Funemployment — A Deep Analysis

Ah, my latest episode of “funemployment” was one for the ages. Despite my daily to-do item with the words “blog post,” naturally, I waited to complete said post until funemployment came to a close.

Brutal.

Let me backtrack a second for those boomers or loyal Millennials (apparently they exist) unsure exactly what funemployment is. Well, it’s unemployment, but fun! Alright I know that’s a little ridiculous, so let me try again. Once upon time circa 2010 or 2011, there was a Rachel or a Mike fed up with the outside impressions of their constant job-hopping. They fought and fought their parents who kept reiterating “you need to respect your boss” or “you deserved it [to get fired]” or the exemplary “can you just be patient?” These early calls for inaction could not sway Rachel & Mike, who mutually decided:

“You know what, even though we’re technically unemployed, we’re not actually unemployed because we clearly made up our own mind here…let’s not confuse people!” These innovators, worthy of their own Masterclass, realized something brilliant: by adding “fun” to their current employment status, they could somehow see the light of the situation, the glass somewhat “full,” the constant “okay, well this job wasn’t for me anyway” barbs. Yes, this also came with the risk of losing different versions of “fun” — missing Outside Lands festivals with your best friends, lonely work out sessions at 12pm, and most unfortunate, good terms with the neighbor you’d been trying to avoid.good terms with (but lo and behold, she works remote).

Sure enough, in case you hadn’t guessed (or seen any of my admittedly cryptic recent Tweets), I was in this exact situation over the past couple months — fresh off a professional experience worthy of its own future post — called funemployment. Now, I had been funemployed before (most of 2015), but this latest bout was distinct for multiple reasons. Sure enough, the mental verdict is in: it ain’t all it’s cracked up to be. Here’s why:

  • It was not a “find myself” situation. In previous rounds of funemployment, I knew nothing about what I wanted to do in life. So I followed friends’ advice and figured it out (in the form of writing 25 pages of my life experiences and why I chose to pursue each). This round, I knew and know what brings me the most happiness professionally (hint: you’re reading it). Unfortunately, without said activity paying the bills — this round of funemployment was filled with thousands of “what-ifs?” and at least three 4am wake-ups to check my phone or rewrite goals. Yes, I was off my rucker — but in the end, I was not going to quit my goal to find a media / content partnerships role at a growing company (hint: I did)..
  • I’m a tenured SF citizen. During the first bouts of funemployment, I had money saved up, an appetite to explore my newly adopted city of San Francisco, and did I mention savings? Yep, I had some more of that bad boy then, too. Well, this time around the bank account had a cringeworthy numerical value and so, I was relatively trapped in my apartment with my Trader Joe’s smoothies (definitely buy the Cacao Powder), Odesza playlist en repeat, and half-gross Fiji Apples (also from TJ’s). Looking back, I should have looked into affordable options to roam the wild. As an extrovert, it was mentally draining to be alone most days — no one to schmooze, flirt, and ideate content takeovers throughout the day.
  • Attempting to date someone. As you may have seen in my previous posts, I was in the midst of an authentic “mini-ship” otherwise known as a “fling.” As we started spending more inopportune time with each other (highlighted by the must-do Hookah lounge + DJ date night), it was clear this could turn into something legit…until I realized “oh shit, I’m stressed ALL of the time because I’m funemployed.” As much as I enjoyed her presence, the only way it made sense to push forward is if this was a “omg, these flying sparks are unique; timing? Who cares.” Unfortunately, during “funemployment,” dating someone you’re kind of, sorta, potentially into is just unrealistic. Do I want to think twice when reaching for the $50 Cabernet instead of the House Wine for $30? No, I want to always go with the Cabernet, of course! So yes, that was a problem, and I think it’s extremely difficult to balance instability in both the professional & personal lives at one time.
  • Deep deep deep desire to not go through this crap again. Alright, sure, a part of me was thrilled with the idea that I could finally dance out loud to Avicii hits throughout the day without slight grins from my co-workers anxiously staring at my manager wondering when I’d be caught. Yes, this was an exciting prophecy, but it actually wasn’t it was all cracked up to be. This round (minus the midday workouts — this is by far the best part) was less than ideal, a stressful “wtf / why am I in this situation / existential neuroticism” worse than a Curb Your Enthusiasm episode. Sure, my ego wants to avoid the office environment long-term but for now, there’s this thing called money that is required to live (Still looking for this “money tree” — if you find it, hmu). If you’re clearly this versed in what funemployment is, something is clearly astray and it ain’t the stale Honey Yogurt from TJ’s. With time to think, you have to understand what the core issues are — for me, I realized it was a healthy dose of EGO (ugh, I’m sorry Ryan Holiday) and insane lack of focus which led me to the current situation. Assess, resharpen, and get a damn job.

So there you go frannnns. I’d recommend introspective decision-making before, during, or even after your next battle with funemployment. That’s right; it really is an absolute topsy-turvy battle worthy of an Oliver Stone movie — taking you into the unshackled freedom of a mid-day run while everyone else is stuck at a desk, but then followed by a stubbed toe, a dropped egg, a never-ending run of Happy Hour invitation denials, and most unfortunately, an undesirable bank account. See, we can be idealistic and have our crazy, absurd, “Harrison, we didn’t teach you that” long-term goals, but it’s still important, actually what am I saying, “necessary” to sustain yourself in the medium-term with a strong income, stability, and a nearby Trader Joe’s…

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