I am unemployed. I just turned 27. I have an apartment to pay rent on, utilities of various sorts, and terrible health. I have a B.F.A in what it is essentially drawing comic books. I live in a city that is opting for building condos and filling them with people shipped in from other states to work at tech companies rather than investing in some rent control laws for the people who already live here. Some would find this situation distressing and hopeless. Don't get me wrong, it is. Some days its really hard not to give into the endless ouroboros of depression, staring into the ceiling from my bed hopping the shapes in my ceiling will give me a sign. However, unlike most people, I am the fucking champion of bullshit. Someday you may find yourself unemployed. When faced with the vast sea of uncertainty do you know how you are going to handle your shit? Are you going to lay on the floor and say sad wet noodle phrases like "maybe I should apply to a trade school?" or are you going to realize what an opportunity has just been handed to you like a grown, fully actualized person. (fuck you) Look I get it, you need guidance because you are a little tiny poopy diaper baby. well fine.
Unemployment watch presents:
Waking up is probably the hardest challenge I have ever experienced as a privileged white upper middle class woman. The first twenty minutes I am awake everyday are possibly the worst thing that has ever happened to me. Good news: you aren't going to die. Turns out even though during those twenty minutes I have thought about having ovarian cancer, wished a piece of sky lab would tear through my ceiling and land directly on my skull, or fantasized that my entire life has turned out just to be a terrible fever dream in the mind of some great composer on his death bed, time keeps moving and I have yet to expire. Sleeping in seems like a good idea but the fact is the later you sleep the more depressed you feel later. The latest I try to be showered and ready for public consumption is by 10. It helps that two of my neighbors have chosen this time to have loud, not fun sounding sex followed by hushed but angered conversations about, I don't know, tooth paste? y'all bore me. Its time. Try my mantra, it usually helps me get right up:
Get up. Get up. Hey. Hi. Hello. Get up. Seriously. For real. Time to wake up. Wake the fuck up. Get up. Seriously. Fuck you, wake up. Get up. KATIE WAKE THE FUCK UP.
Repeat as many times as needed or until your roommate asks "are you okay?"
Do what you need to do to make this happen. Set an alarm to wake up during human hours. My cell phone plays the melodica cover of the Jurassic Park Theme Song. When it goes off in the moring I like to hold it over my head, point dramatically to my messy room and turn to whatever doughy non-thretening open micer/bike activist/person-who-I-didn't-anticipate-what-they-would-look-like-without-their-glasses-on mistake laying next to me and shout "ONE DAY ALL OF THIS WILL BE YOURS!". Once I come to from the emotional blackout I suffered from laughing so hard I find not only am I alone but also totally energized and ready to start my day. I keep my fridge stocked with Lemon-Lime Hi-ball. When the grocery store runs out I send them threats about how I will tear a hole in reality and drag them down with me. Nothing propels me more than either anger or caffeine. The holy grail is combining the two. Hygiene people. Don't slack. I have been hoarding fancy lady soaps and shampoos and lotions for some sort of cosmetics based apocalypse. Never throwing anything away is not hoarding, it is being prepared. When you loose your job you are going to be super happy that you impulse bought a crate of 12 bottles of c.Booth rosemary mint shampoo (BTW: If you are the person who bought out Ultra's stock of the Egyptian argan oil body butter just know that I have a lot of fucking free time, and I will find you so I can congratulate you. Then I will push you down some stairs. See! Anger! It inspires!) If you have left the house, are you wearing underwear? This is serious, its summer time and you just lost your health insurance girl. The other day I may have gone 8 hours before realizing I had failed to put on any underwear that day. Eat. For fucks sake. You are broke sure, but you can get on food stamps easy. And guess what? Pretty much every place takes them. I am the GOP's worst nightmare. A progressive half Jew on birth control using EBT to buy La Croix and tuna fish from New Seasons. (Man this chapter isn't about corporate sponsorship but I am unemployed and ready to sell out at any time *hint* *hint* hi-ball/la croix/c.booth/the government) Have you left the house yet? Just fucking go. Get motivated. What's your vibe? Early 90's NYC club tracks that are heavy on the bass? (Fun fact: Rhythm is a Dancer and Mr.Vain are basically the same song and work really good next to each other on a play list) Here is a retrospective of female fronted heavy metal if thats more your jam. Maybe you are a scared white person who likes some super boring indie rock band where the lead singer wears a blazer with elbow patches and is named "Schuyler" or whatever. Whatever it is, play it often and play it loud. Make a playlist of the same four songs and put it on repeat. While you do this go on Facebook and look up the popular girl you went to high school with. Laugh obnoxiously loud about all the double code speak she uses on her status updates to cover up her coke habit. You are ready for battle.
