Posted by: jspiegel | May 28, 2009

#30: Take Extended Vacations

thenaz Although it may be argued to the contrary, the unemployed lifestyle can be both physically and mentally taxing.  Every now and then you will need a break from your established routines of montony and self-pity.  There is no better way to re-charge the mind, body, and spirit, than taking an extended vacation away from all the daily stressors unemployment can offer.

The vacation is, of course, different from the road trip.  Whereas the impromptu automobile trek should be reserved for members of the same employment class vacations can, and should, occur with mixed company.  Employed people on vacation enter into a different mode and mindset in which they wish to free themselves from their shackles of responsibility, even if only for the brief time they are away.  As such, these people will not bore you with their dreaded “tales from the cubicle”, but rather be more inclined to start the day with a mimosa and bloody mary before making their way to the beach.

Many unemployed people may first be fearful at the idea of a vacation as the term itself denotes spending money that will be taken out of your already dwindling savings account.  If you have been unemployed long enough, this is not as much of an obstacle as you have probably taken the necessary steps in order to continue your standard of living courtesy of Uncle Sam.  If you have not yet begun to receive your free ride there some way you still can certainly enjoy some well deserved time off such as furthering your credit card debt or pleading your case to Mom and Dad in hopes that their pity will earn you a ticket to paradise.

Once your vacation has ensued it is important to take a page from your employed traveling companions.  As mentioned, their cares are few and worries are nonexistent.  In vacationland, everyone is on a level playing field and has equal opportunity for rest, relaxation, and some good old fashioned debauchery.

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Posted by: jspiegel | May 18, 2009

#29: Sitting On a Stoop

Today’s liberal media has romanticized the act of sitting on a stoop.  They would have you believe that it is meant for casual lounging or for perhaps contemplative introspection.  If you are looking for deep soul-searching go climb the top of a mountain.  But, since you are unemployed, you cannot afford the expensive climbing gear anyways.  Besides, being unemployed has left you with limited motor skills and an impaired ability for logic and reason (other than deciding whether you want Chicken or Beef-flavored Ramen).  That being said, the act of stoop sitting is one that the unemployed should take the time to fully understand and appreciate.

One of the more famous stoops is that of the television character "Carrie" from Sex in the City.  It's astounding how iconic this physical landmark has become especially when it belongs to the character of an actress who looks like a foot.

One of the more famous stoops is that of the television character "Carrie" from Sex in the City. It's astounding how iconic this physical landmark has become especially when it belongs to the character of an actress who looks like a foot.

First off, remember that to sit on a stoop is to be in the public eye.  Sure it is a fun activity to sit on a stoop, but when people walk by you don’t just want to be “sitting” on a stoop.  You should provide some entertainment for your neighbors and onlookers.  The stoop allows itself to be combined with other unemployed activities such as a hobby or shouting out a catch-phrase (“Why don’t you take a picture?  It will last longer!”).  People don’t just want to see you pondering your meaningless existence and you are obviously not contributing anything society that warrants a steady paycheck, so why not bring a little excitement into peoples lives?  You could juggle some bowling pins or read out loud some of your favorite Shakespearean passages in the hopes that people mistake you for a “starving artist”.

It doesn’t need to be all about them of course.  You should feel free to entertain yourself on your stoop and turn the tables on the passerbys that you encounter.   Shouting outrageous claims or obscenities, preferably in a foreign language if you know one, will be enough to turn some heads.  If you own any firearms it is perfectly acceptable to do your own “Gran Turino” reanactment by telling folks in your best Clint Eastwood voice to, ‘Get off my lawn!’  They will be so impressed with your creativity they won’t even think to question the fact they are not on your lawn, and that there is probably not even any grass for them to step on.

One does not always need to sit on a stoop alone.  In today’s economy, you are bound to have a friend or two who is in the same jobless situation as you are.  What better way to cultivate your friendship with a couple of afternoon beverages and some nice stoop sitting.  This special time between the two of you, while the rest of world slaves away, is a rare opportunity for you to gossip about the others in your social circle as well as laughing at ignorance of both your respective state government for allowing you to sponge off of them, as well as the rest of your friends for not also taking advantage of the system.  This also is a good time for the two of you to discuss all of the grand plans you have with all of your free time, but will actually never get around to doing.  Still, it is nice to have imaginary goals.

