Friday, May 1, 2009

Nancy Hubbard: Is there a positive side of being unemployed?

Top 10 great things about being out of work!

By Nancy Hubbard

  1. I can mow my lawn twice a week. I always thought it needed that in the spring when the grass is growing so fast. Previously, our landscape service came on Tuesday – but when the weekend rolled around this time of year, the lawn looked like a wild natural grass pasture! No longer!  
  2. No more annoying messages from the IT department reminding me that my mailbox is over the limit! Actually, the opposite has occurred, but I’m still trying to shake the “white collar working person’s blackberry tick,” which is how I refer to the constant checking of your smart phone to see if a new message came in. Now, I go for hours without any messages (although just so I don’t feel left out, I do check it frequently when in public — feeling a little like Steve Martin in the movie Bowfinger, when he was faking being on the phone in a restaurant to feel important).
  3. I can work out as much as I want. Trying to find time in my day to fit in a 40-minute run is a thing of the past. When I was working, I always wondered about the people who were out running in the middle of the day – I was envious that they could do that. Now I know that likely they were all unemployed!
  4. I have the ultimate in Freedom – at least as far as my time goes. So, other than a jealous or judgmental glance (can’t always tell which look it is – and I think it varies from day to day) from my spouse, I can do whatever I want during the day.  I can grocery shop when the store is the least busy, sleep late, take the dogs to the dog park, etc. I am only limited by the money factor and guilt.
  5. Speaking of the dogs – I get to spend a lot more time with my animals. I have dogs and horses (also feral cats, but they aren’t friendly, so I haven’t included them). I can take my dogs on long walks, go on trail rides with one of my horses, or just hang out with them enjoying the occasional good weather we get this time of year.
  6. Healthy home cooked meals and new recipes. This can be a positive or a negative depending on your view. I always thought that I shouldn’t spend any more time on the meal prep than it takes to consume the meal – which meant about 10 minutes maximum prep time. This did limit our menu selections, but now I can spend more time fixing new healthy meals. I still think the prep time should match the consumption time, so we need to eat very slowly with some meals.
  7. I have the time to visit my mom for her 80th birthday at the end of May. When I was working, traveling for family events (my family lives about 900 miles away) was crammed into a three-day weekend, spending most of the time traveling to and from the airports (my parents do not live near an airport). So, now, to keep costs down, I’m going to take the dogs and drive down to visit. Should be very relaxing and fun with a bit of adventure.  
  8. You don’t need to ask anyone’s permission to take a day off (and if you are sick, you don’t need to tell anyone). Taking a day off from your unemployment I think technically would indicate that you are working, so perhaps we should use the term “Taking a vacation from our problems” (great line — thanks to the movie What about Bob?).
  9. I spend much more time connecting with friends, family and business associates. I never had much time to spend on relationships before; now I do. I have repaired a few relationships and strengthened others.  I’m thankful to experience how gracious and supportive my friends, families and business associates can be.

Okay, there has got to be 10 great things about being unemployed … but I’m stuck at nine. Please help – post your ideas to complete the list!

Nancy Hubbard is guest blogging on Laid Off Loser April 30 and May 1 as part of her project offering to work any job for free for two days. Hubbard, who recently was laid off from her job as a development and construction manager in the health service industry, lives in Wilsonville, Oregon. She can be reached by e-mailing


  1. In addition to all of the great things listed, I have to add 1 more:

    I have more time to finish all of those pesky projects around the house that I never had time to finish. (I bought everything I needed prior to starting - thank God!). In the process of cleaning and completing projects, I have also found numerous items that I haven't seen or touched in years. E-Bay & Craigslist here I come!!

  2. I am enjoying the fact that I can mostly get all the chores and administrative tasks done during the week while my wife is at work and my daughter is at daycare, so we don't have to spend the weekend tending to obligations and we can have fun together.

    I love being home, too. We spend so much money on rent and mortgages, yet we spend so much time away from our living quarters.

    I gotta think my blood pressure is down significantly, so that's a plus.

    I'm chewing through a long-dormant project to digitize my CD collection, back it up to a hard drive and get rid of the CDs. Too much stuff makes me crazy.

    I'm also rather enjoying listening to music at loud volumes and not having to wear headphones all day.

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