June 12, 2015

5 Fantastic Things about Being Unemployed.

author's photo: yoli ramazzina

I’ve been out of work the past few months.

(Well, I have been teaching 5 yoga classes a week, but that’s nowhere near working full-time.)

I’ve been “unemployed” since I got laid off from my 9-to-5 desk job in December, and I’ve since had this idea to write a blog about what’s good about being being unemployed and having to live on a budget.

The idea had been brewing in my head for awhile, and I finally sat down to write it last week—however, when I started typing, this came out of me instead. 

The thoughts and words just sort of poured out—my original idea had become something totally different than what I had envisioned.

So I rolled with it—but now, I’d like to return to our regularly scheduled programming.

Although it can be extremely scary to be out of work, there are actually a lot of really cool benefits to being unemployed and living on a budget!

One of the biggest benefits is simply—Time.

When we’re not spending time commuting to an office and clocking 8 hours each day onto a time-sheet, we suddenly find ourselves with an excess of time on our hands.

This can be extremely daunting at first, but when we relax a little and go with the flow, the benefits of our newly found time and freedom will begin to reveal themselves.

Here are some joys I discovered, when I found myself at home on days I would normally be at the office:

1. Quality time with fur-babies.

I have two dogs at home—Lucy and Nom-Nom. When my husband and I were both working full-time, the pups were home alone for a solid 4 days out of the week. We actually got the second dog so the first one would have a playmate for those long days.

Now that I am home more, I get to enjoy their company more, and they get to have one of their humans more available for belly-rubs & scratches behind the ears—win!

I have more time for trips to the dog park, and sometimes I’ll bring them in the car with me to run errands or to pick up my son from school. Which brings me to my second point.

2. Availability for children & family.

When I was working 9-to-5, I would drop the kiddo off at school around 8am and then drag ass on the freeway for about an hour to get to the office. Because of traffic (L.A., baby), I often didn’t get home until around 6pm. My husband got out of work a little earlier, so he had the daily pick-up-from-school duties, but it wasn’t early enough to get there when school let out. So we also paid for daycare.

Now, I have more availability to both pick up and drop the kiddo. Not to mention I can pick him up right at 3pm, so instead of spending a couple hours in daycare after school, he can just come home.

There’s also more flexibility for the odd half-days that crop up—no more scrambling to try to leave work early, or see if Grandma is available to pick him up. It’s also easier to parent-volunteer—working parents know how difficult it can be to coordinate time off from work to get to the kiddo’s school, for various special events. (My son was beyond stoked that I was able to attend his class Christmas party this year and read The Grinch to his classmates.)

3. Creative time!

For me, it’s writing. It was always a challenge—finding time to write—between working 40 hours a week, the commute and of course spending time with the fam.

So having more free time to write has been exquisite. Of course, it’s still easy to get distracted or caught up with other little errands and things, so we still must be pro-active about carving that creative time into our day.

But if we have the time available, we should definitely make time to express ourselves in a creative way that we love. Cooking, painting, photography—whatever!

4. Gratitude—more appreciation for what we (already) have.

So having more free time is great, but lack of income is not so great. However, tightening the belt on expenditures does offer some new perspective.

Instead of stewing over whatever gets cut from the budget to make ends meet, we can take a step back and just realize that we have so much already.

Okay, saying (writing) that sounds a little cheesy, but I mean it sincerely. While we may feel a twinge of disappointment that we see something we want, but then remember we are trying to be frugal, ultimately it causes us to appreciate what we’ve got.

When we are living super comfortably, we start to take things for granted. I’ve already got plenty of stuff—I really don’t need more. I may not have a ton of disposable income, but I’ve got a healthy, happy family and that is what’s really important.

5. Flexibility—we can actually do things we could never get to before!

Think about all the things you daydream about while you’re at work—all the things you’d rather be doing! Or even just things we’d like to do, but can’t because of a Monday through Friday schedule.

For example, there’s a botanical garden super close to where I’ve lived for years, yet I had never managed to visit, even though I’d thought about doing it often. It’s just one of those things I never quite got around to, because there were always other things to be done on weekends.

Plus, the garden offers free admission on the third Tuesday of the month, but I was always working on Tuesdays. This brings me to another point:

Many museums, gardens and other fun places to visit, often offer at least one day out of the month where patrons can visit for free! So we can seek out these places (and these special weekday offers) to explore a new place, without spending a dime!

So Reader, you may ask or wonder—why so much blogging on unemployment and such?

Well for one, it’s simply been on my mind, having spent the last six months or so in the land-of-the-laid-off, and these thoughts and realizations have been a-brewin’.

But more importantly—I’ve heard increasingly from other friends who are finding themselves in similar situations.

It’s happening all around us—folks are being let go from their jobs. It happened to my best friend a couple months ago, and just this week another friend told me she’s just been laid off from a job she’d worked at for 11 years.

Unemployment is real, it’s scary and it can happen to anyone.

So having been through it myself, I simply want to offer some words of encouragement—a different perspective for people to take (although, I know it can be tough to see past the worry and anxiety of being out of work.)

Let’s keep in mind, this lovely and accurate quote:

“Nothing is permanent in this wicked world, not even our troubles.” ~ Charles Chaplin

I myself, currently stand on the brink of (hopefully) accepting a new job. A job that feels right—a job that fits. A job I can feel happy about at the end of the day.

What will this new chapter of my life hold in store for me? All I can do is dive in and find out.

But one thing is for sure—I’m happy that I didn’t spend the last six months of my life buried in a pit of worry and fear. I’m glad I visited that botanical garden, was able to walk in the sun, and just appreciate nature’s beauty. I’m grateful I was able to pick up my son and take him for jaunts in the park after school. I’m joyful that I was given an opportunity to step out of my day-to-day routines, to reflect and remember what it is like to simply be.

My heart feels lighter, knowing that I will be able to look back on this transitional time of my life with fondness and gratitude.


Relephant Reads:

4 Concrete Ways to Deal with Change.


A Mindful Method for Surviving Job Loss.

Author: Yoli Ramazzina

Editor: Alli Sarazen

Photo: Author’s own

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