So, the next time you see someone just sitting on a stoop, doing nothing.  Be sure to yell out to them to “Show me the money!”  Odds are they’ll let out a hefty laugh and respond back, “Hey!  That’s supposed be my line!”

Posted by: jspiegel | May 13, 2009

#28: Weekday Haircuts

haircut

You will find ,while being unemployed, that the world seems a lot emptier when people are cooped up all days in their offices.  Restaurants seem emptier (except for the crazy lunch crowd) and stores seem more vacant.  You may at first find this quiet to be unsettling, but it is certainly a situation to take advantage of.

One such situation is getting your haircut.  Imagine, walking into your local hair-cuttery and finding the place deserted.  There is no long line, no screaming children getting “their first haircut”, and no overly-difficult Ms. Sassypants explaining to the hairdresser for twenty minutes how she wants her hair done only to conclude her instructions by saying “But really, whatever you feel looks best”.

Unless you are rich or old, odds are you do not have the same person cutting your hair everytime and thus, haircuts lend themselves to be a situation that is ripe for forced and awkward conversations.  A mildly intelligent stylist (the exception rather than the rule in this type of profession) will be able to immediately catch on as to whether or not you wish to carry on some meaningless sort of conversation for your brief fifteen minute interaction.  Fortunately, since you are unemployed, their first question of “So, what do you for work?” will quickly be met by your automated response of “Nothing, I am unemployed”, increasing the level of awkwardness to new heights and efficiently ending said conversation.  Notifying them of your current employment status will also let you off the hook should you choose to leave a smaller tip, or no tip at all.

Don’t worry; they understand.

Posted by: jspiegel | May 12, 2009

#27: Online Gaming

onlinegaming

There is a large portion of the socially maladroit population who participate in online gaming activities.  As a ‘gamer’ you may be wandering in a world of make believe, only to find that your casual role-playing elf is no match for the level sixty paladin who roams the countryside seeking to destroy anything in its path.

Odds are this uberhero is using food stamps to buy his Ramen Noodles and Little Debbies.

Role-playing games have been around for a number of decades, and while the graphics and interface have evolved significantly, the overall goal and vision has remained the same: to provide an escape into an alternate reality in which you can create a life that far more satisfying than the one you currently live.  Seemingly a majority of the working world would want to subscribe to such a service, and many do.  However most of them find themselves preoccupied with the necessary evils of the real world such as having a job.  For whatever reason, employed people also spend enough time away from these games to understand that ideals such as socializing, friendships and intimate relationships can provide some brief happiness to their mundane existence.

Unemployed people have no such trappings.  Since you have no office to go to, you spend much of your time indoors and by yourself, thus adding to your social isolation.  While television and computers provide access to the outside world, they are only constant reminders of the society that has rejected you.  But, in the world of EverQuest, or GuildWars, you are a powerful Elf Warlord who can slay a dragon with fifty-thousand hit-points in a matter of moments.  Can your old boss with a six-figure salary say that?

Certainly, the longer you remain unemployed, your social skills are bound to dwindle and fade.  Fortunately with online gaming, being gregarious is not as important of an attribute as strength, constitution, or dexterity.  Your imaginary physique and mental endurance are far more crucial to your character’s virtual success and the determinants of your social status rely not on you being kind, humorous, or charming, but rather the invaluable skill of being able to barter with a forest gnome on High Feastday.  If only your online girlfriend could appreciate such a quality.

The rules of engagement are also vastly different in the online gaming worlds.  Here in reality, it would be preposterous to assume that a half-human, half-elf could actually hold a position of political power, or that a dwarf and a ranger would actually be accepted as a legitimate couple in today’s society.  Luckily, in a simulated environment, the cruel hardships of the real world are not a factor and you have just as much chance of being accepted as anyone else; even if you are of Orc descent!

The bottom line is that it is a harsh and bitter world out there.  But, since you don’t have a job, why should you have a life?  Unless, of course, that life involves some virtual ales and late-night friskiness with the local tavern wench.

Posted by: jspiegel | May 11, 2009

#26: Napping

napUnemployment can be tough.  With so much activity you are bound to be overcome with feelings of physical and mental exhaustion from time to time.  There’s no better way to recharge the proverbial batteries then by having a well-deserved nap.

