Forget Cabin Fever: The Perks of Being Unemployed

When people talk about unemployment, they usually look at it as something negative. Well, from a financial standpoint, they are right. You don’t have money when you’re unemployed because paychecks don’t exist in that kind of situation–plain and simple. Still, we’re told to always look at the bright side, to always look for the silver lining–and despite my wallet spending a lot more time than I’d like in intensive care, I am trying to do just that.

Cabin fever. That’s one of the biggest problems when it comes to unemployment. If you play a lot of The Sims, it’s called going stir crazy. It’s that feeling you get when you haven’t left the house for days and you just need to make the four walls of your home go away so you can talk to other human beings or you’re going to throw and break something. Well, I’m used to that feeling. Take today for example. Today is Monday, September 17. I haven’t left the house since Friday afternoon, September 14. I am not proud of it, but that’s the truth.

I’m lucky because I live with my two sisters who never shut up, which is why cabin fever isn’t that big of a problem for me. I lived alone for two years here in Manila before my sisters got into college and believe me, I know what it feels like to go stir crazy.

Anyway, as I mentioned above, it’s all about perspective. You see what you want to see, so if you want to see the good in something, then you’re going to see the good in that particular something. With this in mind, I put on my optimistic goggles and examined unemployment like a medical examiner would a corpse. Here’s what I found:

  • What Alarm Clock? By far the most obvious perk of being unemployed is the fact that you are not obliged to wake up early. When you work, you are a slave to the alarm clock, to the bus or train schedule, to the check-in times that your bosses have decided on. When you’re unemployed, you don’t have to set the alarm every night, you can enjoy that feeling of schadenfreude as you curl up under the covers like a cinnamon bun while thinking about all the people stuck in morning traffic, and, if you live with your special someone, you can cuddle for far longer. What could be better?
  • Breakfast Time. Not a lot of people can wake up early and eat a satisfying breakfast on a workday. On a regular morning, most people usually wake up late, curse loudly, then run out the door with a piece of toast in their mouth and their pants on backwards. When you don’t have to worry about work, you can take your time preparing the food. Remember, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. When I had work, I usually skip breakfast altogether just to make it to the office on time. Now, I can cook whatever I want, which for some weird reason makes me really happy.
  • Better Post-Bathroom Feeling. I read somewhere once that you should be allowed to call in sick if you weren’t able to spend at least 20 minutes in your bathroom in the morning. In this context, 20 minutes is just the time you spend sitting on the toilet bowl and getting earth-shattering epiphanies. Come on, how can you be productive all day if your morning bathroom ritual wasn’t completed? Anyone will be cranky if they have, uh, unfinished business. Also, who doesn’t like standing in the shower while thinking about life’s little mysteries?
  • Self-Discovery. If you’re unemployed or if you’ve ever been unemployed, then you know about that time you spend just staring into space and thinking about stuff. Actually, I do that a lot know–in the bathroom, while sitting on the couch, while in a cab. Weird. Anyway, all those minutes of rumination add up to several hours of deep thought, which in extension lead to numerous moments of self-discovery. For example, I just found out that I have a scar on my right hand that looks just like a lightning bolt. I never noticed it before. I only noticed it now because I was bored and ended up examining my hands.
  • Feeding My Inner Bibliophile. I’ve always been a book lover. When I had work though, I didn’t have the time to pick up a book. Now I do, so I’m trying to read all of the books I’ve always wanted to read. The obvious flip side to this is that I have no money, which is where ebooks come in. Go figure. Aside from being a bibliophile, I also love watching movies and TV shows. I have a lot of free time now and I use that free time to watch shows like FRIENDS and Buffy The Vampire Slayer, and movies like The Godfather and Scarface.
  • Afternoon Siestas. You know that time in the office right after lunch when you really don’t have the urge to work and you just want to lay your head on your desk for a little while and doze off? Well, when you’re unemployed, you can do just that. You don’t even have to settle for a desk–you have your own bed!
  • TGIF. Party time! Well, so I’m told. Because I don’t have work, I now have the time to go out and paint the town red. Well, hypothetically. Partying isn’t really my thing. I’d rather stay at home and read, thank you very much. It’s still a perk though.
  • Blog Lovin’. Why do you think I suddenly became really active on this blog? IT’S BECAUSE I DON’T HAVE A JOB. I almost said I had nothing better to do, but that would have sounded mean. In fact, I’ve always wanted to blog about stuff. Unemployment gave me the time I needed to do just that.

I know that the list is incomplete. There are a whole lot of other perks to being unemployed, the same way that there are a lot of disadvantages to it, but those are the ones I could think of off the top of my head. If you think of any others, don’t hesitate to leave a comment. So what do you think? Are you tempted to quit your job and join me? I have cookies.

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4 thoughts on “Forget Cabin Fever: The Perks of Being Unemployed

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