either patting yourself on the back for putting on pants before 2 p.m., or alternatively, seeing how long you can go without having to actually put on real pants. (My record is 72 hours.) This works out super well until you look in the mirror and recoil in horror. Christmas pajama pants in July and shame never go well together, so it’s best to avoid mirrors at all costs.
- Dogs are terrible conversationalists
Since you end up spending a lot of time at home, those joking chit-chats you have with your dogs — “Aw, how are you? Are you hungry?” — will turn into full-fledged, one-sided conversations about Pretty Little Liars plot twists and what to make for lunch. (Back in the good ol’ employed days, you probably made fun of someone like that — they probably knit doggie sweaters. Be prepared, however, for now you are the dog sweater-knitter.)
The problem is your fluffy snuggle pillows with legs will never talk back. They’ll look at you with some derpy expression that, at first, will cause you to check yourself before you wreck yourself. But after awhile, you will not care. You will word vomit all over your dogs, while they silently wish for the merciful sleep that is death. This also applies to cats, but since they are the devil, be prepared for a reaction that also includes outright disdain and/or violence.
- Dark moments happen
There was this one time I watched all of those Kirk Cameron Left Behind movies on Netflix. Partly because YOLO, but mostly because I hit rock bottom. I’m not proud of this, but I am choosing to use this story as a teachable moment for all of you.
You will also have these moments of seemingly unending darkness. Do not worry, my child. The sun will rise again. And it will have nothing to do with Kirk Cameron.
- C’mon c’mon c’mon now touch me, babe
Weeks of becoming best friends with your Netflix queue and your pets takes its toll, and you’ll come to desperately crave human interaction of any kind. Just be careful not to scare folks away with your excitement when you finally have a chance to be around people.
For example: Jumping on someone is not an acceptable way to say “Hello!” I would recommend just saying, “Hello!” instead.
There are lots of other lessons I could share regarding (f)unemployment, like how you’ll start to view someone asking, “So, how’s the job hunt going?” as an aggressive act. And yes, there are dope moments beyond eating cupcakes for lunch, judgment-free — having so much free time has allowed me to go on a number of fun adventures and explore life beyond the cubicle walls. That’s been awesome.
Though my inbox often mocks me with its silence, I continue to send out my resume every day, because I’m an optimist who firmly believes the right opportunity for me is just around the corner. And I am now actively trying to put on pants before the clock strikes noon on a daily basis — I’m not always successful, but I do try.
Sigh. This is the life of a rockstar, ladies and gentlemen. Bask in all of its pantless glory.