Napping for the unemployed can be very beneficial.  For one thing, it helps to pass the dreaded time block between two o’clock and five o’clock in the afternoon.  Employed people refer to this as the “home stretch” while seasoned unemployed people know this as “the syndication hours” where popular nineties programming has been laid to rest.  Since there is only so many times one can watch the entire series run of Suddenly Susan or Caroline in the City, catching some brief shut-eye is a preferred alternative.

A daytime nap for the unemployed is also an opportunity for you to really stick it to your employed friends, lovers, and acquaintences.  By letting people know via your status update that you are off to never-never land is certain to spark feelings of jealousy along with profanity-laced tirades posted on your wall.

A common employed individual will partake in the weekend nap.  It is his or her time to relax and catch up on much needed sleep that they miss out on while working  during the week.  Other than that, when they wake up to the heinous sound that is their alarm clock, they know that they will not be in the comfort of their bed for at least another fourteen hours.  When an unemployed person decides to casually wake from their slumber, their next trip to peaceful slumber can be as close or as far away as they like.

While jobless and finding yourself without any real purpose or motivation, give yourself some time to sleep it off.  And forget about that pesky alarm clock.  Those are people who actually have a need to get out of bed.

Posted by: jspiegel | May 8, 2009

#25: Show Up to a New Job

As has been previously mentioned, occasionally the day-to-day repetition of joblessness will wear on you and you will long for safe and familiar feeling of structured employment.  Provided you have already been barred from the premises of your former office, you will need to seek out new surroundings for you to settle in as you prepare to rejoin the working world.  Even if you technically do not have a new job.

Much like showing up to your old job, showing up to new place of employment should be done with great care, but also with a high level of confidence.  Remember, no one is more qualified for this make-believe position.

Do as George Constanza does.  Show up for work, even if you don't have the job.

Do as George Constanza does. Show up for work, even if you don't have the job.

Be certain to exude poise and aplomb right from the get go.  Do not express reticence or uncertainty by asking the receptionist where you should go.  Take some time to familiarize yourself with your surroundings and find a deserted office or cubicle, preferably one on the lower levels where you will have less chance of being noticed.

While it is important for you to not attract too much attention, it is certainly appropriate to allow yourself to be heard.  Feel free to pretend to talk on the phone while speaking at an elevated volume about fake reports and non-existent clients.  Key phrases like “The Bottom Line” and “Profit Margins” are sure to help you gain wanted attention towards your imaginary efforts.

When it comes to socializing, you should again act as if you are a re an office regular.  Offering up casual, but sullen, commentary about the “sludge that passes off as coffee” or your “pathetic excuse for a paycheck” is bound to spark feelings of empathy with other malcontent employees who will soon invite you into their circle of discontent.  It’s always nice to have new friends.

On occasion someone in upper management may actually identify you as a legitimate employee, and proceed to throw a wrench in your normal routine of browsing pornography and eating Cheez-Its, by requesting you perform a work-related task for them.  Should this occur, immediately ask if this task is being delegated to you because you are black (this works even better if you are not black).  Your fake supervisor will become so confused and flustered that he or she will immediately assign the task to someone else in an effort to avoid a potential racial incident.

Maybe you never interviewed well.  Perhaps your resume could have been more well-written.  Suppose you simply just like the idea of receiving weekly checks from the government for doing absolutely nothing.  Whatever the reason is securing employment can be very difficult.  But that should not ever stop you from enjoying a hard day of imaginary work at your dream job.

Posted by: jspiegel | May 7, 2009

#24: Stalking

Sitting at home with nothing to do, the unemployed person might wonder what the rest of their friends are up to.  Constantly.  Every minute.  Luckily, todays technology allows stalking to quickly become a staple in the unemployeds daily routine.

The term “Stalking”, has changed in its definition over the years, although the act itself is not any less voyeuristic or creepy.  With the steady rise of social utility applications such as Facebook and Twitter (currently the only two relevant applications), any individual can quickly tap into the profile of an individual who is their friend.  Like the term stalking, the definition of a “friend” has altered.  No longer are your friends constituted as individuals whom you confide in, socialize with, or engage on any kind of human level.  A friend now is defined as someone who will accept you as someone who is permitted to examine their profile in an effort to boost their own confidence by having a growing number of “friends”.  No actual communication is necessary, or preferred, in these new digital friendships.

Also within these profiles are “status updates” which can offer up a brief sentence or two, allowing the user to be as open or as private as their comfort level allows.

