funemployed: The state of being without a job, yet having lots of time to enjoy fun activities during otherwise normal working hours.

Hermina is funemployed, so after her workout on Wednesday morning, she went down to the beach and joined her other laid-off friends for a barbecue with margaritas and horseshoes.


Life’s a Beach

Of the many people that are out of work right now, a lot are lucky enough to be “funemployed”, living off savings, unemployment checks, or their parents. Plenty are finding this to be a good time for soul searching. Seeking out the meaning of life. This is excellent! You never know how your next incarnation is going to manifest so it’s important to explore your options.

However, it would be wise not to make the very common mistake of wiling your days away! Treating unemployment like a vacation until you find the “perfect” opportunity is DANGEROUS. This is no exaggeration. I’ve seen the harm with my own eyes. Doing so atrophies your work muscles: your ability to think on your feet, to operate within a structure, to work collaboratively, to meet deadlines, to be accountable for your results.

Moving Water Doesn’t Freeze

As I have said and will continue to say repeatedly, success isn’t an event, it’s a momentum. And diminishing velocity means taking yourself out of the game. Besides the internal repercussions, there is also outward damage. Prospective partners and employers will know immediately, listening to you interview and seeing your resume, that you’ve fallen out of relevance. It would take too much time to train you and to catch you up to speed on leading edge methods and thinking for you to be considered a strong candidate to join a team.

I say, sure, enjoy life, visit the beach! But ALSO you should explore your interests with impassioned scholarly gusto, and continue to expand your mind and your network. Having an open schedule means you can finally take those City College classes, sign up for a workshop, acquire new certification, attend lectures and professional development events, seek out a mentor, and volunteer for your favorite organizations. No excuses. Have fun, be strategic. Staying active in this way helps keep your resume energized and current. You sure as heck can’t put social drinker on your CV now can you? But you can include new affiliations, abilities, projects, trainings, and temporary work, even if they weren’t well-paying or paying at all. I personally know someone that recently leapt from low-wage and volunteer gigs to a coveted full-time salary job, having followed this very plan.

Escape From The Doldrums

In 2010, my own year of financial panic (yes, hustlers are human too), I sent cover letters and resumes for twelve positions – and didn’t score one! That’s right, 0 and 12. But I’m not here to point out the ruin. Rather, the rebound. It would be normal to be embarrassed, depressed, and worried about a record like this, and I was – all of the above. In this case, however, the experience also became a source of pride. I didn’t let the situation stop me from printing my own money, learning new skills, and continuing to offer to as many people as possible top quality services. This is the year that Art Of Hustle, the program and the value system, was unveiled. By the time January 2011 rolled around, I was shocked to have kept receiving in the mail W2 after W2. Nine in all! Steady enough, eh, for a guy without a steady income?

None of these came from “cold” submissions. Each happened because I practiced what I’m preaching now: creative openness in combination with professional readiness for any opportunities that I might contribute my talents to. And for having exercised this fortitude, now countless others are also reaping the benefits through my new professional services, this blog, the iTunes podcast, and through ordinary inspiration to also carve their own path in an ethical, profitable, and personally rewarding manner.

Still, as grateful as I am for all the good that’s already transpired and continues to transpire, I recognize that there is always more improvement to seek out, so I make it a point to regularly sharpen my tools. And I would highly recommend to anyone out there to do so as well, no matter what your scenario but particularly if you’re just kicking back, killing time.

Post Script:
For you artists and arts lovers that understand lessons better when they’re delivered in metaphor, here is a clip from a favorite childhood movie that echoes the very sentiments in this blog post. Enjoy!