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There comes a time in your professional career when uncertainty hangs over you like a dark cloud. Just out of college, recently let go, jobless by your own volition – whatever the case may be, you find yourself wondering, “What’s next?”
In that limbo, there are two groups of people: the unemployed, and the funemployed. To put things in perspective for you, #unemployment has been hashtagged 93,424 while #funemployment has been hashtagged 113,571 times. And that’s because unemployment is hell that shouldn’t be documented to the general public while funemployment is a joyous, stress-free time that’s flaunted and thrown in the faces of those less fortunate. Unemployment is serving food at a local soup kitchen while funemployment is pouring wine for an hour at a charity event for your local Junior League only to count that as “community service.”
Funemployment isn’t unemployment at all – it’s just a word people use to signify that you’re rich enough to not actually need (or have to look for) a job.
When you start taking two vacations a month, it’s a pretty good indicator that they’re going to let you go. It’s also a pretty good indicator that you’re well off. No one has that many approved vacation days at their disposal if they’re valuable to the company. Hell, if you’re taking two vacations a month, you’re pretty much telling your superiors, “No, seriously, fire me so I can do this all the time – I’m not allowed to quit because my parents won’t let me.” And once they do actually bring you into their office and slide that termination notice across their desk, you’ve reached the promised land: funemployment.
The inherent issue with “funemployment” has nothing to do with the concept of it. Believe me, if I were rich enough to gallivant across the globe without having to have hourly panic attacks about my work email, I would. You would. We all would. The issue is the fact that those who are, in fact, “funemployed” try to act like they’re a part of the blue collar crowd who actually need jobs. Those with student loans, car payments, and outstanding credit card bills that only see “minimum due” payments. They’re a smoke and mirror show pretending that they’re actually between jobs when, in reality, they haven’t updated their resume since college. They’re fakes. Wolves in sheep’s clothing. Drinking Pabst on a Veuve budget.
Stop lying to the world, and, more importantly, stop lying to yourself. You’re not spending time at your dad’s house in Aspen trying to “find yourself” or “work on your business plan.” You’re there because it’s fucking July and it’s Aspen. If someone offers you a summer in Aspen, you’re taking that offer faster than you’re taking a job offer and that’s fact. If you haven’t already “found yourself” after skating through college, you’re not going to find yourself from the comfort of your dad’s CB2 couch while scrolling Instagram and watching Ellen. Signing your dad’s member number on your rounds of golf at the country club is a hell of a lot different than taking your loose change to Coinstar in between trying to figure out how to sell your old Patagonia fleeces on eBay.
“Finding yourself” doesn’t count as a replacement for a job. And neither does working on your art, jewelry line, “consulting” for your dad’s company, starting a fashion blog, or studying for the GMAT that you’re never going to actually take. The only thing that can replace your last job, in the eyes of the unemployed, is a new fucking job.
You can say that you’re on a “mission trip” in Africa, but we all know you’re bookending your safari with a stay at the Four Seasons where you spend more time at the pool than you ever did feeding the hungry. Those starving kids in your Instagrams are nothing more than accessories that justify you spending thousands of dollars that aren’t yours on your travels across the world. Meanwhile, people who are actually unemployed are reading “Don’t Kill Yourself” books in between Adderall-fueled stints on Indeed and Glassdoor. They’re looking hopelessly at their personal email account waiting for news back about a potential interview, only to get let down when the notification sound for a new message is from Bed Bath & Beyond rather than that marketing position at Yelp. And you probably couldn’t even take that position at Yelp even if they did offer it to you because you’re too poor to afford the moving expenses to New York City or San Francisco.
Unemployment simply isn’t “fun.” Unless you’ve recently quit your job in favor of a better offer and you’ve got some time to kill, unemployment is debatably the most stressful part of your life next to college pregnancy scares and asking your crush to dance during “Iris” by The Goo Goo Dolls in middle school. Unemployment smells of ramen noodles, a glaring lack of health insurance, and night terrors about moving back in with your parents. In the Wonderful World of Funemployment, though, your days are filled with lunch dates, spin classes, and the occasional interview (set up by a family friend) which just a message to your parents that says, “Look, I’m trying to #adult!”
Funemployment isn’t something anyone should outwardly hate. You can’t be upset that someone was born into The Lucky Sperm Club and knows how to take advantage of it. But to anyone out there who is actually funemployed, just know that everyone hates you when you hashtag it on your hike to Machu Picchu three months after you left your first job out of college. Yes, I’m talking to all 113,571 of you. .