And no one likes to examine their friends current status more than the unemployed.

Since being unemployed, you can check up on the rest of the world.  They have got to be doing something more interesting than you.

Since being unemployed, you can check up on the rest of the world. They have got to be doing something more interesting than you.

As mentioned, the “status update” offers a glimpse into the life of your friend.  It also lets you check up on other unemployed people who, since they have no other real purpose, are the most frequent updates of their own status.  Ironically, their lives are also and you may find yourself bored of these people are learning that they are on their 3rd consecutive episode of Judge Judy.

Being unemployed, you can constantly check up on your friends in the working world as well.  Is Suzie “really wishing it was 5:00 right about now” or is Chris “Regretting the massive hangover” while he is at work?  It’s all up in the air!  Ultimately, you may become bored with the status updates of employed people as their updates will normally be reserved for early morning and late afternoons.  The diamonds in the rough occur in the forms of the employed people who either have an interesting story to tell (such as a former employee showing up to work anyways), or who simply do not care about their job and spend all their time updating their status with their tales of disgruntled bitterness.  Unfortunately these amusing sob statuses last only until their boss catches wind and that individual becomes a simple, uninteresting unemployed person such as yourself.

Should you grow weary of the constant refreshing of your home page, there are many other exercises for you to undertake as you work towards a future career in rape and/or pedophilia.  Many people like to entertain their friends with photo albums containing a healthy combination of glamour shots, drinking, and cleavage so as to offer up the false opinion to you and to others that their life is actually as exciting and carefree as the photos might suggest.  Of course, being unemployed, this won’t stop you from looking at every picture of every album as you comment to no one in particular on how that girl from high school got so fat.  Remember, no one really recovers from college.

Another great companion to the unemployed are the hundreds of life-defining personality quizzes and applications.  Through the magic of science and technology people can now answer a few questions and discover “What kind of underwear are you?” or “Which washed-up child star of the 80’s would play you in the movie of your life?”.  These time-sucking, energy-draining activities prove to be life savers for the unemployed population until they take the “What job is best for you?” test and “Unemployed” ends up being the result.  It is then that they realize that simply viewing the results of others is a safer idea.

Enough reading.  Time to change your status update!

Posted by: jspiegel | May 6, 2009

#23: Hang Out With Your Parents

Most people get along relatively well with their parents.  However, at this stage in life, there are many of us who are all too familiar with nagging pleas to “Call more often” or “Come over for dinner”.  To those who are in the camp of the unemployed,  Mom and Dad have offer an instant opportunity for some new best friends.

At first, this change in the dynamics of the relationship feels strange and frightening.  Sure there are some people who have always viewed their parents as their best friends, but these are people who have never had any type of companionship to begin with. You, being of normal social status, have always viewed your parents as obstacles and authority figures ready to thwart your good time at every turn. But now, they are there for support, guidance, and of course free meals and laundry.

Even though you are dead-beat low-life with no regular source of income, Mom and Dad will always be your biggest fans.

Even though you are a jobless low-life with no regular source of income, Mom and Dad will always be your biggest fans.

The beauty about befriending Mom is that she will always be on your side. No matter how difficult your job situation gets, or how many “interviews” (the things you say you went on when you were really out getting wasted) you blow, she will always be there with words of encouragement. After all, any company would be lucky to have you. How anyone not want you working for them?  Certainly she tucks away some secret shame and stays up all night worrying if those progress reports you received in middle school about “not being able to apply yourself” have finally come home to roost but she’ll never let on.  Should you come across a group setting in which people ask you what you are up to you will notice an instant mouthful of clenched teeth desparately forcing itself into a smile as Mumsy anxiously awaits your answer while silently praying that the words that come out of your mouth do not embarass her.

Dad might be a different story.  At first he will not hide his disappointment and will also date this chain of events back to some obscure time in your childhood. Most likely, he will blame your current predicament on the fact that you hung out with the wrong group of friends, or the fact that you were never really active in sports.  He too will eventually come around as he begins to realize that this is an opportunity not only for you and him to spend some extra “quality time” together, but this also gives him a chance to hang out with somebody other than your mother.  After so many years of marriage combined with the fact that his kid might actually now think he’s cool, he will forget about your dead-beat status in this economy and put on the Darkside of the Moon. When this happens he will proceed to ask you if you have listened to this album while watching The Wizard of Oz and on some form of psychotropic substance. Whether or not you have lied in the past, telling him now that you have will make the bonding process go that much quicker.

