Lesson On Employment and Unemployment
So, having been in the School of Life for the past 6 months (i.e. out of school and out in the Big Bad World), I have realised one thing…employment sucks, and unemployment sucks equally. Indulge me for a minute: Both have an equal number of pros and cons, even though they may not be very well-balanced.
When you are unemployed, you get to have free time to reflect on your life and where you want to be, your dreams that you had let go of, what you really want from life, etc. You get to relax and unwind and rediscover the beauty of nature and the songs of the birds. You notice when the walls at the back of the living room couches needs a good scrubbing. You hone your skills and talents because you are thinking like an entrepreneur, and you actually discover what you are good at.
For those with families, you have more time for your kids and spouse. You actually listen to what they are telling you, the mundane details of their days, what their worries and stresses are…because these are more interesting than whatever you did all day.
You get to give back to the community: you can volunteer, you have time to take your friends shopping, or run their errands for them, thus building better friendships and relatonships.
The downside is that you have too much free time on your hands, you feel the pressure when everyone else is going to work and you aren’t, you feel the shame when people whisper “what a bum” behind your back, you are humiliated when it seems that everyone knows who to call for babysitting services (free of charge of course), errand-running, cleaning the car and other such tasks.
When you are unemployed, you have to keep asking for money for basic necessities from your spouse, or parents, or any other unlucky soul who can support you. Being met with irritated stares shouting “not again”, heavy sighs or blatant comments like: “what do you need that for? I gave you money yesterday!”, gets old, fast!
Well-meaning people keep sending you job applications to places where you would never work or are even qualified to work. A marketer is told to apply for a lawyer’s job because “it’s pretty much the same thing: convincing people”.
Now, when you are employed, you have a sense of purpose. You wake up early in the morning knowing you are going where your services are needed, where you are impacting society, where you are changing someone’s life for the better. When you are employed, you have money (how much is debatable). You can self-support, you are self-sufficient, you feel confident because you have the means to support yourself and your family.
When you are employed you can have intelligent conversations about the influx of low-quality commodities in the local market and how it is affecting the high-quality production of essential goods at your company. People look up to you. People ask you for references and to “hook them up” with a job. You feel important.
Now, to the cons; employment can suck the life out of you. You forget how to have fun. Your idea of fun is sitting at your computer at lunchtime checking your Facebook. Or sleeping in on Saturday or Sunday because you woke up at ungodly hours the whole week.
Your social life disintegrates slowly. All you do is work to meet this deadline and that one. You never have time to just relax and unwind. You don’t have time to meet your friends for lunch because you have to finish that proposal for that presentation.
Being employed at a dead-end job saps the energy out of you. You are overworked and underpaid and unmotivated. When you are employed, even in a dead-end job, everyone assumes you have a lot of money and is constantly asking you for hand-outs, or loans (optionally repayable, of course) or to be the Guest of Honor at their pre-wedding or fundraising (meaning you will contribute the most, only an amount worthy of a Guest of Honor)
My point is, it seems I can’t win both ways. I am employed and unhappy. If I get unemployed I will be unhappy.
What to do?
Start a business!
But I’m sure it has it’s own share of woes, like….ok, don’t get me started.
Bottom line: appreciate your unemployment/employment dear readers, while it lasts.