Funemployment for Overachievers

So, you’ve recently found yourself unemployed. You, the person who was once at the top of one of your classes (because you probably have more than one degree). Yes, you, the captain/president/first chair of whatever extracurricular activities in which you engaged (let’s face it, you were in more than one). You, the youngest whatever in the super-sexy organization that formerly employed you.

Now who are you? What do you do with all this never-before-seen free time? Where do you even go from here?

Like Morpheus offering Neo the the blue or red pill, I give you a choice: you can take the blue pill and be “unemployed,” miserable and feeling worthless because you lost not only your disposable income, but also your identity.

Or you can take the red pill and be “funemployed” and enjoy this probably brief period of rest in your otherwise stellar career.

If you’re still reading this and haven’t descended into a Slough of Despond, you probably took the red pill. Now here’s your “Funemployee Manual.” Trust me, if you bring even just a quarter of your usual A+ game, you can become “Funemployee of the Month” in virtually no time at all.

You must start referring to yourself as “funemployed” every time someone asks you what you do.
Face it, you’ve already lost your identity as the Type-A overachiever with a great job. For better or for worse, life has handed you the opportunity to be reborn (even if just for a season) as that happy-go-lucky slacker you always secretly envied. Yes, on one hand this is self-talk. On the other hand, you’re an overachiever and if you’re going to do this right, you need to advertise the new you like it’s your job (pun absolutely intended).

Develop some bad television watching habits.
You probably watched television when you had a job, but the odds are, you only invested in smart, well-written, and critically-acclaimed shows like Mad Men, Breaking Bad or Parks and Recreation. But now that you’re funemployed, you’re going to need to develop some lazier watching habits. Funemployee benefits include loads of free time and the God-given right to indulge in shows of your choice. Who’s going to judge you? Your friends already feel bad that you lost your job. And besides, chances are you’re home by yourself and no one needs to know what you’re watching anyway. With the proliferation of TV “on demand” you can find all sorts of random shows. Bonus–you’re obviously a great multi-tasker, right? So you can probably apply for jobs while watching TV! Might I suggest The Office? It pairs well with cover letters.

While I absolutely do not want you to neglect your “stories,” why do anything alone when you can do it with friends? Since we both know you’re a natural-born and resourceful leader, you’re clearly up to the task of identifying and recruiting talented members for your chapter of the Funemployee Union. Three great places to start: G-chat, Facebook, and/or Twitter. Most likely your fellow overachieving funemployees will make some type of snarky reference to their current state of affairs in their statuses or tweets. Or, an “unemployee” will out themselves with some request for job leads or one of those sad and cryptic FB statuses that indicate they have hit rock bottom. Just like the poor, mortally-wounded folk who had the good fortune of almost dying near Carlisle Cullen, you can turn these walking (more like curled into the fetal position) wounded into funemployees by inviting them to…

Day Drink!
I’m not quite sure that I need to elaborate on this, because if you don’t know about the Day Drinking clause in the Funemployee Benefits, I can’t help you. Basically, while every one of your other overachieving friends is out eradicating poverty in East Africa or making it rain money, you have the privilege–nay, the right–to enjoy some adult beverages during the “workday.” But not before noon (then you’re probably an alcoholic) and not alone (then you’re definitely an alcoholic). So once you’ve assembled your team of fellow slackers, you’re all set to indulge in some responsible day drinking. Note: Day Drinking can also be combined with Television Viewing.

Start a new hobby. Or an empire. Whatever!
Remember every Lifetime movie that you’ve ever seen? (You know, while you’ve been funemployed? They’re all on demand, fyi.) An overachieving woman who had her whole life planned out in five-year increments is suddenly laid-off (or dumped), and with the help of a smart-mouthed sidekick friend, a new location (somewhere romantic), and a too-hot-for-reality love interest, she realizes that she never really wanted to be a brain surgeon! Her life’s calling is to walk dogs or make baby food or paint pottery! Basically, something that only those hippie slackers you used to openly disdain/secretly envy have for “careers.” So I suggest exploring your hidden talents and then coming up with fun new hobbies that showcase those gifts. Then, because you’re an overachiever, turn your new thing into a business and recruit your fellow funemployees to participate! Next, write a business plan, start talking to entrepreneurial gurus, and voila! You’re on the way to building an empire! For example, this chick I know rediscovered her penchant for writing, decided to start a blog, gathered some of her funemployed friends and started an online magazine! That you’re currently reading! Whoa.

Juliet is funemployed and before having a drink with friends in the afternoon while watching TV, she wrote this post.

Written by Juliet Vedral

Juliet is The Wheelhouse Review’s Founder and Executive Editor. She is also the founder and editor of Perissos, a devotional blog. Juliet is also a regular contributor to Sojourners and The Body Politic. But if you don’t have a long attention span, just follow her on Twitter.