All right. You are awake, you showered, you ate, you are blasting Beeze in the Trap and you made sure fucking Dan or whoever that was will never text you in three weeks with some bullshit like "whats up stranger?". Now the boring part. There are a few basics that you just have to get through. Apply for food stamps and Unemployment. Your job may try to fight you but don't worry, your rich doctor jew step dad said he get you a lawyer! (relatable!) Apply to three stupid jobs a day. Yes you are too close to 30 to be taking movie tickets for minium wage or sweeping up vomit at the grocery store but this is just a show of effort. You got to put a few nickels into the bullshit machine before you can win a prize (and by winning I mean any wage over $11.50/ an hour). Write yourself a budget so you know how much your lifestyle costs, leave in room for shit that people may not deem "needs" but you FUCKING NEED like netflix and klondike bars. Make a list of interesting people you know with cool jobs. Make a very loud sad announcement about needing a job on social media and check off your list as they start to send you Facebook messages asking how you are. Make it cute and light. They will eventually say, "I will let you know if I hear anything!" Realize that most of these people are just trying to sleep with you and don't put much weight in it unless you are trying to get a free meal. Then put all the weight. Make a second list of cute people you know that know interesting people with cool jobs. Go to their homes and lay on their couches or floors and make them laugh. These people are actually your friends and are not trying to sleep with you even though sometimes they still buy you lunch. (Because FRIENDSHIP. TRUST NO ONE ELSE.) Eventually you will get an weird email from someone like "Hi! COOL CUTE FRIEND gave me your name and told me you are good at logo design/p.a work/falling down on command? Want to come help me for the day at my design firm/non-profit/clown college?" Score. You have officially started hustling'.
You did the work. You have combed over every job listing website and filled out all your paperwork. There is nothing left to do, yet there are so many hours left in the day. Your new job now is not to turn down anything. Invited to the nude beach? It doesn't matter that your monthly wax was the first thing to get slashed in the budget, you are fucking going. Non-paying tv-clean comedy show in an art gallery during the day? Screw it! Booked! Reptile expo? BDSM safety workshop? Some outdoorsy bullshit? Yes, yep, and yeah suck it up you recovering rich girl you're going! Sure, being unemployed means you are broke and that sucks, but it turns out if you are a halfway decent person people want to spend time with you and take you places. Take a prompt from me and try to get fired around your birthday. What once was a single day occurrence is suddenly a month long celebration! Everyone "owes you a drink" or "a burger" or a "oh fuck for real? I seriously thought you were 34. this makes how you dress make a lot more sense". You hone your Batman detective mode, but instead of finding clues its finding free shit. Buy one get one free coupons to chipotle! Parks! Other peoples drink tickets! You now don't have any obligations. Stay out late. Be really loud. Get weird. Who gives a fuck. Start a podcast, call up that friend with a real job you could never coradantie schedules with, drink a martini in the day time and pretend you are an affluent 60's housewife. Start drawing again, get your snappy comeback game on point, start a blog about losing your job. Know that you are a rising star coming up from a ocean of garbage. Know that only good things are around the corner and you look cute a.f in those shorts. You are the champ. Now go knock em down.
Unemployment Watch updates whenever, but feel free to donate money to our esteemed and beloved sole author Katie Rose Leon.