Being out of work was not a fun experience for me. Not that unemployment should be fun. But I had a decent pay out so I wasn’t poor, and I have friends and family around me for company, so it could have been a good time, I guess.
My own brain stopped me from throwing myself into it wholeheartedly; I was very aware that I didn’t know when I would get a new job and therefore my next pay packet, so being sensible was the right way to go.
In all I was “off work” for 14 weeks and 6 days. A quarter of a year! Prior to that I couldn’t have comprehended that amount of time not working. Looking back now, 2.5 weeks into my new job, it doesn’t seem like I was off for that long. I didn’t really do anything of value or substance.
I did, however, learn a few things. In no particular order, here they are:
1 – I love going bra-less
I’ve never been troubled by bras. I don’t have huge mammaries so support isn’t an issue. I don’t get back pain. I don’t get straps cutting into me. My size is well catered for in the major high street shop, so I don’t have to spend a month’s mortgage payment on a new boulder holder. But when I didn’t have to wear a bra (and when I say “have to”, I mean based on society’s demands and norms for a woman) it was wonderful.
The advent of autumn meant digging my fluffy jumpers out of hibernation and, let me tell you, a soft fluffy knit against a bare nipple is a delight! I wore a bra as little as possible during those 14 weeks. It’s only now, being part of the rat race that demands a certain level of underwear, that I realise how fucking annoying bras are.
2 – Monday blues exist even without a job
You’d think the one benefit of being out of work would be not having to get up for work on a Monday. There has to be some advantages to not having a job, right? Actually though, for me, Monday was an ever present reminder that I didn’t have a job to go to. After a weekend with the husband the house felt quite empty when he left for work, friends were bemoaning being back in the office after 2 days off, and I was embarking on another week of no-one wanting to employ me. Sounds dramatic but Monday was the worst day of the week for me. Ironically, in my new job, I’m currently excited to go to work on Monday. Long may that last!
3 – I hate housework
I’ve always known this, really. I’m no Mrs Hinch! But when you’re working it’s easy to say “I’m too tired to do housework”, or “I deserve two days off after a week at work”. I had all the time in the world to clean our house top to bottom, but I just find it so unsatisfying. I believe a house is for living in, not to be a show home. I did do home improvements, as I said I intended to in my to-do list, but they were more around home improvements than Zoflora! Don’t get me wrong, we don’t live in a stinky hovel, but anyone who does housework “for fun” is barking mad, if you ask me.
4 – I can pass ridiculous amounts of time on the internet
I’m not much of a TV person, really. I enjoy watching it, but wouldn’t think to put it on when I’m at home alone. Similarly with music; I love listening to it but I don’t think to put the radio on or play CDs. I’m quite happy just bumbling along and keeping myself occupied. There’s always something to look at on the internet – be it losing hours debating with strangers on Twitter, scrolling oodles of photos on Instagram or playing a-bit-crap-but-super-addictive games. Occasionally I’d choose to read a book instead, and feel great about it, but mostly the lure of absolute shite on the WWW was too much to ignore. Bit pathetic really.
5 – I need to work
A conclusion from points 3 and 4, I’m not great at being off work. I’m not rubbish, I wasn’t climbing the walls or anything (apart from the odd bad day where I despaired for my future). But I don’t know how people can not work. I don’t mean those who have no choice; through illness or parenting or the like. But people who are affluent and don’t need the money. Lottery winners, for example. I don’t know, maybe it’s different when you have money and no worries about where your next pay packet is coming from. Perhaps you can fill your life with hobbies and lunches and stuff.
I just felt my brain was starting to decay, my social skills were diminishing, and I had no purpose. I’m not saying you need a job to feel worthwhile, Of course you don’t. But, for me, work has always pretty much been a constant for me. And without it I felt a little bit lost.
So, there you have it! Five deep and meaningful (!!) insights into my jobless life. Let’s hope I don’t revisit redundancy-town any time soon!
Thanks, as always, for reading. x