What It Is Honestly Like To Be Unemployed

Jay Wennington
Jay Wennington

Refresh.

Refresh.

Refresh.

Nothing.

Staring at my laptop, I click the circular arrow in Gmail hoping that something will magically appear in my inbox. “I guess this is what unemployment is like,” I say out loud to no one but myself. It’s 11:34am on a Tuesday and I’m alone in my apartment.

Refresh.

Being unemployed is fun. You have endless stretches of time to do whatever you want. Watch all of Mad Men on Netflix? Sure. Jon Hamm is a phenomenal actor. Walk from Belmont to Berwyn along Lake Michigan on a nice sunny day? Nothing better. The lake is beautiful in the summer.

Refresh.

Being unemployed is torture. In a way, it’s like you exist outside of time and society. You watch people come and go from your perch in the coffee shop. Taking their Grande whatevers, they walk to the bus or the L or their car and get on with their lives. You wait patiently for the evening and weekends when you can have some social interaction with your friends. You listen to conversations about meetings and projects and careers that are progressing and it’s like you’re stuck in some purgatory.

Refresh.

Being unemployed isn’t being. If our work defines us, then what are we without it? Nothing. And that nothingness does not invoke a sense of freedom. You may have felt a weight lifted off your shoulders when you left your last job but soon the nothingness envelopes you. It’s suffocating, like a black hole sucking up your time (the ultimate scarce resource), your money (the little of it there is), your self-esteem (the emotional currency), and you’re just forced to…

Refresh. TC mark

More From Thought Catalog

blog comments powered by Disqus