Funemployment – sounds fun, doesn’t it? These are the two words we don’t expect to hear together. Funemployment is a word some use to describe an unemployed person who is using their time without job like a vacation. There are so many people in the world who are struggling to find steady employment or even land a short-term gig. When it comes to unemployment, getting a job isn’t the only difficult part. It’s a whirlwind of emotions, uncertainty, and angst that also comes with financial burden. So, those unemployed individuals who decide to enjoy the free time that unemployment provides, are actually funemployed.
The term was coined during the Great Recession between 2007 and 2009 to describe those who had recently lost their jobs. So, while millions of Americans were struggling to find work as they faced bankruptcy and foreclosures, others found a silver lining in this economic meltdown. These people chose to use their new found freedom to travel, go to the beach, be physically active and enjoy themselves until they found a new source of income. These happily jobless tend to be single and in their twenties and thirties. Some were laid off, whereas some actually quit voluntarily, lured by generous buyouts.
So, even though one does not have control over his employment status, they do have a chance to decide how they deal with unemployment. In totality, one has two options. You could either let a temporary situation get the best of you and throw into a spiral, or you can get back into the driver’s seat to take full command of your life.
It presents certain advantages (it’s called ‘Funemployment’ for a reason), that employed people can only dream about. When you’re not sending out job applications, all that extra time can be used to accomplishing all the things that everyone else doesn’t seem to have for. Funemployment provides individuals with uninterrupted time to pursue their hobbies and passion. For example, an engineer, after being unemployed may decide to volunteer for their favourite charity or pursue his hobbies like painting or cooking which he did not have time for earlier. It also gives individuals time to assess their career goals. For instance, after being unemployed and taking into considering his hobbies and talents, a person may decide they’re better suited to a different industry and opt for a new career path. While unemployed, all the free time can be used to get your body up and moving, and get your mind active as well, and to take yourself out of a monotonous routine. One can learn a new skill or take a class that can help improve an existing one.
Americans (and probably a lot of other people around the world) have internalised this utterly untrue “you are your work” ethos that caused them to actually feel guilty when they are not making money. The widely valued, though not always said out loud, societal judgement is that if you’re not useful enough to earn money and have a quality lifestyle, you’re not valuable.
Let’s look at an example, ten weeks after Minneapolis advertising creative director Amy Pressnall’s position was eliminated during company restructuring, she realized, she had made job hunting her new full-time job. So, betting that there were other people like her, she posted a message on her LinkedIn feed for people like her to join her on Friday funemployment field trips. The response was overwhelming. These people started meeting up to do things like play sports, visit museums and just sit and share stories and also tips about recruiters, agencies and job leads.
The time it takes to find a new job depends on a lot of different factors, but according to some career coaches it can often take about three to six months, which is a long period of time, enough to make a person lose control of his life, in some cases it might also affect an individual’s mental health. Thus, it becomes important that during the period of unemployment a person must try to do something productive and try to become a better individual. One must use that time to have some fun and at the same time continue your professional circle and skills.
But, along with its many benefits, there are drawbacks to funemployment also. Like, it may lead to financial hardship if the individual has no other source of income. The lack of a consistent paycheque may limit the length of time a person can stay funemployed, as bills, rent and mortgage repayments. Periods of long funemployment might be difficult to explain to future employers, who want a steady history of employment. These people might also get used to a certain lifestyle and it might become hard for them to re-enter the workforce and start a job again.
Ultimately, funemployment is a type of Unemployment and has many consequences ranging from those on an individual’s personal life to that on the economy of a region. It might seem perverse to associate fun with the trauma of unemployment. Being without work at a young age has a scarring effect on many, leaving people more susceptible to depression and likely to be out of work again when they’re older. And of course, the reality is that “fun” has a price tag, whether you have a job or not. Funemployed people risk being denied a purpose in life. There is unemployment, a brief and relatively routine transitional state that results from the rise and fall of companies in any economy, and there is unemployment—chronic, all-consuming. The former is a necessary lubricant in any engine of economic growth. The latter is a pestilence that slowly eats away at people, families, and, if it spreads widely enough, the fabric of society. The more people are unemployed, the more pressure it puts on the economy, thus reducing the GDP growth rate. This era of high joblessness will most likely change the life course and character of a generation of young adults—and quite possibly those of the children behind them as well. It will leave an indelible imprint on many blue-collar white men and on white culture.
As we know, unemployment is one the major problems faced by the world today, it becomes important to cope up with it in a proper manner and not beat yourself up. So, in conclusion, when one faces this tough time, they should try to make most of their free time and look at it as an opportunity to develop and not as a failure.