Since you have so much free time on your hands, share some of with your parents.  Although they might have never been unemployed themselves, they are ready to hear your tales of woe, with an open mind and hopefully an open wallet.

Posted by: jspiegel | May 5, 2009

#22: Celebrating Random Holidays

Almost every month of the calendar year possesses an obscure holiday that nobody necessarily needs to celebrate, and yet, the simple occurrence of the holiday itself is reason enough for alcoholics and college students (two sets of people not always mutually exclusive) to celebrate by drinking themselves into oblivion.  As a member of the unemployed population, you to get to join their party.

Why the sunglasses and stogie?  Because it's Tax Day, bitches!

Why the sunglasses and stogie? Because it's Tax Day, bitches!

As mentioned above, alcohol is of course a Random Holiday staple and your libation of choice should be themed accordingly.  Whether it is Car Bombs (the kind you drink) and Green Guiness for St. Patricks Day or Corona and Tequilla for Cinco de Mayo, it is important that you keep with the spirit of the occasion.

But topical beverages should not be enough.  In these instances it is deemed more than appropriate to dress for the occasion as well.  Fans of Veteran’s Day should walk around their local neighborhood dressed in old military uniforms, or participate in local parades.  Sure the old timers who really saw action in the Korean War might take offense, but fuck it: it’s a party!  Those who are fans of Columbus Day can express their pride for this holiday by dressing as any sort of famous thief, murderer, or rapist.  If you are the ambitious sort, try dressing someone who represents all three (Sorry; there are no Philip Markoff costumes available as of yet) and parade yourself around your nearest Indian reservation or casino.

Finally, it is very important that you let all of your employed friends know of your festive activities.  Consistently update your Facebook profile throughout the day.  Each status update should get more illegible with each posting, so that “Happy Arbor Day” at 9:00am will become “Hidpady Ahvnkdl Dy” by 3:00pm.  Feel free to offer them a more personal touch with such gestures such as calling them on Flag Day and continously blasting “Proud to be an American” or showing up to their office on Martin Luther King Day and reciting the “I Have A Dream” speech every hour on the hour.  You can be rest assured that looks of disgust and shame you receive are people masking their jealousy.

While every day of an unemployed’s life is free of responsibility, obligation, and self-worth such celebratory days are a welcome change of pace and should be enjoyed to their fullest, if for no other reason than to remind the working world of their inability to participate.

Posted by: jspiegel | May 4, 2009

21: Becoming a “Regular”

Eventually, being unemployed will wear on you and you will seek a change in your surroundings.  What better way to pass the time during the day then by becoming a regular at the local watering hole?

Many bars have a steady population of “happy-hour” regulars that set up shop between the crowded hours of 5 and 7.  For the unemployed, when the doors open for business, your reserved stool is ready and waiting for you to keep it warm from the hours of 9 to 5, also known as “The Dead Zone”.

norm While employed folks might have some experience at being      “regulars”, much it derives from quick transactions where there is minimal conversation such as at a convenience store or restaurant.  As an unemployed person you have the opportunity to get in good with the bartender and the other jobless locals who occupy the remaining bar stools.  Within a certain amount of time, you all will be sharing a similar bitter outlook on life and laughing as one at inside jokes that the “other patrons” will only wish they could be a part of.

Soon, you will develop a home away from home and a place where everybody knows your name.  It’s not very often you can walk into an establishment and have everyone shout out your moniker in resounding unison.  This act will usually be followed by the bartender asking how you are in a clever/folksy manner.  Your response should be equally as witty in order to maintain your “regular” status.

Some examples are:

Q: “So, how’s life in the fast lane?”

A: “I can’t seem to find the on-ramp!”

<Laughter ensues>

Q: “How goes the good fight?”

A: “I keep showing up with a knife, and everyone else has a gun!”

<Laughter ensues>

Q: “What kind of trouble have you been causing today?”

A: “Well I did just find someone online, lured them into a hotel room, and killed them for pleasure.”

<Awkward silence>

Unemployed days can be, at times, lonely and monotonous.  Mix things up a bit by sharing your woes with like-minded people.  There’s nothing more comforting than sharing (and drowning) your sorrows.

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